A quick note to Gin Getz readers: I am Karen Bailey, a friend of Gin. You may have seen my comments from time to time on this blog. Gin has very limited internet connectivity and has asked me to help post her blogs: Basically she is just sending me post and photos via email and then I put them on the blog for her. Just wanted all the readers to know this in case you post a comment and wonder why you don’t hear back from her. Please do continue to post comments because she is able to read them! –Karen
Sometime in the middle of Nowhere, you may find there is no place you would rather be.
Five pens used up, one pencil, and I’m not sure how many trips Bob has made back and forth with my computer in his saddle bag, horseback across river to the Estancia Ranquilco to charge the batteries on my laptop. Writing progresses. But some days, progress is slow. Frustrating. There must be something wrong. That something must be… me. My writing. The direction I’m going. My method. My abilities. You know. Those evil thoughts of insecurities. Demons! Be gone!
The last two days were like that. More than likely, a case of The Middles. As a friend pointed out in her last letter to me, we’re half way through our time in Argentina. I’m half way through the roughest of rough drafts (though there will be many more stages following to refine this to a final product I am proud to put my name on, and Ginny so deserves). Summer here is half way over. Already a difference in light, rising later in the morning, and the start of a shadow now at noon.
And some days I feel it’s just beginning. Maybe I’m slow to get going. Maybe I just know I won’t want to leave. But I do want to complete this book. For myself. But mostly for Ginny. She has trusted me. I have promised her.
Today I wanted to be with her, talk with her, and ask for her help. Funny how she is always quick to help others heal. Holding my cold hands in her warm ones on a chilly morning back in El Huecu when I went to work on Morning Pages. Knowing a note from her would cheer me up, as she has so many times. Lift my insecurities and help me get back on track.
I didn’t want her to see my weakness. To know I too can falter. That, yes, there are times I doubt myself that I can do it and question my sanity for trying. But I wanted to have her tell me I can do this. And that I can do it well. To tell me that I am the right one to finally complete this project that she had wanted for so many years to complete. The story so many have told her needs to be told. I wanted to talk with her and hear these words because I knew hearing them from her, I would believe, and I would get back to work newly inspired, leaving this bout of The Middles behind. (Don’t get too comfortable, of course, for there will be more).
It’s just a thought, and thoughts can change. We can change them. We can heal. Ourselves. Others. Sharing wisdom, stories, parts of our self. When we think we have nothing more to give. We have words. Yes, Ginny, you are healing. Yourself and others. This book is indeed a part of it.
Otherwise, I remind you, my friend, of your formula for healing. It has worked for you before. Let us work on this now.
- Reduce stress. This might mean stop doing what you’re doing, living where you’re living, dealing with that who or what that’s dragging you down and draining you.
- Increase love. Be around and/or reach out to people who love you. And there are so many! You are never truly alone.
- Include horses, some part of them, some where, some way, some how in this equation.
- Include art. For as you know so well, Creativity Heals!
My time on this side note must be cut short. Get back to work. Use my precious computer battery time to move forward on this book. Adelante!
I leave you then with this. Written a day or two ago, and ripe now for sharing, for who knows when I will be able to do so again, and by that time, you know I’ll have plenty more to share…
Another beautiful day in Patagonia…
Today at the Estancia Trocoman. Today as yesterday, as tomorrow. Except for missing my son, I don’t know when and if I have ever been happier.
Every day based upon writing. It helps that it is a good story, and my “office” cannot be beat. A point and a purpose – to get this story done, to share Ginny’s story, to find the words to make it sing, the tune to inspire the reader, and choose the stories to make it dance. Dancing in the wind!
Side notes and fun stories, in the writing, in my time off. Balanced by daily rituals. Discipline. If it were not for discipline, I would not be here. Would not be able to promise a completion. No schedules, no hours to keep track of, no one looking over my shoulder as I write (now wouldn’t that be a killer for creativity?). Only my own sense of responsibility, my love of self discipline (yes, I know, that’s been considered a bit strange by some), and my driving desire to complete this project, and complete it well.
