Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Taking Risks in Life and Writing

Some might call it fate when a place resonates and a voice whispers I belong here. Some might call it alchemy. Instantly, mysteriously, illogically, you fall head over heels in love.

I am going back to Arizona...if only for a week. 

The visit is not totally timed to the Tucson Festival of Books, although I look forward to meeting and connecting with authors at the University of Arizona.  I've needed to go back to Tucson to explore feelings.  I saw no reason putting it off.  After all, I'm not getting any younger.  None of us is.

It's been four years since I saw a rainbow arch over the Santa Catalina Mountains, drove through Starr Pass with its panoramic views that were backdrops for John Wayne's Westerns, basked in sunsets painted by the hands of heaven.

It was in Tucson I began Again in a Heartbeat, a memoir of love, loss and dating again.  Writing that book changed my life.

I  wanted to live out West as long as I could remember. (May sound like a cliche a la Georgia O'Keeffe or D.H. Lawrence.)  I wanted sunshine, the high skies, the romance, the possibility, if not, impracticality of a new start. A clean slate away from memories of a time and place that could no longer be.

Believe me, I was not looking for my life to be an episode of Californication, even though the main character in that show is a writer.

Raising children, working a job, always got in the way of these fantasies to try something totally out of my comfort zone. Once my sons were grown, no more excuses were left not to move, to give it a try.  Instead, only a need to overcome lassitude remained.
Moving to Tucson that year of 2008-2009 I took a risk to do what all the self-help books, the movies, the "bucket list" testimonials tell us.  Live your dream before it's too late.  Life is fleeting.

My advice. They're right. Do it. Do what your heart desires. This applies to writing, too.  Take a risk. Plunge into the unknown, explore your feelings with words.  Construct your voice as a writer.

Once I got to Tucson, the days proved an adventure.  While I worked during the week as a volunteer coordinator, the weekends were mine. I hopped in my car, drove through the Sonoran Desert, and then south to Tubac...or east to Tombstone and the high country. 

I drove the winding, impossibly high ascent to Mount Lemmon where clouds seemed hung on trees. And I met people through what has always been my passion - writing.  No matter where you go, you find writers...kindred spirits. I wrote about this  in Morning at Wellington Square.

As a writer, I will keep exploring these feelings of synergy, synchronicity, and spirituality that come with a certain place.
Sometimes, dreams fade when we try to recapture what once was.  I wonder...will the dry desert grasses glowing in the sunlight still embrace me, as surely as a lover? 
What about you?  What place or "place in time" do you remember feeling truly "at home"? 


Unknown said...

Susan - You capture so well the mythic "human quest" and how our pull to a place embraces that journey! For women, this pursuit of dreams takes a back seat - to career, relationship, kids, etc. - until (if we're lucky) some magnetic quality of a particular place draws us in. For me, it was my ancestral lands of Ireland and Scotland. On my frist trip to Ireland, I boarded a plane for my return trip to the US only to find myself a sobbing mess and wondering where "home" really was!

Susan G. Weidener said...

Ginger, I've never been to either Ireland or Scotland, but have always wanted to go. Must put it on my bucket list! It's true what you say that certain places have a "magnetic quality" . . . no explaining it, it just is. And that the ability to get up and go is often elusive as life's responsibilities hold us back. For women this is particularly true, as we put our desires and dreams on the backburner for family. I know I did . . . and still do!

kathleen pooler said...

Oh Susan, this post resonates with me. I nearly lost my soul but ended up finding my heart in a little town in north central Missouri and as we know home is where the heart is. Memoir #1 will start and end in Missouri. Also, a small mountain village , Dujenta, my maternal grandfather's birthplace is calling me. My husband , Wayne and are planning a trip to Italy in the Fall. May your upcoming Tucson trip be a heartwarming homecoming for you. Blessings, Kathy

Susan G. Weidener said...

Kathy, Your memoir set in Missouri - I look forward to reading that.

Home - where we feel peaceful and our soul is screaming a resounding 'yes!' - is where the heart resides. I felt that in Tucson. You and Wayne will love Italy . . .as you explore your roots!

Unknown said...

Susan, I found your blog on a late night reach into the e-world. I was looking for solace. I wanted to tell my story. I needed only a slight nod, or even a tiny twitch of brow. On your site, I felt a warm hand extend. I am interested. I want to see more, learn more. My sister and I always go to the Fest in Tucson. We take our young daughters to help them learn to love books. Maybe we will meet you there. Safe travels to you. Angie

Susan G. Weidener said...

Hi Angie, Thank you for reaching out. It is so much easier to write memoir when we have a group to share our words with and to validate our feelings. We realize we are not alone in this journey of writing what we must write. If you want to share a coffee at the Festival, please let me know. Best of luck to you - Susan

Jan Backes said...

Hi Susan and thank you for this entry. When I began the work on the prompt it dawned on me that the feeling of home equates a feeling of safe and I remember feeling truly "at home" as a seventeen year old at Friend's Hospital in Philly. I have other times and places that evoke feelings of safety and comfort, but "home" transpired for me in a psychiatric facility. Interesting write. Thank you, again, Susan.

Susan G. Weidener said...

Jan, Interesting write, indeed! I am so glad that this post opened up a new avenue of memory and experience for your to write about. Keep up your brave and honest writing journey! It sets a wonderful example for others.