Friday, January 18, 2013

Climbing the Fiction Mountain

Image, cave, IdahoA little further along the trail, in a thicket of evergreens so big you couldn’t put your arms all the way around them, we came to a monument for a group of girl scouts and their leader who were struck by lightning on that very spot years ago.  The trail grew steeper.  In places, stairs had been made with tree roots and flat stones, and my thighs began to complain.  Soon, the cave came into view, a great maw of an opening in the Earth, like a yawning mouth still high above us.  A waterfall spilled out of it from some hidden spring deep inside, cascading down the steep rocky slope.

Image, Idaho, forrestLast fall, I went on a writing retreat to Victor, Idaho. I thought I would spend lots of time reworking and revising my book, which I did do, but I also went on a hike with an old college friend, Stephanie.  Stephanie lives in Victor, which is probably fortunate in the summer, but I don’t envy her too much in the winter. Brr!  The town lies on the Idaho side of the Grand Tetons, just west of the tourist craziness of Jackson Hole.  Anyway, I told Stephanie I would be in town and would like to take a hike somewhere.  What I imagined as a short nature hike turned into a four hour trip to Wind Cave.
It was a coolish, misty day in October before the weather turned truly winterish, but the trees had already lost their fall colors.  Stephanie drove us to the trailhead in her Subaru, several miles into the forest.  We bundled up and started up the trail.  It twisted through a grove of pines, past giant boulders worthy of a Hobbit film.  As we passed the tree line and came out into an open, rocky cirque, it began to drizzle a bit.  We took shelter in a small overhang and Stephanie showed me the swirling fossils in the gray rocks, the remnants of an ancient sea.  We shared a granola bar and talked about our children while we waited for the shower to pass.
More primitive man-made steps, only a foot square, led up to the mouth of the cave.  My fear of heights kept me from looking back.  Going up the stairs wasn’t so hard for me, but I wondered how I might get down.  A misstep here might mean a fall that went on for a long way.  Crossing the stream, the boulders icy from the freezing temperatures the night before, frightened me too.  We clambered up into the cave on slick, wet rocks and turned around to see the view of the misty valley far below us.
In fiction and in life, it’s always amazing how far you’ve come when you stop to consider it, when you look back at the obstacles you’ve overcome.  Sometimes there are set backs on your path. Sometimes there is fear, danger even. But sometimes, there is beauty and awe. And it is all worth it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Resolutions, Both Old and New

Every year I resolve to get published.  This might actually be the year it happens, for real.  I say “might” because I have signed a contract with Featherweight Press to publish my contemporary young adult novel, Hush Puppy, but I have no idea how long the editing process will take.  I am hopeful that 2013 will be the year.  So, resolution number one…well in hand!

I made several new resolutions this year too.  I resolved to be healthy.  Last fall, I started watching my diet and exercising.  To date, I’ve lost 21 pounds and I’m working on becoming even more active.  Resolution two…lookin’ good!

I resolved to read more and write more.  If you haven’t been on yet, get on over there and be my friend!    Let me know what I should be reading.  “Writing more” includes doing a better job on this blog and various other social medias, but mostly it means getting busy on my two works in progress – a paranormal romance and a dystopian.  If only I hadn’t become addicted to Pinterest recently.  (But seriously, go see my pins!   I love to play there and on twitter @peach83352)

I also signed up for a week long writers’ workshop on the Oregon Coast this summer.  All my best writer friends I’ve met at conferences and workshops and I’m sure this one will be no different.  Maybe you could come too?  If you can’t make it, I’ll try to blog about it and put up some pictures.  You can’t really take bad pictures on the Oregon Coast.

I resolved to be more flexible, mentally and physically.  The physical part is easy. I get up earlier and do yoga, just me and Rodney Yee (on video).  I make sure it’s dark and no one’s around to see me on purpose!  It’s pretty funny, but it sure feels good to stretch and breathe deep in the morning.  The mental flexibility is hard to describe, but I want to try to be kinder and less judgmental of others.  Not sure how I’ll do, but wish me luck.

Lastly, I resolved to rest when I need to, which might be the hardest thing of all, given all of the above.  It’s the easiest thing to forget too.

So, how about you?  What will you do for yourself this year?