Friday, July 08, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

This was taken at our River Ranch. The dirt road winds around about 750 acres, up hill and down. In most places, there's an awesome view of Steptoe Butte, approximately 20 miles away. In other areas, there's a breathtaking view of the Palouse River canyon.

It's a timeless place.

From November to March, the road is closed. Even when open, the county does not maintain it. Sometimes, the ruts are big enough to swallow a car. (That's an exaggeration, but they do get huge.)

Once when I was helping the crew to move machinery, I came across a deep, water-filled rut. I thought I'd need a boat to cross it. The ground all around it was soft as well. If you think you'll get through a rut by driving a little to either side of it, you are sadly mistaken. You will get sucked into the mud, and you'll need to be hauled out by a pick-up. Sometimes, a tractor.

Sure that I would get stuck that day, I didn't want to drive through the rut. My husband instructed me to go right through the center of it. When you do that, the tires cross the hardpan dirt at the bottom, and the truth is, you won't get stuck. You'll sail through to the other side, where you want to go.

But, metaphorically speaking, sometimes the other side is not where you want to go. You want new vistas. To do that, it means finding a new way to get there. You need to take risks. Somewhere along the way you will, inevitably, get stuck. Probably, you'll get stuck over and over again.

I finished the line edits on my manuscript this morning.

It's a contemporary young adult novel, only 225 pages, and whether or not it ever gets published, I am in awe my accomplishment. It's not my first completed manuscript, or even my fifth. But it is the first one that I grappled with at a level that was completely unknown to me before. I had in mind what I wanted to accomplish, and I stuck with it. There were times where I was sure I could never make it work, and I might as well just stop writing. Hang it up. Go do some scrapbooking instead. Or take up jogging in a big way again. Run a marathon. Running a marathon would've been easier. But I stayed with it, and I am now, in terms of my writing skills, at a completely new vista for me. It's worthy of a moment's reflection. It's worthy of a few pats on my own back.         


  1. That's a beautiful picture, and what a fantastic way of looking at things. CONGRATS on finishing your line edits! Some books definitely seem to push me outside the limits of what I thought were possible. What an amazing feeling for you!

  2. Congrats on finishing that line edit. Here's a virtual pat on the back from me.

  3. This may post twice as I got an error the first time, but congratulations! Every new accomplishment in the life of a book is worth celebrating.

  4. Congratulations! You are so right, completing something, really seeing it through and finishing is huge! So many DO NOT get there. As much as I hope that my book will be successful, I honestly feel that my success is achieved by having finally done what I believe I was meant to do in this life. You my dear, have written a book. How cool is that????

    I drive a Mini Cooper. Your ruts could definitely eat my car.

  5. That is just wonderful, Catherine! Consider this my cyber pat on the back :)

  6. What a great setting--and what story ideas it must inspire :-) Does it figure in any of your books?

    And the idea of "grappling" at a level you've not realized before shows how determined you've been and how you continue to grow as a writer. That's encouraging to those of us who still have books yet to write. Congratulations on your progress!

  7. Congratulations finishing edits! It's fantastic that you stuck with it. Enjoy the new vista. ;)

  8. Congrats on finishing your line edits! Definitely worth a few pats on the back.

  9. Congratulations on your accomplishment! I look forward to reading your published work one day! :)

  10. Congratulations! That's HUGE! Yay, Catherine! :)


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