On a personal note.

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ice on cinquefoil

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Yes, it’s spring.  Exposed dirt. Not to say it’s thawed out.  Broken pipes aren’t easy to get to and digging a fresh outhouse pit through a frost line that goes down five feet…

Anyway, that’s what kept me busy and out of trouble when the sun was shining.  And now it’s not, and snow falls again.

And today, that which was exposed is covered again in white.

Right.  Spring. What should you expect here in the high wild mountains of Colorado?

Enjoy it while you can.  Before you know it, they’ll be a little less wild as the summer season unfolds and all the folks that come here to get away start to accumulate along with the miller moths, horse flies and hummingbirds pumped with sugarwater, and I am reminded that maybe the elements will always be easier for me to live with than people.

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aspen in spring snow

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Arbor day.  You plan on planting a few dozen trees because that is what you do.  Plant trees.

Going against nature, I am reminded, in this time of dead and dying, and we pick up a shovel anyway and dig a hole and carefully place in a new sapling.  You have to try.  How could you not if you love the land?  Look around and you’ll see the rein of the spruce tree has passed and the aspen have seen better days.  Let’s try Cottonwood, I say.  They say it’s too high and harsh up here, but it doesn’t take rocket science only a quick look around to get it.  Things have already changed. And I’ll bet you it aint over.

So go ahead. Give life. Give it a try.  Better than sitting around crying, complaining or pointing fingers.  There’s already enough of that.

So plant a tree.  Plant a dozen.  A few dozen while you’re out there.  Maybe they won’t make it.  Maybe a  few will.  But at least you’re out there trying.  I was thinking of this as I’m looking across river at a hillside of dead and dying.  Sure it will always be beautiful.  But there’s more to it than beauty.  I’m forever reminded of the shallowness of a pretty face when what I want is a deep connection.  With my trees, there is a problem.  Do I want to be so superficial and sit there with a stupid smile and say, “Well, gee… at least it’s still pretty.”  Turn my back and leave it at that. Or do I want to address the problem, look it in the eye and still love it?  Face the facts? Of course, that means finding out what the facts are first. Not always easy, but easier if we try.

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gunnar before snowy pole mountain

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A tease of open ground.  Slow to come, but spring of the land and soul inevitably arrive.

Now with the world white again, outside work is put on hold.  Inside I catch up on correspondence.

The lost art of letter writing.  If you write letters are you a writer? In this day and age when even talking on the telephone takes too much time and people just drop a text or twitter a line, I would say yes, indeed.  Some of those with whom I correspond clearly are writers (though perhaps unknown and unpublished), thus their correspondence is beautiful to read.  Those who shared and with whom I shared – you’ll know who you are, and I hope you know how you’ve inspired me. From the balance of my daily early morning ramblings with a friend a generation and a thousand miles but in both respects feel closer, as in right there, with me, sharing another cup of coffee… to people who I’ve never met and who have come to feel they know me through my writing and I have learned to know them through our letters … to my “extended” family in Argentina… sisters of sorts  for me – older and younger – one so grounded in her solid stance of silence and hard work and familiar dirt beneath her nails, to the other with a spirit in the air, a bit ethereal and ever stirring like the wind and just as suddenly she’ll breeze into your life and pick you up and take you on a magic carpet ride. So you hold onto your hat though really, you never even leave the sofa where you’re sitting to write.

And it is in this back and forth of revealing bits and pieces of our lives through words, giving, taking, sharing what we can and maybe a little more than we think we have but then we realize we have so much more – in this we find an unlimited pool of grace and gratitude and compassion within ourselves often left untapped. And through such correspondence do we learn to at the very least brush our hand to the surface and see the reflection is not just me but we. And if we are brave enough, we dive in.  (Or even slip in by mistake, but there we are, swimming in the silver pool and realizing the waters hold us up.)

Much of what I share with you is inspired by my conversations with them.  I share in turn here at best in hopes of inspiring you, and at the least, as reminders for myself…  For that’s what this blog means to me.  Two things, really. A way to reach out, share, open my world inside and outside and give of myself what I can – and a piece in progress, an inspiration for myself of work, word and image.  I hope this is okay.

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norman in snow

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On writing and the blues…

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Once your first book is out, suddenly you’re an expert.  Of course this is not true.  I’m just as confused and curious as I always was, and probably always will be.  I’ll never be that know-it-all and let-me-tell-you-how-it’s-done type of person.  Though there are times I wish I had a little of that in me and believed in myself a little more.

Some things never change?

