Sunday, February 9, 2014

One of my favorite questions/guest post topics from the tour with the ladies of Goddess Fish was January 27th....The Queen of All She Reads asked about being a rock climber versus being a writer...I thought it was a great topic.  Here's a reprint:

A Rock Climbers Journey to Becoming A Fantasy Writer by Aedan Byrnes

First off, let me say, great topic! I love that your topics were personal to my life and/or journey as a writer. I am most pleased to get to post here and hopefully inspire others.

Rock Climbing and writing are similar experiences for me. While you can climb in a group, often it is a solo adventure, just as writing is generally an individual undertaking. In climbing, you are looking for the footholds or the places to grab onto to keep to the rock face and not fall. In writing, you are looking for the toeholds and the spots to tie your work together and keep the adventure from dying.

Both endeavors are also outstanding for dreaming a bit. With fantasy writing, it is creation. With climbing it is usually the summit or the next rock face. Both are steeped with longing for the pinnacle…the better tale, the higher climb; looking back at the obstacles and grinning with accomplishment upon completion. They are enmeshed with opportunities that require the participant to seize the challenge and push through adversities when things are not simple.

A good climb starts with a plan, but ends with successful navigation of the unknown. A good tale starts with a plan and ends with a new world to navigate and enjoy that you didn’t know as well as you thought when you began. Neither writing nor climbing follows a single path, nor do they always end where we expect them too...and that is the joy of them. Predictability negates the need to climb, just as it prevents the enjoyment of writing, at least for me.

In both journeys I want to have moments that make my heart race with trepidation to let me know I am alive and seeing the adventure square and head on. Be it the experience of a plot twist, or the not quite solid grasp of the next step up. I want to have moments too that seize my soul to take in what is happening, be it a sorrow in the writing, or a view that could only be seen holding fast to the sheer rock face looking out and away with nothing to catch me. Both activities are adventures to be seized and appreciated for the potential to fly or fall.

So how does a rock climber become a fantasy writer? The short answer is I never knew I wasn’t both. I’ve written for as long as I can remember, and my father taught me to love climbing from the time I could stand. I don’t use the equipment from so long ago anymore as it needs to be maintained and replaced from time to time, but I have it, and will keep it always. His jumar is a treasure. I will also be keeping the notepads, composition books and scoured over, edited first drafts of everything I’ve ever written. They are part of the journey and a reminder that the assent is never simple, but the adventure is worth the trip and to enjoy the climb.
How many times can a man be broken? How many times can a man die and never have it be final? How many lost loves or lost chances at love will it take to undo any chance of ever becoming whole? In the purest sense…only one. Nothing I could imagine or ever endure would compete for the absolute punishing agony of her folding me into her arms to comfort me and hearing her whisper…

“I know.”

Two words. Who knew that two words would be all that it would take to loose the storm? Hardly two words really, only five letters. Five little letters with extreme power. Five little letters to rob Zeus of his most lethal bolt, focus the strike, and rend me in pieces. The surge had pushed past my pride and leaves me sobbing for the loss I had yet to experience. A loss I knew would take my breath, but I cannot die. How cruelly ironic that death has become my sole wish now?

My internal emotional upheaval is a flash storm out of place beneath the cloudless sky. The cacophony of my noisy tears and transition scatter the small creatures for miles. I have no control and shift without grace. Rage and pain coalesce to an explosion, angst roaring as the internal battle is waged and the war lost before the call to arms is done sounding. My thunderous eruption screaming against the fading light, with a rising silvery moon and shimmering stars to bear witness to my destruction. The metamorphosis from man to beast is abrupt. I shift, not with the flexing of bone and the stretching of skin, but with the crack of a gun blast and a single pull to form. It is razor wire across my senses and I am bloodied raw without a trace to be found.

A testament to her, she stands still. Not frozen, but placated to let me render the fury that must come out as I cannot hold it in. The beast from within is enormous, but not big enough to hold so much. I warned her. I told her. I had made her aware almost cruelly that first time I let my inner wild out that this day might come…could come…would come and that it would be ushered in on an unseen tide that would sweep our perfect world away. I had wanted her to be afraid. She wasn’t. She had believed, but had also naively assured me that the day would be long into the future and we would enjoy the time until then.

She had been wrong. There was nothing to say now. ‘I’m sorry’ would be a hollow sentiment and ‘I was wrong’ would do nothing as the last thing I would want to hear and know about this was that I had been right.



Cathy Lee said...

And I think both take a lot of bravery--rock climbing and writing!
capefearlibn at gmail dot com

Aedan Byrnes said...

Thank you lass...I think writing is harder.

Joyce said...

If your rock climbing skill is anywhere close to your incredible skills as a writer, I'm willing to bet that you excel at it.