Writing

Pacific City Writing Retreat

I gave myself a treat last month and went to the coast all by myself with the goal of writing until I felt like stopping, instead of stopping when I got interrupted. It was glorious. I took a walk down the beach first thing.

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I wonder how many haystack rocks there are in the world?

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And then I got down to writing.

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The view was inspirational.

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And this got me off the couch and out onto my balcony.

The next day I climbed the dune. I wasn’t at all sure I could make it to the top. It’s been awhile since I tried. However, I discovered there are many, many different angles to take photos from. I took advantage of all of them. Long advantages. With lots of deep breathing. And luckily no puking.

And, one step at a time,20170125_10321420170125_10333720170125_10354020170125_104112 I made it to the top.

Instead of the traditional giant leaping run back down the same side, I took a slower, gentler route down the backside and around.

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The sand reminded me of wood grain.

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And the combination of textures was lovely.

Back to writing. All day.

I’m working on a novel about loss and darkness, rediscovery and light. It’s not easy to write and my hope was that by getting away from home and all its distractions and interruptions I would be able to focus and get some words on the page. It worked. I did. Seven new chapters.

I ended my mini retreat by treating myself to a salmon dinner at the Pelican Pub.

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I think I might have to make a habit of this.

Peace,

Chris

You Had Me at Light

I’ve been working on a story about loss. The story is going well, I think I’m getting good words on the page. But in order to find the words I want, I’m going back into memories that bring up a lot of sadness.

Yesterday, I finished a really good revision. The story is close. Very close. And writing it brought me close to tears. So I did what I always do when I need to remind myself that life is also a part of death. I took a walk.

“C’mon, world. Make me feel better. Make me remember joy,” I said.

The day was grey, but not so wet I needed to wear rain gear. Cola, as always, was thrilled to go and immediately found a stick, found a puddle, found a gopher hole. A dog is a good companion when you are looking for joy.

As I walked, the sun began to peek below the clouds. The tops of the bare trees became gold. Light seeped around the edges.

“Nice, world,” I said. “Thanks.”

And then I turned the corner.

And cried. And laughed. And cried some more.

Because I asked for a reminder that life is good and I get this. The most amazing fucking light show I could imagine, complete with a sprinkle of rain on my upturned face like tears from heaven.

I always feel better when I get off my butt and take a walk. But this? This was ridiculously healing.

Peace and love,

Chris

Working Two Jobs at Once

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It’s harvest time and I’m sitting in a combine, going ’round and ’round in circles at a whopping 1.75 mph. Meanwhile, my brain is going ’round and ’round in plot circles, untangling knots, smoothing transitions, justifying twists.

The first gives me focused time to think, the second keeps me from going fruit-loopy bonkers from boredom.

Planting a Garden

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The summer of 2012 ripped me open like the plow rips open the earth. The death of my father and the near death and subsequent incarceration of my son tore through me, digging up long buried rot and fear. For awhile I lay open and exposed, pounded by storms, barren and dark.
Into this dark, cold place monsters crawled. Anxiety. Depression. Panic. Insomnia. Everything they touched turned to shit. Tons of shit.
But that summer also brought into existence a new sun, bright and warm. The birth of my first grandchild. Her smile chased away the fear, lit up the darkness and warmed my soul.
And in that warmth I found the strength to go talk to a very wise woman. A woman who gave me seeds of light and love. Seeds that took hold and sprouted. Grew. Flourished.
My garden needed all of these components to come into being. Fresh soil, fertilizer, sun and seeds. My crop? Stories. Many stories. After dreaming for most of my life about being a writer, I am finally making that dream come true.
I may have waited until my Autumn years to begin writing, but Autumn is harvest time. And this harvest is going to be a bumper one!
Anyone else out there who needed a swift kick in rear to get started writing? I’d love to hear your story!
Love, Chris