Anyway, what I read out there from authors who have “succeeded” (this too, of course being a relative term as we all define success differently) is expert advice and opinions.  I won’t go there.  But I will share a little personal insight, because that’s my way, what I write about any way.  Only now too I can share with you a glimpse into the insight of one insecure author whose first book is doing pretty well and is still having a helluva time getting the next ones out.  (When does it get easier?  DOES it get easier?)

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cinquefoil over the river

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They told me this might happen.  Like post partum depression, they said, but without the hormones as an excuse (though we women, you know, can always blame it on the hormones…).

They warned me I might feel deflated, vulnerable and over exposed.

They warned me that when the first book comes out, you start to see who really cares. Readers can be more supportive than family and friends who often are too terribly busy, and busier when you ask. And how beautiful when those dearest to you can prove to be so caring, like my husband who never was a reader before but manages to read most every word I put out there now.  Then there are those that suddenly don’t know you anymore, and certainly don’t have time any more. Funny how many just don’t have time. Just the reminder I need when I’m tired and think taking a day off would be the thing, then remember those who are waiting on my response and that matters more to me. And somehow giving more, being the person I want to be, treating others how I wish to be treated, ends up being the best treatment I’ve found for the blues.

They warned me that all those folks that only call you when they need something, and if they don’t need something, well, you’ll hear nothing at all – you won’t hear from them for a while.  It might be a little lonely, but as a writer, you need the alone time.

They warned me that things do change.  Oh I know, I said, things always change.  I just didn’t realize it would be this much.

The good news is that most people are primarily supportive of each others’ strengths (and weaknesses when need be), celebrate one anothers victories and pick each other up when we’ve failed.

We will all do both, won’t we?

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willow branches

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In the works… about books.

The summer book tour for The Color of the Wild will begin with a special event at Denver’s Tattered Cover historic LoDo location on June 12, 2014 at 7 pm as part of the Rocky Mountain Land Series.

Hoping to have book two close to ready for you to read by then, book three in the grind of editing, and that novel roaring to life.

In the meanwhile, I need to continue my marking efforts and asking you for help.  Okay, here it goes.  Please read it, buy it, share it, spread the word and talk about it:  The Color of the Wild.

For those who received review copies, another friendly reminder that review copies are shared for reviews.  If you haven’t shared a review yet, it’s never too late.  GoodReads is good, social media is great, Amazon is super helpful.  Write me and ask if you have questions on how.  I’m happy to help.

Oh, and on the 2nd and 3rd of May, there will be an author interview of yours truly posted on Indie House Books.

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Now, time to get back to what I do best.  Better than marketing. Writing.  Have a good week, all.

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spring creek in snow

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11 thoughts on “On a personal note.

  1. Gin,

    Enjoyed this post greatly. I saw that you might have some new snow from the Creede website. Looks nice. I am 2/3’s approx. (August), through your first book, and love it. The way you have incorporated the story of you, your family, your experinces, your feelings, and the seasons, into months of the year, is genius, and enjoyable for me. I express myself through the visuals of horticulture, and you through the written word. Life is interesting that way! We have just finished Dallas Blooms, and have displayed two 13 feet tall topiary peacocks with full tails. Quite fun to make and show.

    When is your book signing in the DFW area?

    Your friend, Big Al

    • You are right, Al, so very interesting, and I love that we can have, share and enjoy such variation in our creative expression.

      Hoping this year’s Dallas Blooms was a wonderful success. I look forward to seeing photos, always, of your work, and one day will get the chance in person, I am certain.

      That said, I will not be able to make it to the DFW area this summer – must stick to events closer to home – we’ll need to get some work done building our new home. Late fall might be a great time to hit the road for a little break.

      • Gin, know that you are always welcome here! I may even put you to work at the Dallas Arboretum for a few hours. I am sure that you will be here some day too. I know you also have several friends in the area. Perhaps a reunion at the Arboretum. Have a great spring there, and hope to see you all in the last half of August. Al

        • Hoping to see in you August, Al. We’ll be down by the river, building our dream home. (Even a little greenhouse…) I hope you realize how much I would adore volunteering at the Dallas Arboretum. What beauty and healing in the colors, fragrance, warm earth…

  2. Ah, the last photograph really got me! I can smell the snow from here. I wanted to let you know I finally was alone, no small boys to tear apart the bookstore, and asked my local store, Vrooman’s to carry your book. They didn’t need any extra paperwork, said it was in their system and will be on the shelf in two weeks! Exciting.
    Your posts always initiate so much desire for dialogue with you :) This post in particular. I just love your new profile photograph, seeing you in a bright brilliant laughing moment is heart warming. Maybe the world around you knows you are not quiet ready to let go of the solitude. So the snow still comes, covering the wounds and dark places, offering a simple beauty to take in and embrace for a little longer. Offering you an extra moment to catch your breath before the frenzy of change transpires. Enjoy.

