Backpacking Cold Mountain

6th Trial: Once a you realize you are in a rut, how do you change the course you are on?

Weekly hours spent writing or in pursuit of plot: ZERO–though the inspiration gained filled more than a weeks worth of struggling motivation

Weekly choice of “tea”: Hot chocolate by the campfire

Greatest Success: Backpacking to the summit of Cold Mountain, a 16.4 mile hike and an elevation of 6,030 ft

This was a tribute to the book by Charles Frazier, and a challenge to say that I hiked up one of the tallest peaks of the eastern United States.

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Like any connection with nature, there is a residual feeling of loss when you leave it. That is not the case today–I close my eyes and I see Frazier’s description: “It stood apart from the sky only as the stroke of a poorly inked pen, a line thin and quick and gestural. But the shape slowly grew plain and unmistakable. It was Cold Mountain he looked. He had achieved a vista of what for him was homeland.” I feel its wild peace in my heart still, and its beauty is what steadies my mind.

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I think of Charlotte Bronte’s quote from Wuthering Heights, as these moments are essential to my existence today, a small light within the fleeting and ever changing jobs and stresses of my life.

“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.” -Wuthering Heights

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With these images in my inward eye, I can start a week dedicated to chapter two, and next week you shall hear my success in advancing out of this rut I am in with my writing! The view from the Summit of Cold Mountain:

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I guess the only way to get over the rut you are in, and start fresh, is to shake it off!

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The Inward Eye

4th Trail: finding TIME to write (which may turn into the 6th, 7th, 8th trial too!)

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 7.5 hours (coffee…)

Weekly choice of tea: Turmeric and Ginger with Pumpkin spice whipped honey (locally made!)

Greatest Success: Unraveling (at least in my mind) the writing of the over-shadowed and yet very talented authoress, Anne Bronte

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My mother and being a mother!

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Today was particularly wonderful. It is Mother’s day, and I had the incredible opportunity to share it with my mother, who still lives in Ohio. She was on her way to Myrtle Beach, taking a much deserved vacation. I love my mother dearly! I also displayed for you a picture of my dog, Boo Radley–who is a child to me, and I claim motherhood as anyone would who are crazy animal lovers. After my mother had left I dived more into a novel that I began last week by Anne Bronte, ‘Agnes Grey’, and in the first several chapters I go with her through the trials of a governess. I can feel so much sympathy for the main character, as she is tormented by disobedient children and idiotic parents, and can hardly find the time for leisure, for herself, and as she states, “for the bliss of solitude”.

I look at my own struggles of finding time to do everything I want while working six days a week; my mother’s own struggles with a stressful work load and finding time for a vacation; Anne’s display of such similar obstacles; and am that much more motivated to foster what Wordsworth describes as the “inward eye”: take all that calms you, that brings you peace and happiness, and allow their images to fill a dismal mood or circumstance, thereafter filling your heart with happiness and remembrance. In other words, for me, bring forth the feelings I experience when surrounded by nature, the feeling when riding a horse, the bliss of sitting by a window with a good book. Allow an inward eye to motivate you. With such love in your sight, who then could not find the energy to be who they want to be, and do what they are meant to do?

“For oft when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of Solitude,

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the Daffodils.” -Wordsworth, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’

Share a comment on what fills your inward eye, and motivates you!

An Introduction

First, it must be understood that I do not wish to condemn my writing nor hold it in higher estimation than it naturally is in these weekly blog entries–for I am sure my inadequacies and talents, romanced or not, will be well versed in my novel. I imagine every writer transforms themselves into pages and glorifies their lives to the eyes of readers. You can trust therefore, that my following passages are nothing more than the laughable and quizzical blocks that enter in someone’s mind who wishes to write their first novel–as much as I can imagine, for it will be my own trials whether or not any other writer can vouch for similar feelings. As for the topic, plot, and morality of the story–most I am unfamiliar with as you! I have waited vainly for the lightning of knowledge to zap me in my dreams– for me to awake, hair disheveled and in writhing knots much like Medusa herself–and shout “Eureka!” to a no doubt brilliant plot that would surpass the Brontes’. I would then of course and with great ease throw a silk robe that magically appeared over my shoulders, glide over my slumbering dog as gently as a doe does a log in her path, and scribble furiously over paper as I can romanticize Beethoven set about symphony making. I cannot wait for a brilliant idea to write my first novel–I could be waiting forever.

And I probably would be– regretfully but comfortably sitting on my couch reading enviously the words of Dickens or watching re-runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I began writing a couple weeks ago, realizing fast that being a good writer does not a novelist make, that the art of creation can turn into a headache quickly enough. But also that the 40-45 hours a week working a different career is taxing on the imagination, and more importantly, is suffocating the will to feed another passion.

But is this not what most struggle with? Am I not the commonest of birds, singing a forlorn song?! And so this blog will be created not for my own amusement (and i would be happy if it added to yours as well), but for my own documentation of this journey, and also to keep me honest. If I constantly write about my failure to write, then how silly I shall seem to myself! Let this blog be a mirror to myself, a motivational tool, and more-over, a reality coming to life.

That being said, for those of you who do not know me so well, how did I come to want to write? I find this to be a proper subject, as instead I could rattle on about my interests and other aspirations, my favorite color being yellow, and display who I am as I would prefer you to see me—no, you will find me out shortly enough. My story begins as most in my generation do–I was in line at Barnes and Noble. My mother and I were buying items that have since been forgotten. Standing in line, my eyes constantly looking at all the shiny items for purchase on display and my clumsy hands poking at anything in reach, when my mother said, “Kathy, have you read Jane Eyre?”. I of course, being in middle school, had no idea what she was talking about, and said so. “This is an absolute must-read!” And so she picked up a small tan book with blue edging and golden leafed pages, sealing my fate forever. After Charlotte Bronte I had to tackle Austen, and from Austen came the Harry Potter obsession (which has never stopped, actually), and then naturally Shakespeare. Once College hit I wanted to devour the Literary Canon, an effort that will forever be my pleasure and hobby. The day, or moment, that I decided to write a novel is lost to me. I feel as though I have always had it, as my love for great stories seems to pre-date my mother’s purchase of Jane Eyre. Maybe I just said it one day, and as many things that seem extraordinary and difficult to achieve, I decided immediately that I will one day say that I’ve done it.

My love for novels does seem to exceed my desire to write at times. I have made a plan for 2015 to read one book a month and have written a chapter every other month. March came and went and I had only completed two novels, and my first chapter only half done (I say “done” loosely). Two days before April arrived I finished Cold Mountain, a novel I wanted to read before I hiked Cold Mountain here in North Carolina. I found myself sitting by the window, amazed at the description of nature within that novel–having apparently read Whitman a long, long forgotten time ago, it seemed quite unparalleled! How well Frazier knew the trees, the foliage, and the toll of weather within the mountains. I glanced down at my own descriptive tenses and thought, yes, you need more trees in this scene. Then, looking out my window for help I glanced at the trees eager to scribble down their effects. Sadly, I have no idea the nomenclature of trees, and realized that this writer’s influence is beyond my own abilities to story-tell.

It is time for a new novel to read–and what influences me more than anything??? A British writer—in this instance, Austen. Yes! that’s it! I picked up Persuasion from my bookshelf and began chapter one. When that was done, the need for something more British overtook me and I bought all of Downton Abbey Season 5 on Amazon. And so with tea in my cup and an imaginary scone to the side of my teapot, I will be induced to write less on trees and the entrails of dead animals (that which I know little) and more from my own thoughts and impressions that live and form an imagination that is in desperate need to get to it. That being said, this need for something more British will get pencil to paper with magnetic force.