Friday, November 11, 2016

The New Book: Graduating From College Me

When I was 33 I set a goal to write five books by the time I was forty—for a while it was a nice thing to say at a party or on a date, but then, damn, I had to do the writing.

So, I’ve been writing, ferociously. Fortunately the writing gods have blessed my work with productivity—writing is kinda like climbing mountains, you can blah-blah-blah about it all you want, but the proof is in the doing. But I’ve sat down every morning I’m at my home office and written. Nothing crazy, just solid consistent effort.

“Another book?” is the response I’ve been getting a lot when I’ve been telling people about Graduating From College Me, A Dirtbag Climber Grows Up. I get it, I just came out with my memoir, American Climber less than six months ago, and I don’t exactly have the reputation as an excessively productive writer. But, you gotta make hay when the sun is shining, and lately, well, the sun has been shining.

About the book—it is a collection of short stories, vignettes, and poetry—and to me it is the rawest writing I’ve ever done. The premise of the book is to write about life lessons I’ve learned since I graduated college a decade ago. The book has more poetry than I’ve ever published in a book, as well as a heavy focus on the American southwest desert that has captivated my soul so much since moving to Durango six years ago.

As with anything raw in nature some of the writing in this book is embarrassing to me. There are chapters about love I’ll never read aloud to an audience. When I skim over them they surprise me by how honest I was, which is exactly what my job is to the author—to deliver honest writing. So, instead of hiding them away somewhere, I decided to go on and publish them, with hopes they might help someone else relate to my own struggles.

In addition to writing about love, I’ve realized how much I love climbing. These words, from the final series of vignettes in the book about Indian Creek sum up where I’m at with my climbing these days, trying to keep it personal, to break through my own ceilings, and in the end, realizing when climbing is done for the love of it, it is the best.

Climbing is this yin and yang thing. Knowing when to fight and when to back off can be the difference between life and death, success and failure. And, never forget that the best climbing moments kinda feel like floating anyways, a profound act of trying without trying. Just doing. Like love. Becoming one with something else.

Graduating From College Me, A Dirtbag Climber Grows Up.

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