“They carry a big pipe.”
I admit I am still trying to figure out exactly how a pipe would help climbers pee when they were up on the side of a mountain. The individuals were talking about the risks of belaying, and the story of being below flying, um, garbage came up.
Every sport has its risks. Baseball has hurt elbows. Soccer has hurt knees. Swimming, well, okay, I’m not sure you hurt anything by swimming. But football has hurt everything. Apparently climbing has falling or being hit by falling stuff.
(*picture courtesy of National Geaograhic)
I don’t see myself ever doing mountaineering (a fancy word for saying you are climbing a rock outside). However, I do see myself possibly belaying my daughter as she mountaineers. So, I suppose I should get to know the equipment she will need. Personally, I would want a really big, soft, squishy, mat underneath her. Sadly though I don’t think I would be able to haul it around Yosemite and get it to the base of El Capitan.
Certainly there are more dangerous sports she could have chosen. Take for example, doing gymnastics on the back of a moving horse. Oh yes, that’s right, she does do that. It’s called vaulting and is actually a competitive sport. With her first competition coming up in May, I will get a chance to practice my mat chasing skills. Again, it is pretty
unlikely the judges will want me running behind the horse dragging a big red mat.
I’m not sure how we got here in terms of her activities. Two years ago we were doing gymnastics (okay, a bit dangerous with the high beam and all) and swimming. Still, as I watch my otherwise anxiety prone daughter scale a 40 foot climbing wall, or pull herself up onto the back of an enormous, moving equine I am struck by the sense of empowerment and freedom she must feel.
And although I hope it is years away, I can still imagine her real sense of freedom when her only toilet is the huge pipe hanging below her.
“Have you been getting my text messages? I haven’t heard back from you.”
ME: "Hello Muse… are you there? Why haven’t you called me back? I’ve been texting you, but you never reply. It’s so good to finally hear from you. I wondered if maybe you were mad at me or my characters."
What to do when your best friend as a writer disappears? In the best of times my muse gives me lovely gifts, like the scene in Untangling the Knot where Gabriella explains death using a crouton (you’ll just have to read it to understand). But sometimes, no matter how hard I try, the ideas are sluggish, like a kid after too much candy.
When I get stuck like that there are a few things I try. If I’ve been writing for at least an hour I will give myself a short break, to get more coffee for example. If not, I will sometimes close my eyes, listen to my music and see if any ideas come from the sounds or lyrics.
But often, when I am really stuck, I will pray. I know not everyone would feel comfortable with this, but this is an integral part of my writing. I have frequently heard someone refer to a talent as a gift. But it is only in the context of my writing that I finally understood what this meant.
At those moments, when I am trying to find just the right way to show my story, my prayers seem to bring the perfect idea from nowhere and hand it to me with beautiful wrapping and ribbons, so that even now, when I re-read
those sections, I find myself surprised and grateful.
The key to this process is to trust; to have faith so to speak, that my muse or God or whatever we call it, is directing me toward something that will eventually make sense. And if I am scattered, stressed, or thinking about the end result rather than the gift of writing, it is impossible to hear the answer.
I listened to the speaker of the overhear as he talked and talked and talked to the person on the other end of the line. Rarely did he ask a question or sit still and listen. Maybe, like my muse, his missing texts had simply gotten lost in the noise of his whirling brain.
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