I'm back from Retreat Week where, once again, I made the snowshoe trek to the Slayton Pasture Cabin. Though I am what I'd call an exercise hobbyist, perhaps dilettante, I always find this six-mile round trip trying. I actually worry about it for months and start training in October with some climbs on a small hill behind my house. While I was out on the snowshoe trail last Wednesday, my mind began to wander away from how much I was suffering to how much what I was doing was like writing. I could do a blog post about this, I thought. And then I thought, this sounds very familiar.
That was because I had already had the same idea while making the same trip in 2015 and had, indeed, done a blog post about it. So, people, for your enjoyment, here it is again.
Okay, say you're going to head up a trail, and just to make this piece of writing specific, let's say it's the trail to the Slayton Pasture Cabin
in Stowe, Vermont. You've been up to the cabin a few times before, and
you know it's one of the tougher outdoor activities you take part in.
You feel some anxiety about this whole thing. But then you figure, What
the Hell? I've done this before.
So you start out and things are pretty easy at first, and you're thinking, What was I worried about? Yes. I have done this before. I've done it successfully. People have liked what I've done in the past. Of course, I can do this.
you hit that Hellacious, straight up climb, the part of the job you'd
really feared. It is horrendous. You think it will never end. You'll
never get through it. You think, I cannot do this again. This has got to
be the last time. Is that my heart I feel thumping away in my chest?
Have I ever felt that before? Is it going to explode? Is there any
cellphone service here?
Then you take that turn and
things get better. Since you've done this before, you know some
landmarks. You know that nothing will be as bad as that part of the job
you just did. You know that the snowshoe trail crosses a ski trail at
the X minute point, so you can think of this job as a series of short
tasks instead of Oh my God I'm, going to be on this trail for two hours. And that's just one way!
actually experience one of those break through the wall things that
you've heard about with marathoners. You might actually be okay.
K.D. Lang. You're going to make it!
And that is what it's like to write a book.
And that is what it's like to have published a book.
You come down off the mountain and feel pretty damn fine because it's always way better to have snowshoed than it is to snowshoe.
Just as it is always better to have written a book than it is to write it.