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Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Writer Who Went Off A Mountain & Lived To tell About It



My 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.

The writer observes, analyzes, researches, debates, pontificates, and questions.  Does he actually experience and live fully?

Some 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 possibilities.

Is 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.

But 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.

There’s 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.

Skiing 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 riskier.

I 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.

Could 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?

There’s 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.

Writers 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.

I 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 each other.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

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