It's been three months since I crossed the bridge in Turkey from Asia to Europe. This time was intended as a writing retreat before making my way North through Europe.
But I am still new to writing. And still haven't adopted that title. I wonder sometimes how many pieces of writing I have to toss, never to be read or published, that I will consider myself a writer. I mostly get tangled in commas, run-on sentences, and the through line. Which the word throughline is spelled three different ways, leaving me with the critical decision to add a dash, a space or nothing. Then I check my thesaurus just to make sure the word even fits. I like to think it's a rite of passage that other writers in their humble beginnings know all too well.
What I do know is that as I attempt to get small fragments of my walk into short stories, the true joy is being back in the memory and writing it for the love of the art. How many ways can one write how to shit in the woods in a non offensive manner? Or an unintended offensive way? Or perhaps today I don't care if it's offensive to anyone uncomfortable reading about the natural #2 inevitability.
When I am staring at a blank piece of paper and the only words that I can scrounge are Once upon a time, I pull out paper and paint and practice watercolors.
Practice makes perfect is repeated in my mind from a child.
I look at the one thousandth lemon I've painted and realize, I still don't get it. Making a round object actually look three dimensional seems to be incredibly hard for me. Most of the time I end up with a brown puddle of water on my paper. Frustration guaranteed.
But I still do it.
I still write.
I still paint.
I may never be great (or even good) at either of them. It's because it's deeply satisfied with the practice of it; overused commas and puddled lemons accepted.
Perhaps this is the way my Grandmother felt about crossword puzzles. She did several a day. Challenged her memory and creative thought process. But she was also happier afterwards and content while doing it.
Have you ever heard that once you make a living out of something you love to do, it can take the fun out of it?
I don't believe this has to be true. However, I do think that if I had a book deadline I might write differently. It could be more of a challenge to create creative moments. Whereas now, I write when I want to write.
And if I ever did get any good at painting a lemon, would the enjoyment of painting it decrease?
It's not about getting paid to do something. I think it's about the pressure to deliver.
I haven't had my business for two years. I wanted to allow myself a feeling of freedom from social-media strategy, launches, webinars, and list-building. I made a decision to devote myself to the walk and let go of formal strategies to fundraise.
I felt it, for awhile. Then a creeping sensation settled in when I got close to wifi. It's as if I didn't want anyone to know I was accessible. A blog must be posted, new photos, Facebook posts and messages to answer. I found myself getting initially overwhelmed and quickly heading for the road again, a place of no signal.
I don't have a sponsor demanding film footage or a publisher reminding me of a deadline. It's just you and me. Here on this blog.
But I still felt a pressure to get something out. Because that's what bloggers do, they blog.
I take few photos. I film even less. And I'm posting less and less online and just writing for myself.
I like to imagine that although you like to hear from me, you can understand the circumstances I strive to create. Something that still feels free; wild at heart; lost in adventure.
My aim is to keep my walk simple and manageable. To share parts of it with you through images and words. And I am learning to navigate by a desire to share with you from my heart rather than a pressure to create.
Some of my close friends would say I disappear for awhile but I hope they can attest that I always check back in.
Sometimes, my father emails me with five simple words, "Where the hell are you?"
Perhaps that's a through-line here. (I'll add the dash for a little pizazz!)
I like to get lost.
I need to get lost.
And our connection will thrive if you know that although I sometimes disappear somewhere, I always find my way back.
And hopefully with some treats in hand!!
I've organized the website to harbor short stories via the country, on The Words page.
I've edited the chronicles from Australia and they are also located in one place, on one page. I am still writing and some stories are not yet completed and many more are still to be written. So, the walls are up but watch your head as the rafters are still protruding.
I have two new stories for you. Totally at a random part of the walk. One in Mongolia and one in Georgia.
Snow Sneakers about my debut in Mongolia and Queen Tamar- My heart wrenching love story between me and a furry friend. (I still haven't written about Oogi. One sad love story at a time is all I can chew).
The rare film footage I've taken is put into two new videos.
My attempt to make an oncoming snow blizzard a bit more inviting.
Watch it Here.
A magical morning in Mongolia!
Watch it Here.
Lastly, got to make this good, in case you don't hear from me for another three months ;-)....
A view walking with me across Mongolia, Georgia and Turkey.
Watch it Here.
I appreciate you being on this journey with me.
Thank you for watching me get lost.
Till next time.