Friday, June 10, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

No, not Disneyland. I'm a broke grad student, too poor to get in Disneyland's door.

I'm talking about Tahoe.  Yesterday, we drove up to Emerald Bay and hiked the Rubicon Trail.  You know, the one that descends one hell of a steep mile to Vikingsholm, and then winds its way to to Emerald Point and then up to Calawee Cove.  We had a Camelbak and two saran-wrapped homemade burritos, which we ate at Calawee Cove, perched on an enormous rock formation above the blue-green water.

It was the most perfect lunch I've ever had.  

It made me remember how lucky I am to live here, in a place where going to Tahoe for lunch is do-able.  Sitting at the top of the world, on those granite rocks, feeling so close to the clouds and the sky...all the small problems of life fell away.  Agents, queries, rejections, feelings of inadequacy, feelings of bitterness melted away, if only temporarily.  So while I'm waiting for the sea of rejection that will surely follow the ocean of projects and queries I sent out this spring, I'll always have the memory of that one perfect moment where none of it mattered.  Where I felt small.  Where I knew that the mountains and the water and the man beside me didn't care at all how many times I get rejected.  They will all think of me in the same way.  And that helps me to think of me in the same way.

So, in terms of writing advice, this post boils down to a single idea: get out there.  Don't stay wrapped up in the fog of words and writing all day, every day.  You have to remember what wet wood smells like, what rushing water sounds like, the way lizards come out into the sunshine and do push-ups if they think you're not watching them.

Writing is beautiful and fulfilling, if not always rewarding.  But it can't sustain your soul, not on its own.  You have to see what's out there.  You have to feel small.  You have to realize that the rocks and sea and air have been here for millions of years before you and will continue to be there for millions of years after you.  What's a rejection (or even 60 rejections) in the face of that?

Always write what you want.  Always do what you want.  And always remember, you are small...in the best possible way.

(I didn't take this picture yesterday...it's actually from years ago, but it still gives you a good idea what the place looks like.)