Mountain Climbing

May 8, 2014

I've climbed a lot of mountains. Both physical and metaphorical.

 

It's hard to impart the beauty of hiking up Mt. Sinai at 2:00 AM, scrabbling up the final steep rocks, and reaching the summit at dawn. Red tints the landscape with bright hues, so that even the dun-colored stones and endless sand are glowing.

 

There's reaching the end of the Inca Trail, rounding that last bend at the summit of the Andes, and viewing the splendor of Machu Picchu. Ancient stones testify to the civilization that once flourished. A chincilla balances on a wall. And clouds envelop everything.

 

And then there are those mountains of life. You know them. The ones that we climb daily. In our jobs, our families, our pursuits. Writing is the ultimate mountain climb for me. The place where struggle meets triumph, where sorrow meets joy, where anguish meets hope.

 

My files hold the evidence of my prolific endeavors. Would that I could turn off my brain, leave the mountain, and spend some time in the low country. But the stories demand life and think that I'm the one to give it. That's the easy part. Characters wake me at night, interrupt my shower, my meals, my conversations (rude little buggers, at times). But the joy of birthing them onto the page can't be overstated.

 

Perseverance--and the hard climb--begins with the publishing of said stories. Get an agent? Sure. I've had four, all of whom moved on due to new jobs or illness. Up the agent slope I go again. Get a publisher? Great. I've sold my trilogy, done edits, and still ended up cancelled due to issues that had nothing to do with me. Same thing happened with a middle grade series. Both just business. Or boulders.

 

A smarter woman would descend to the desert floor. Yet here I am, tying my hiking boots, strapping on my backpack, taking another first step up. Will I ever reach the summit? Who knows? But what I do know is this: I will climb. I will hold tight. I will enjoy the scenery along the way. Because the process, the stories, and the joy are who I am. 

 

Just this.

 

 

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LAUREL HOUCK
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   "Stories feed

     our souls."

       Laurel Houck