Mountains of Memories


Shoes to WhitneyThere’s Mt. Whitney dirt buried beneath the layer of dust on these boots. Nearly twenty years after the journey they remain under the nightstand, waiting for the next trek. I had planned to hike the trail again but the reality of that is improbable. Now I see the boots and bandana as trophies of past adventures – checks Mt Whitney ledgeoff the bucket list of goals.

I reflect on that elation I once felt at the top of this world. The photo proof of accomplishment feeds my mind with encouragement, staving off the inner critic as I work on my current goal to finish the memoir, one switchback at a time.

The process of writing the memoir is like climbing that mountain. We begin at the bottom, working on the arc of the story – the path to the top and then down again. I set the milestones.

  • Permits – getting permission
  • Training – learning the best way
  • Advice – finding a coach who has been there
  • Mirror Lake – reflecting on the memories
  • Trailside Meadows – feeling the effects but pushing on
  • Trail Camp – regenerating
  • 97 Switchbacks – penning the points in the arc
  • Trail Crest – seeing the other side
  • Summit – the first draft
  • 97 Switchbacks – editing, cutting back
  • Return to the Portal – exhausted but exhilarated
  • Buying the “I Climbed Mt Whitney T-Shirt” – the reward

I am at Trailside Meadows. Where are you in your journey?



If we were having coffee right now…

If we were having coffee..,

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you about the people at my church. Since I suggested that people might want to watch Dogtown Redemption, it seems there are people now who are interested. They come up and talk to me after church. Mark sent me an email and asked what he could do to help. Marilyn called me earlier this week and we talked for quite some time. She knows Jason. She has grandchildren coming this summer and maybe they can meet JJ. She greeted me with a big hug today. Don brought me a copy of Remember to Remember, only because I got to know him last week at the deacon’s luncheon and he found out we live in the same city. The author lives in our city, right down the street from me. Louise gave me a knowing look as she walked by with the offering plate. Rich called me an “author.” Chris talked to me during coffee hour offering a suggestion that at some point I must determine the memoir is done. No more editing. Trust it is what it is meant to be.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I spent most of the afternoon reading Remember to Remember. I kept falling asleep. Exhausted. I feel like I need to read the book. Not put it on the shelf where it will stay at the bottom of the to be read pile for months, maybe years. It’s the first time I’ve read a real book in years. Instead I’ve read my way through three generations of Kindles. Somehow it feels right to be holding a book. A good thing since I have that stack of real books sitting on the shelf calling to me.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you how addicted I have become to listening to podcasts. Mostly podcasts about writing or publishing. That’s what I do when I develop an interest in something new. Not that writing is new but it is brought to the forefront as I consider the commitment that my memoir would be finished by the end of summer. My last interest was photography. Every day I took a photo and posted it on Project 365. I kept at it for almost two years. Then I got bored with it. But in the meantime I tried to learn everything I could about photography. I took online courses. I watched YouTube videos. Did I mention that I am taking online courses in writing now? What will be my next phase or interest I wonder.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you about writing 20 minutes a day and how it is changing my behavior. At least for 20 minutes a day it is. I am wondering if it is another distraction to keep me from working on the memoir. You see, it’s not about working 20 minutes a day on the memoir. It’s about writing 20 minutes a day with a topic that is sent to me by email as part of an online course. It’s only a 20 day course so it will be complete by the time I begin a 20 minute a day practice with Len Leatherwood. Yes, that is another course I’m taking through Story Circle. What I like about the idea is that it builds a consistency habit. It holds me accountable when I sign up for something like that. I guess you might say it’s because I seem to do well when I have challenges, my form of goal setting.

If we were having coffee right now, I would have to confess I am drinking tea. I only did the coffee thing because it was a writing prompt. I prefer to drink tea this time of day. Green tea, usually from Trader Joes. It’s an afternoon pick me up. Since I slept a good portion of the afternoon, it is a necessity. A wake up call.

Since I am drinking tea right now, I’m going to tell you that each paragraph in this exercise was supposed to begin with “If we were having coffee right now.” See what a rebel I have become? Is it cheating to change this paragraph or is it just creativity?

If we were having coffee right now, what would you tell me?