Saturday, August 13, 2011

I guess this (writing) dream's gone away

You may have noticed that the subtitle of this blog is "writing and wilderness." I don't write about writing all that much mostly because I blog about it here: and also because lately my writing fairy seems to have skipped away. My novel languishes at 65,000 words; my next one is only five pages in. My sarcastic attempt at a romance novel, "Love in Xtra Tufs", is only an idea. Contest deadlines flit by; I haven't written for High Country News in months.

When I graduated proudly with an English degree I was positive I was going to be a Famous Writer. So what happened?

Wilderness happened. I fell in love with mountains, rivers and lakes. I wanted to work and live in national parks and forests. I wanted to feel the sun on my face, not artificial light. I wanted to climb and run instead of sit. I wanted to be with other people who felt the same tug to the wild.

And so I did. It's not that I didn't want it enough. More that I wanted to have it all. I didn't want to choose, didn't want to give up anything. I thought it would magically all fall into place: an outdoors job, marathon running, true love and books.

Of course it doesn't work that way. In order to be good at something, whether it's ultrarunning or mountain biking or writing, you have to put in the time. You have to give other things up.

As my songwriter friend Chase says, I guess this rock star dream's gone away. I'll pack up my guitar and sell my things. I watch Chase sing, his eyes closed, completely in the moment. I think, He's so talented. Why doesn't he go somewhere, really try to make it? But Chase is happy. He loves playing with his band and he loves being here.

I realize I am happy too. I don't need to be a Famous Writer anymore. I love my life. It's packed full of sparkly moments and love and sunshine. I wouldn't change a thing.

(Although I may start on Love in XtraTufs just for fun).

The romance writer at home with her family. This shack is unbelievably where she wrote the best-selling "Love in XtraTufs", a tale of Forest Service workers deep in the Alaskan rainforest. Is it a true story? Can love be found among the devils club? She isn't saying.


  1. And then, one day someone will discover you blog and the rest is going to be a literary history...

  2. Being famous is overrated, isn't it? You wouldn't have time for your wilderness adventures if you were on book tours all the time!

  3. Can't wait to read "Love in Xtra Tufs"!!!

  4. You need to write Love in Xtra Tuffs. If only to counter all the other alaska romance novels with terrible heroines.

  5. You are living your life, not only writing about it! My guess is the writing dream's NOT gone away but is in hiberation while other dreams are being lived. You are too talented not to write again someday when the time is right.

  6. With your love of the outdoors, how could the writing bug not go dormant in this beautiful summer we are having?

    Fall will come and along with it the fire in the woodstove and hot tea and fewer hours of daylight. There is time enough to return to writing in the coming cold season.

    After 65,000 words, you are much too close to let your novel languish for good (and besides, I want to read it!).

    If it's any consolation, I haven't written anything new or submitted anything in months either!



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