Monday, December 26, 2016

Desert Reflections

By: Darby Karchut

In mid October, I had the opportunity to mountain bike a portion of the Maze in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Five days of relentless sun, surreal desert formations, and plenty of sketchy terrain. To offset the challenging days, we had glorious nights camping under a full moon.

I wanted to use the trip to do some research about a new series I’m working on. I brought a small notebook to record my thoughts and jot down setting details as I rode along.

Source: Pixabay 

It never happened.

Heck, it was all I could do to get through the next mile, or navigate the next drop, or endure the long distances between camps. I was totally in the moment, not thinking about anything—just a pure physical being.

Pedal.
Breathe.
Drink water.
Eat sand.

It was vacationing on Tatoonie.

Tatoonie aka Canyonlands National Park Source: Pixabay

Well, I don’t know about you all, but taking a break from the hamster wheel was kind of nice. In a way. Except for that nagging fear that so many writers feel: If I stop writing, I’ll forget how to write.

Or I’ll lose the drive.
Or lose the discipline.
Or lose the desire.

As I traveled home from Utah, I had time to really stare down that fear. Really, Karchut? I asked myself. You think taking five measly days from your art is going to diminish your skills? As if all your past success was based on nothing more than momentum?

Well. Yeah.

Do other writers feel that way? I wondered. Like if you stop writing, you’ll never start again? Does anyone else get that sick punched-in-the-gut feeling—like panic—if you don’t write at least a few pages each day? And even then, do you fret because it wasn’t enough words. Or the right words. In the right order?

And we torture ourselves this way because…why?

Because.

Because.

Because the bliss we get from writing is like nothing else in the world. We cannot stop being storytellers any more than we can stop breathing. It is who we are. And time away from our craft may dull our abilities, but not destroy them. We are all stronger than that.

About the Author: Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter.  A native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy writing for children, teens, and adults. She is represented by Amanda Rutter at Red Sofa Literary.