Morning matέ, followed by a brief hike or ride, and sit down to write until lunch. Leftover goat stew from the night before warmed again on the open fire, and bread dough fried in goat lard stored under a dirty towel to keep off the flies. Otherwise, the pantry is close to empty, and here there is no fridge. No more fruits or veggies or eggs or cheese. But there are fish in the river and meat hanging in the screen box under the pear tree, and flour, salt, sugar, spices, rice and beans on shelves that seem so rich. We sure won’t starve and eating simply suits us fine. Truly, we are wanting for little more and feel grateful to have all we do. Which seems so much. Plenty. Without the sticky dripping sweet abundance we left behind in the States.
With cooling air and a stone floor in the studio, mornings are now out in the sun, papers spread across a rough cut table put together with scraps and findings by Bob and Alcides, allowing me to be there, warm, in the elements, of the land, with my dog by my side and the guys working nearby. There I overlook the Rio Trocoman, across river to the herd of goats passing on their morning rounds, up river to the Estancia Ranquilco, and beyond to the endless waft of wind and weather that comes from I know not yet where. Not a bad place to work.
Still, writing takes a slow turn like a wide spot in the river. Quiet, unhurried progression. Time to linger languidly. Try not to be frustrated but rather lie on your back in composed deep waters and stare up at the unruffled clouds. I remind myself it is progress, though seemingly sluggish at times. Rivers don’t stand still. Now just without the drama of white waters. Not the thrilling rush over rounded rocks louder than the wind when all of it takes your breath away.
Now is time to breathe.
So much to cover. Some days it overwhelms. Words, only words. Trying to create a world of words. Paint a picture with pen on ink, or fingers nimbly dancing across the keyboard on my lap. Swirling words like colors in the clouds in evening. Papers spread out, binders open, journals turning pages faster than I can write with wind from the open French doors beside me. Put one word in front of the next. And a story unfolds. The rose does not bloom any faster if we ask it to.
As adobe bricks are stacked. Though words are light, easier to move, far less arduous to put in place, and hopefully remain as solid as the old walls around me.
And so, this is how I spend my time off. Hauling adobe bricks from the stack that’s been there for years. Covered with cob webs. Brushing off the meat bees and the occasional giant spider moved in under the black plastic probably years ago. Bob says my face is smeared with dust. I look down at my flip flops. My toes are the color of the sand. My shirt is not much cleaner. A past time for me, a break from the world of words surrounding and absorbing me. A dirty but fun distraction.
For Bob, a point and purpose. A small chance to share his talents. And for Alcides, finally a bathroom after how many years?!?! A silent work crew. Neither speaks the language of the other. A silent understanding. Based on hand signals, gestures, pointing, an understanding of what needs to be done, and the resources they have to make it happen. Everything they need is here, already hauled in by mule or made right here on the land, like chainsaw milled lumber and the adobe bricks that have become my part of the program, carrying them from here to there in the little old square metal wheel barrow with the chipped orange paint.
Now I must return to writing. Writing long hand on days my battery is charging, a horseback ride for Bob across river away where there is an off grid system already in place. I’m thinking… next job for my sweetie… how about one here? Already the ink of five pens has been spent, turning off white pages into black lines and scribbles into tales. Now I sharpen my pencil with my pocket knife, tossing the small wooden curls laced with bright yellow paint the color of a school bus into the wind and becoming a part of the land. Land from where these stories were born.
Until the next time, my dear friends and family and those who are just passing by and curious enough to stick around and read… I send light and love from alongside the Rio Trocomon in Patagonia. My apologies for lack of responses and additional communication. I shall try to send off a post on the computer with Bob once a week or so when he rides to the power/plug in source for which we are most grateful. He in turn sends out messages already composed, including these posts which I am sending to Karen, who most kindly posts in my absence. (Many thanks to you, dear woman, friend, office manager and business operator extraordinaire.)
Take nothing for granted… Every person, every experience, every meal, every day… is a celebration. If we choose to make it so. Cheers, my friends. I’m celebrating life!