Tagpictures

The glamorous writing life

The things I’ve had to research recently for Crossroads: hopping freight trains (which I keep writing as fright trains–please, someone write that story for me, okay?); finger picks for guitar players; constructing underground shelters; New England Patriots players (yes, I wrote that out for anyone who would be lost if I said the Pats–I may not watch football, but I am a Massachusetts native); bus lines in upstate NY; train lines everywhere; busking; surgical scars on backs; and the scenery of I-90 from Massachusetts straight through to Montana.

It’s the last one that’s giving me the most trouble. I like to write about place. I like to be able to touch and smell and listen to a place, and I can’t, not for this trip. Luckily for me, it’s possible to find things like a website devoted to pictures of exits off I-90 in the Dakotas, which is something like driving driving driving across the states, if I were taking very long slow blinks.

After having spent much time reading up on knives and knife fighting for The Lost and Wren, I find it both a nice change of pace (no more hunching awkwardly over the computer screen, wondering how to explain if anyone catches me watching YouTube clips on carrying concealed blades), and a little overwhelming. So many facts, and so many things I could easily focus on for months. Maybe not the Pats, or guitar picks, but the others. The world is full of fascinating things, and time is so unfairly limited.

Still, I’d like more images. Not glossy coffee table book pictures, but snapshots by travelers, peeks at roadsides and city benches and the unpolished places a young wanderer might find herself. Those things feel much harder to find. If you know of any good places to look, please let me know–here, via email, by fireworks or flag semaphore, whatever suits you. Blue will be most grateful.

A story, a picture

Late summer, 2010. Hiking in the White Mountains with Jon. No kids, just us, on a vacation paid for by his work in honor of ten years of service. On the way back down, we stop by a little waterfall.

My old boots don’t quite fit. They never have; they never fit either of us quite right, but I’m lazy about my footwear, so I wear them with two pairs of wool socks. This day, though, they’re not feeling kind to my feet. I take them off, stick my feet in the water until they are numb. Pull them out, and they are reborn. That’s the way cold streams are when you’re hiking: holy.

I hate having my picture taken, avoid it like the plague. This trip, I allow a few. They’re for the kids, waiting at home for us. I once read an essay by a woman who wished her mother had allowed more pictures of herself, because after she was gone, the woman had so few images of her. So, sometimes I let the pictures happen.

This picture, though, this one I didn’t notice, because Jon was waiting for me back on the rocks. It’s one of my favorites–I prefer to play second fiddle to a waterfall.

It’s also going to live on the About Me page from now on.

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