Wild Words . . . Photos & Fine Art

Co-creating by heart with sandy cathcart through writers helps and art info, focusing on all things wild.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Need Inspiration?

I spent the entire day yesterday on the edge of the Rogue/Umpqua Wilderness picking the biggest, plumpest huckleberries ever! I never saw another human, and heard the engine of only one car the whole day. Instead, a gentle breeze caressed my face and sang through the tops of the tall timber, and blue Jays and chipmunks chattered at me from time to time. It was glorious!

And it was inspiring!

Good news I haven’t shared with you yet . . . an editor looked at my Wild Women chapter and was very interested. She, in turn, told her managing editor who asked for the rest of the book. Well . . . there is no rest of the book, because I’m not finished yet. So I sent him eight chapters.

He, read it, liked it, and gave it to his publisher, who read it, liked it, and asked for the rest.


But . . . I’m not finished . . . and . . . now the pressure is on to finish it as well as I’ve started. Can I do it? The pressure brought everything to a grinding halt.

Having two ten-year-old grandchildren living with me for the summer brought a lot of writing to a halt as well.

So, I did the thing any good writer would do. I took advantage of a free day to myself by heading to the hills. After all, huckleberries don’t wait.

The trick in this kind of inspiring activity is to go it alone. I was an hour from the nearest civilization . . . the thought both exhilarated and sometimes frightened me. But, boy, howdy, did I ever get ideas.

The outline I couldn’t quite pull together came into full view, or at least nearly full view. I’m aware of how the book will end now, and of most of the pieces getting there. I keep a small writing tablet and pen in my fanny pack and I pull it out whenever an idea hits.

Some of the ideas came while driving to my secret berry-picking spot. No need to pull off the road. There weren’t any other cars, but it was a good idea to come to a full stop in order not to plunge over the 300-foot drop into the canyon.

Other ideas came while I was picking. I had to make sure to look up every once in a while to make sure a bear wasn’t headed in my direction. I’ve seen lots of bear out here in the past. That’s one of the reasons not to bring anyone with you. They will either tempt you to talk, distract you right in the middle of your best idea, or (like my granddaughters) sing every camp song they know ten times at the top of their lungs to ward off bears. I wish you could have heard their voices drop from soprano to bass the day they picked huckleberries with me and I pointed out that they sounded exactly like my predator call. Ha!

All ideas and thoughts came to a halt about mid afternoon when my brain froze and I suddenly felt utterly exhausted.

I resisted the temptation to return home and took a break instead. Eating some cheese and crackers and taking a leisurely walk while enjoying the scenery and quiet. Then it was back to picking and the ideas started flooding my mind once again. I got a great title for an article I’m planning to write. I got other ideas for other projects . . . all written down on my little tablet.

I stayed till nightfall, then began the long trek home. A glorious sunset painted the back slope of Rabbit Ears an amazing pink glow. I had to pull over to the side of the road several more times to write down even more ideas.

So, this morning I’m writing some of those ideas down and I’m off to pick blackberries close to my home, then it’s back to the computer to put it all together. This time I won’t be stuck staring at a blank screen with a blank mind. I have direction and purpose . . . and best of all . . . passion to get it all down.

So, need inspiration? Then, head to the hills . . .


At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Elsi said...

Congrats on the publisher interest! So keep writing, my friend!

I found a lovely KOA with a blackberry patch this summer. What fun to pick blackberries and eat them with milk and Splenda for breakfast and at bedtime, too! Small amounts didn't provide too much sugar, and I loved every minute of it.

I get most of my writing ideas behind the wheel; I'm becoming adept at "stoplight notes" which I will work on later. So I empathize ... and celebrate your ideas!


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