Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Walking the Tightrope

I want to talk about something today that I'm sure hits home for a lot of writers.  (Hell, it probably hits home for a lot of normal people, too.  I wouldn't know.  I haven't been normal since I learned to talk.)  I'm talking about the fine line between doing what we do and falling fifty feet off the highwire to land on the hard, cold concrete floor beneath us. 

Melodrama much?

Okay, so it's not nearly that bad.  It just feels that way sometimes.  You know, those times when the blues catch you and it feels like a gale force wind is trying to push you off the wire.  And so you fall.  Which is scary.  And sometimes you hit bottom.  Which hurts, but is rarely as fatal as a drop from a height to a hard, unforgiving surface. 

It's easier to hang on if you know it's coming.  Sometimes, you're hanging on by the grace of your fingertips, but you're hanging on.

When it catches you unawares, it's worse.  It blows up out of nowhere and you're falling.  And screaming (inside, usually).  And crying.  You're flailing your arms hoping you'll learn to fly in mere seconds. And then SPLAT.

So, there you lay, looking up at the wire, wondering why you ever tried to walk it in the first place.  Cursing the day you learned to string letters into words and words into sentences and sentences into stories.  When all you want to do is curl up in a ball... or wad your pages into a ball... and just stop. 

But you can't just stop.

Soon, you begin to wonder how you'll ever get from flat on the ground to all the way up that little ladder to the tightrope again.  The fifty feet now seems like two hundred.  And you wish you really could fly because then you'd be fine in no time and if you ever fell again, you could avoid the pain of impact.

Eventually, you push your mangled self off the ground, limp over to the ladder, and make the climb.  You get on the rope again and do the balancing act.  You have to.  The alternative is not worth considering. 

The first time is the hardest.  You hit bottom and it feels like every bone is shattered into a million tiny shards.  Every time gets easier.  Oh, except for those unexpected strong gales, but even those you'll weather better than you did the last. 

It helps if you have something you can do to create a fresh breeze to help push you up.  A little balloon you can tie to your ass that makes the climb and the tightrope walking easier.  I fish now.  Before I started fishing, I went for walks or took pictures (sometimes both). 

Sunday, an unexpected gust blew me to the ground.  I went fishing.  Caught nothing.  It wasn't enough.  Yesterday, I went fishing again.  Stood on a rocky beach, watching my bobber, and catching a few bluegills.  Then I changed locations.  Sat on the rocky ledges, watching my bobber, and catching a few fish.  I was out there for 5 hours, all told.  That seemed to work.  We'll see.  I was already teetering when the gust came, and I'm not quite sure my equilibrium is quite up to balancing on the highwire yet, but I'll scoot myself out there and see what happens.  Might fall again.  Might fly.  Time will tell.


  1. *stretches out a safety net* If we're lucky, we have friends who will do their best to catch us--or at least help break the fall. As always, your words are poignant and true. Here's hoping you find some peace. Or fish. Or both. *nods*

  2. Hugs on the gust! I hope you told it where to go. Offering a shoulder to break the fall, if you want to talk.

    Lifting a cuppa to peace and fish. ;-)

  3. Wow! Not being insensitive but I love your descriptions, and can now understand what you mean exactly. I am, once again, pleased that I'm a reader and not a writer. I don't think I could handle it. I hope the fishing works, but if not try the walking & photos again to pad it out. I'd love to see the pictures you take as you live in a very pretty area. If hit helps any, I'm sending you a big bear hug.