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"? 
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