You probably know a wannabe writer – maybe the guy who’s going to start in on his fabulous book any day now and who tells you that this time next year he’ll be on his big Book Tour. He shows you his masterpiece and he’s maybe three pages into the next Great American Novel. Or maybe, you are the wannabe. You’ve written since you were little, since that first moment you knew that the stories inside of you could live. But, your grown daughter needs or your partner wants or you’ve somehow signed up to organize a fund-raiser; run a website; go through all your travel pics and organize them.; invite twenty people for Thanksgiving dinner…
…you could stop right where you are and consider this, which I found in What It Is, an astonishing book by Lynda Barry on writing: “What is writing? It is transportation to a meteorite.” When you are done considering, fly under this moon…and write for twenty minutes: What have I done?
Thank you, Carole Milstead, for responding to the old pack prompt a few weeks ago:
“My word,” I think to myself. What a day to hike Crow Pass. It is mid-summer, days are long, and here, the scenery spectacular. Zig zagging back and forth across this sort of steep hill trail, the views just keep getting better and better. I think it might be a good idea to stop and have a break, drink some water and just enjoy my surroundings. Finding a spot just off the trail, I will not be in the way of other hikers coming and going. This is a popular trail. Sitting down, seeing what looks like some long-ago left trash. Angrily, a thought crosses my mind. Why people just can’t pack out what they pack in. I walk over to clean up after some inconsiderate hiker, I realize that this is an old pack board. The kind that was used long ago. Heavy cloth or what was left of heavy cloth has all but rotted away. I think, “this must have belonged to a miner or prospector way back in the early 1900s. I look through what was left. I find some punctured and bent up cans along with a cooking pan that is well weathered and beat up. Looks like a bear or some other scavenger came looking for an easy meal. I wonder, out loud, what happened to the owner of all of this? Did he wander off, meet up and get mauled by a bear? Did he set the bag down and then forgot it when he left? Or maybe he was intent on coming back for it and could not remember where he left it. That does not seem too likely. It is quite a hike to the old mines. Doesn’t make sense to me that someone would leave this behind when he probably had another day or two of hiking ahead of him. I will never know. Since my find is part of a long-ago historical time, do I leave this behind or do I pack it out? There is the Antiquity Act. I am not sure if this old pack is old enough to come under that law. Or if the contents are considered natural or cultural. This area is part of a state park. I think I will just mark the spot with some rocks or twigs and tell one of the rangers. That way they are aware the pack is there and can deal with accordingly. I need to get moving to reach the top of the pass before it gets any later.
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