the heart tends to get away from us . . .

“The heart tends to get away from us, and we write from wherever we last left it.”
–    Peter Jurich, Writers Digest, 2/11

The moment I read this quote I fell in love with it!! I love its playful attitude, the image of the wandering heart so independent, leaving us bewildered or bewitched or somewhere in between. It reminds me of my daughter, my dog, so many things I’ve witnessed in my life. I guess it even reminds me of me, how I wander away from my own thoughts, my own center, when I’m not paying close attention; when I need release, a change of pace; when I want out; when things overwhelm me; when I want another solution to a complexity that demands, demands, demands and I’m tired of giving, giving, giving.

I love its truth – how beautifully and simply this single line captures the essence of the writing process. We think we’re writing one thing, but then it wiggles away, morphs into Something Utterly Other, maybe even thumbing its nose at us or challenging us to follow with reason rather than just, well, letting the heart respond.

I also love how it speaks to aging – how often Things in general get away from us, usually of course because we left them somewhere; but how often it seems Things have a mind of their own, ambulate on their own accord either to annoy and frustrate or to test us – our patience, our creativity, our memory. In this case, we tend to try to find them, of course. And in the search, follow just this course of action: retracing our steps to what we last remember in an attempt to be led to the current location. Continue reading

hiking bryce canyon

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Bryce Canyon is an epic poem, a fantasy novel forever unfolding, creative non-fiction and personal narrative in uncountable variations. Hiking the canyon is a writer’s paradise: at every turn, a prompt. You can’t walk ten feet without inhaling a panoramic sweep of towering red hoodoos or savoring the silver light glinting off smooth twists of drift trees. Iron red layers erupt with evergreen, juxtaposed against white monoliths. Contrast, change, challenge.

Each step a measured descent from rim to canyon floor, a descent into the detailed particulars of evolution and scale. Each rock measured by time we cannot begin to fathom, though we attempt by placing our human companions before a tower of stone for visual contrast. Each sprawling-rooted tree eking its survival amid sliding stone, the stone itself shape-shifting with time. Hoodoos rising like monuments to imagination, only to crumble imperceptibly to boulder, to graveled dunes of multi colored sand. Continue reading