    • Wondering how you managed a few minutes without the boys! Bet you felt a little naked, too..

      Funny to see me smile so sincerely when I’m usually far too serious. A reminder to myself to lighten up.

      As for the snow: Well said and with touching insight… thank you, Carrie. Thank you too for the introduction to Shane and sharing The Color of the Wild with him!

      • Ha, yes a bit naked for sure. My husband was home this weekend, boy time (no girls invited) is so necessary in our house. I love those moments.

        I have to remind myself the same thing! I love that you posted it front and center on your blog, for all to see. It is a great photograph.

        Shane is really such a nice guy. I started following his blog when he commented above me on a weekly photo challenge a couple months ago, a chance meeting that I am very happy about. I have found a beautiful group of kind, talented photographers through him. His street photography is as thoughtful and stunning as your nature photographs are. Each done with grace and humility.

  3. Well, once again you’ve inspired me! Last year I “salvaged” a tiny cedar tree sapling from a flower bed and it has been growing nicely in a pot ever since. I have found a spot for it and will plant it today! (Since our ground is definitely not frozen and covered in snow :-)

    “Insecurity”…sigh…I feel your pain. I, too, am one of those insecure persons, though most people would never believe it because I can put on a good “confident face” most times when I’m out in public. Maybe that’s why I long for seclusion and a life with mostly animals, who have a knack (or shall I even say, “gift” for giving our self esteem a lift (that’s a whole other subject in itself!) This morning I was reading how we can overcome these “feelings” even though it isn’t easy. The author (Joyce Meyer) says, “No matter how we feel, we can still choose to do the right thing. Going against your feelings is not always easy because feelings are frequently strong, but standing against them until you enjoy freedom is much better than continuing to let them run your life and hold you in bondage.” I needed to hear that this morning and although it is hard, especially for me at the moment, I will try to move forward and conquer this insecurity even if it takes little baby steps…which with me, that’s usually how it comes!

    Photography…I’m sure this will come as no surprise that I love the photo of Norman. I was at an art show this weekend and of course saw quite a few pieces on horses, a lot of them photographs and honestly I thought of your photography and how much you have grown as an artist and how I felt your photography is just as good (if not better) as what I was standing there admiring. Is it because I know the horses and scenes that you shoot?, maybe so but I really don’t think so. I could totally see you set up in one of those booths with your beautiful photographs…of course then there’s the draining aspect of being social for hours on end but I know you could do it! Doesn’t Creede have an art show?? :-) I could help you with it!…I’m reading this before posting and just got a little laugh thinking about you and me and our two sometimes insecure personalities out their conquering the world! We can do it!

    • Dang it. I wrote a long response and hit cancel instead of reply. Oh dang it. I think it’s one of those times… get away from the computer and get outside. I’ll try again later Karen, because you matter so much.

    • Here I go, starting over. I’m writing on a word document first just in case. I should have done that before. Beware, fellow bloggers, of the easy-to-delete one’s own word feature!

      I’m afraid my response won’t be near as nice as I thought my one this morning was. It was written with passion, compassion and enthusiasm. Now I’m cold and wet and tired as we’re out there working in the snow and I swear it’s colder today than it was in January. But in January, the sun was shining and my jeans stayed clean.

      I’m reading over your comment and all the wonderful things I thought to share aren’t coming to me now. Something about when you write it down, you release it. Now I can’t retrieve it.

      I know, for example, a certain singer. An introvert on stage. I am very, very impressed.

      Insecurity can be a self imposed bondage, indeed. By being an introvert can be a quiet comfort, presence, and powerful self.

      We must be true to ourselves. If it is a negative (as being insecure, say, sure can be), it is worth trying to change. Working on it. But being an introvert – I am grateful for the quite, creative, animal lover sort and don’t want everyone I know to be loud and boisterous. It is the combination of all of us sorts that makes this world so interesting, and people so unique.

      I know there was much more, I am so sorry, and feel so stupid for hitting the wrong button when I wanted so much to say the right thing, only to find I said nothing at all. I’ll try again another day. We’ll have lots of opportunities ahead to start new conversations!

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