Monday, August 31, 2015

It's all Downhill from here

Last week, Arizona, Wallaby, Grandma J and I packed a ridiculous amount of stuff into two cars and went to Vermont for a week, in Arizona's and my first official together vacation that did not involve staying at a family member's house or me doing writing stuff with other authors. Despite a bit of last-minute angst when the owner of our vacation-rental-by-owner was late getting us the code to the key-box, and me coming up with all sorts of disaster scenarios (as you do), there was little to no drama, and the four of us spent a very fun week together.

We hiked.

We did silly tourist stuff.

We took Wallaby to his first playground (where he was far more interested in playing in a puddle than on the swing set, but that's cool, too).

My apologies for the lack of Grandma J footage, but she ducks photos. Trust me, she was there, and we couldn't have had the same fun without her. Because with her and Wallaby off doing grandma stuff, Arizona and I hit the slopes. Not to ski, but to load our mountain bikes onto the lift, ride it to the top, and roll down at breakneck speed.

And, no, neither of us broke our necks, or anything else. In fact, we emerged from a week of gravity riding with minimal wear and tear on both us and our bikes--which, given my history of wrecking myself whilst biking, is pretty impressive. But it got me thinking that a whole lot of my bumps and bruises have come, not while shooting downhill, but while pedaling up.

When you're going uphill, you're putting a whole lot of work into each stroke, trying to balance and counterbalance, steer, plan for the rocks and roots up ahead, and generally keep your helmet over your heels when the whole assembly wants to wobble and prove gravity. (Though, as Arizona is fond of pointing out, I can't actually prove gravity. I can only generate more evidence in favor of its existence. Snicker.)

When you're going downhill, all you need to do is keep your joints loose and your balance more or less upright, and let all that potential energy you gathered on the uphill do its thing. Yelling "Wheeee!" at appropriate intervals is also encouraged.

Which, come to think of it, is a whole lot like writing a book--or at least it's a whole lot like how I write a book. I slog through the first half, wording and rewording, writing, deleting, cursing, and generally feeling like I'm pushing a giant, unwieldy ball of worms up a mountain. But then I get to the top, with those worms turned into story dominos that are poised to fall into place, and I go flick, and send them tumbling down the other side of the hill. I keep my fingers loose and my balance more or less upright, and I write faster and faster, gathering momentum as I roll down the hill.

So now, as Arizona and I do our best to shake off our post-vacation hangovers and get back to our Monday morning routines, I'm encouraged that I've only got another week or so before I reach the halfway point in my current project. The worms are more or less behaving, the dominos are starting to fall into place, and pretty soon I'm going to get to stop pedaling quite so hard and ride the momentum down the hill.

And won't that be fun?


  1. Grandma J might not like having her picture taken but she took some great ones of the 3 of you! :)

    1. Awww, thanks. I'll pass along the compliment! She was wrestling with her phone and always having the wrong glasses on (as you do, LOL), but absolutely came through with some vaca memories for the digital scrapbook :)