Currently working on: Unpacking
My parents were in town this weekend and the weather was that gorgeous secret of the Pacific Northwest: the sunny week in October. See, right before the rains close in, nature gives us one more week of glorious blue skies and balmy temps. A cruel taunt? A promise? Whichever.
So we headed up to the Olympic Peninsula for a bit of walking, then back down Hwy 101 to the Oregon Coast.
While we walked, I thought about the new story I’m working on, and it seems to me, that our hiking and my story have a lot in common.
1. The stuff
When I start a new idea, I am excited and overwhelmed by all the stuff I might stuff in the story. Secondary love triangle! BB guns! String theory!
Much like my car has five doors for stuffing, I figure my story has many, many openings to be filled. But as you can see, Monster Girl is concerned about where she will fit. So it goes with my story; I have to ask myself — fun though it might be — whether I really need a talking, one-armed octopus.
I love the beginnings of hikes and the beginning chapters of a story. Both are so filled with promise. I feel strong and confident, with plenty of chocolate in my backpack.
The way ahead doesn’t necessarily look easy. There are barriers to be surmounted, but the adventure calls.
This part is less fun, but it seems to be true of hikes and stories, at least for me. Okay, I’m not EXACTLY lost, but there comes the moment where I definitely want to sit down, where the way seems a little more hazy and bleak than just a few steps or chapters ago.
This is where hikers and writers are made, I think. To quit? To continue? Walking out into the waves isn’t really an option (not on a Pacific Northwest beach, at least, not without a dry suit!) but I could parallel the shore on a new path.
Or build a boat of driftwood and dreams.
I must continue — somehow — because I know — somewhere — I will come to the point where I can SEE the point. THIS is why I am here.
5. Panting fun
I’ve said before, I love love love The End. Whether writing or hiking, coming to the end (in mostly one piece with relatively few debilitating blisters) is a great feeling of satisfaction. But the satisfaction does seem relative to the exertion. Some of our best hikes (and by best, I mean make the best stories, of course) have been the worst technical hikes. Too long, too wet, too ridiculous, waaaay too much panting. But in The End, totally worth the reliving.
Especially if there’s a little chocolate left.
Do you find a certain pleasure in some kinds of hard work? Got any favorite hikes I should try someday?