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Saturday, February 4, 2017
The Writer Who Went Off A Mountain & Lived To Tell About It
family calls me the ski sherpa, because I help them lug their ski gear and then
become a ski lodge couch potato. But the
process of being so close to the action -- but just sitting on the sidelines – is
a little like being a writer.
writer observes, analyzes, researches, debates, pontificates, and
questions. Does he actually experience
and live fully?
may say the writer gets to live a thousand lives in his mind and through his/her
writings. He imagines all kinds of
experiences and scenarios. Reality
experienced firsthand can inform a writer and enhance the writing experience,
but it can also influence and distract from one’s entertaining of all
the writer like a priest – you can discuss or write about things you’ll never
experience? Whereas priests are
forbidden from experiencing the carnal pleasures of fornication, it doesn’t
preclude them from counseling others on marriage or sexual relationships. So too does the writer comment on things he
or she will never experience.
writers are human beings, so they are not completely removed from what they
write about, no matter how foreign the subject may be to them. There’s always going to be some kind of human
bias and perspective injected into one’s writings.
a symbiotic relationship between writer and reader. As much as real-life experience may play a
role in a writer’s ability to accurately, relevantly, and even entertainingly
convey a message, it is what the reader brings to the table that greatly
influences the reading experience.
is a foreign language to me. It has a parallel existence to my own. I understand the raw mechanics and can assume
the pleasure they must get from freely and swiftly navigating their way down a
mountain, but yet I’m not inspired to overcome my fears of bodily harm nor to
be inconvenienced by the cold and effort that it requires. But my family loves it – and would ski five
times a week if time and money permitted.
Then again, the more they’d do of it, the less of a high they would get.
They’d soon seek out new challenges or ways to make it harder, more fun, even
crave writing daily, even hourly. It
never bores me. It’s what defines me and
allows me to breathe. I think I was born
with a pen in my hand for I’m never far from one.
If I’m not writing, I’m reading. I am always engaged in the pursuit of a
philosophy that defines all, a way of explaining and understanding why people
do, say, or believe the things that they do.
And just as I get to the edge of exploring what is opposite of me or
what seems unfamiliar or without merit, I retreat and turn back to defending
who I am. We explore in order to feel
satisfied and justified in claiming whom we’ve always been.
I see myself on the slopes, ascending high up an icy, white-covered mountain,
and then gliding down at a speed exceeding anything I’ve ever done without the
aid of an engine? Can I envision not
hitting into others, crashing into a tree, or falling over and breaking my leg?
Even if I safely completed all that nature demanded and challenged me with,
would I find the journey worthwhile?
no escaping the fact that life is lived on so many levels – in the physical,
the mental, and the spiritual. We need a blend of all three to function in a
world that is not perfect. In fact, we each try to compensate for a world that
falls short of what we wish it could be.
can complement the world they live in. Life can be beautiful and often it needs
fiction to fill in the blanks, to compensate for where things fall short. When there’s war, writers teach us peace. When there’s peace, writers imagine war. There’s a yin and yang to life and to the
role writers play in it.
can’t ski. I won’t ski. I don’t ski.
But I can watch and listen and learn.
I feel I’m on the slopes when my children describe it or I just see
their flush-red faces with the look of earned exhaustion. And I experience it by not doing it and
letting it inspire me to write about so many other things. They ski, I write. We are a whole, completing
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