Getting Stoked; or Becoming Inspired

For quite some time now I have been interested in writing about the outdoors.  Since they are a constant and important part of my life it only seems appropriate that I dedicate some sort of intellectual and/or creative energy towards expressing my thoughts and feelings about the mountains.  As anyone who knows me could tell you, I foster a longstanding and powerful love for the mountains, and writing on this topic has always seemed like a good idea.  And yet I have never actually done it.

In spite of my desire to put some of my thoughts down in writing, I have consistently made excuses for not actually doing so.  During my undergrad, the excuse was always that I was too busy: family, school, work; when I actually had free time I felt it should be spent in the pursuit of something other than sitting down at a computer or with a pad and pen.  Fast forward to grad school and I found myself even busier.  School took up more time; I was teaching and taking classes, working part time, not to mention raising a child.  Over the summer, I told myself, I would write about the mountains, but come summer I was far more interested in doing things outside than writing.  Jump ahead again and here I am, grad school abandoned on account of lack of inspiration.  With my evenings free, I was sure to put forth an epic onslaught of articulate, well thought out prose on mountains and life (which are more or less the same thing).

And yet I wrote nothing.  Instead, I made more excuses.  While my reasoning during my time at school to avoid writing for myself more or less held water, this new breed of post university excuses was feeble at best.  I simply did not need to clean the kitchen again; I had already done it twice that day.  Watching another episode of some asinine television series on Netflix can hardly be called necessary.  No, now it was clear that I was avoiding the task of sitting down to write for only one real reason: I was afraid.  Or maybe nervous.  Either way, I had come face to face with the fact that my avoidance of putting forth any sort of written product was based almost entirely in the fact that it seemed like a scary thing to do; I was hesitant to let my thoughts be seen by anyone other than a few intimate confidants.

So what happened?  Why are you currently reading this when everything above would indicate that these thoughts should still be securely fastened down by insecurities and not allowed out of my own mind?  Basically, two separate and largely unrelated events took place.  First, I went on a climbing trip to Thailand.  During that trip, and for the first time in my adult life, I kept a journal with the idea that being somewhere so far away and doing something so fun would be worth remembering and I would be cheating myself if I trusted all that I experienced there to memory alone.  So I wrote.  I wrote every day, sometimes multiple times a day.  I wrote about climbing, about traveling, about what I saw, about what I was thinking.  It felt great.  Perhaps I was finally inspired enough to continue writing when I got home, maybe even produce something I was willing to share.

The second event occurred about two weeks after I left hot, humid Thailand and was settled back into cold, windy Wyoming.  I had let the intervening weeks go by without so much as taking five minutes to write for myself.  Then I watched this video, and a couple days later read this blog post and it became clear.  It was time to act.  For far too long I had been thinking, wishing, “planning” – but in reality just stagnating.  Putting off something I wanted to do because I was too scared to do it.  Evidently I have finally decided to put a stop to that inhibitive thinking, zip up my goddamn man-suit, and take the steps I needed to take.

I was still worried about getting started.  I didn’t know what to do or how I wanted to do it.  But I suppose I don’t have to worry about that anymore, because I’ve already started.  Here we go.