Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eyes on the Prize, Trying to keep the focus into spring

The Highway is for gamblers
Better use your sense
Take what you have gathered from coincidence


I am a man of seasons, my behavior is defined by the outside conditions, and I can smell, feel and taste spring in the air. Clothes come off, and an awakening stirs within.

This winter I felt incredibly focused. I went into my own form of hibernation, writing thousands and thousands of words, starting a new book, writing articles, essays, blogs, working on The Climbing Zine, and also working a lot at the restaurant where I am employed. Delightfully I climbed almost all winter, and except for two cold and stormy weeks I got adequate doses of Vitamin D, climbing in the Southwestern Colorado sunshine that I worship. Some pray to the son of God, some pray to the sun.

Though I am seen as an oddball in a region where many people are obsessed with skiing (I haven’t been on a pair of skis in three years) in many ways winter is a treasured time of year. The older I get, the more focused I become, and I’ve realized writing is my life’s work. I am no longer trying to become a writer, I am a writer, I just need to channel my gift and be patient with it.

Now that spring is here I get a little more antsy. The mind drifts towards simple sinning a little quicker. My routine of early to bed, early to rise will be interrupted more and more. When I was a child I was full of angst, and something about warm weather, more sunshine, women wearing less clothes; well, a storm brews up when all these appear.

Last summer I embraced the angst, the openness, every woman that came my way, but this season I hope to be more disciplined. Routine can be boring, dreadful, but routines can create health, which is wealth. Health is the altar I will pray to this spring and summer while embracing the ecstasy of the warmth.

Life is about to be action packed. I’m about to print my first book, Climbing Out of Bed, and go on a couple book tours this spring and fall. I have four weddings to attend in the next five months. The next Climbing Zine is coming out in April. When there are new things to do it sparks my cells and I feel alive. A writer must live an interesting life or else there is nothing to write about.

On that note, I’ll leave you with some words from a draft of a piece I working on for the next Climbing Zine. It’s called Hip-Hop and Climbing, and it covers the terrain where the two intersect. I hope the spring is awakening something beautiful within you.

(an excerpt from Hip-Hop and Climbing)

The fringe is where the magic happens.

Four climbers pack into The Freedom Mobile, a graffiti-ed vehicle, spray painted red, white and blue. The sun is shining so brilliantly, its impossible not to be intoxicated by the Vitamin D it provides, even before climbing.

The commute to the crag is filled with excitement, and hip-hop, the music of our generation. We are in Indian Creek, Utah, the red rock desert, our home away from home, or home to those that choose to not call civilization home. Red rock walls all around are where we spend our days. The energy of hip-hop is where its at. The lyrics are secondary, sometimes, it all depends on the mood, sometimes the lyrics are the most important thing. When we’re driving to the crag its all about the mood, the energy, hip-hop awakes us from the slumber, pumps us up, till people are so damn amped it must be time to climb.

This scenario unfolded for years, over and over again before I thought of the connection. Hip-hop has been a part of nearly climbing experience I’ve ever had. We listen to it on the drive to climbing, the words get stuck in our head, and nowadays with iPhones and iPods, music anywhere, anytime that fits in our pockets, we even listen to the music while climbing. I’ve been driving around a graffiti-ed car to climbing areas for years, and graffiti is the art that was born with hip-hop in New York City in the 1970s. And, the best of the big climbing parties in our crew of friends always end up in dance offs. Hip-hop is the soundtrack for my climbing experience, but does the connection just end there? Do hip-hop and climbing have a deeper connection that what is at the surface? Of course they do, but you’ll have to go to the fringe of your mind to believe...

My homey, Cheo, doing his thing!

Read the full article when The Climbing Zine Volume 5, The Dirtbag Issue drops as an e-zine on April 20th. A print version will follow the electronic version in June. 

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