An Apology to Writing

I owe writing an apology. I had started to not like writing, even condemned it, over the past half year. I dragged myself or completely skipped creative writing classes. I immersed myself in experiences to forget the feeling that, while sitting in the back seat writing and detached from the world, one, too, can find beauty. I condemned writing because it was wish fulfillment. I could not write.

For that moment in my life, I hated writing and although I had no desire for it, I did feel a little odd. I could not pinpoint why I wanted to write then, and I told myself it was because of wish fulfillment, but the explanation was unsatisfactory. Now I applaud writing because it records the most true of human experiences and allows us to relive them. It is memory, but all the more florid and vivid and most of all, shareable. With writing you can not only live your life, but allow others a scarce glimpse into what once a private experience. No one’s life is the same, and there is no bette measuring stick than a story. Oral or written, the record of human experience is essential to human understanding. It may be that you write to role play a desire, but it is not because you lack the life to live it. It is that writing will in every way be a skeleton ready to be fleshed out by its reader, and this is magic. In wish fulfillment writing you may think that you are just writing to experience vicariously, but, it is this skeleton building that allows you to later on refine and pose that skeleton of lived experiences you want others to see. The art of whittling life experience into a frame, contradictorily, requires hefty embellishment on the writer’s part. You must be creative, and creative means you let loose the gates as often as possible, as passionately as possible. When you let thoughts pass into your mind and explore them to their ends, it is good. Life is good. You reveal to yourself and to the world the many facets of you and your understanding which may hitherto be undiscovered.

You can’t write only knowing writing…and nothing of yourself or the world. Like many writers I wrote to fulfill my wishes: but it made me blind about the fact that I could also tell the truth. I envisioned writing equal to pursuing threads of exciting but ultimately un-scaffolded stories and biographical fiction as boring. But what if I were to combine the two?  My taste, I envisioned, would be a gentle hybrid of the two: a humble, truthful but exciting fiction with lots of room for imagination.And when the scaffolding comes from real life, and the zest of the story also comes from real life, readers will intimately know that this story is real, and the story is also less likely to implode from a lack of substance. Creativity doesn’t have to be the making up of stuff from nothing, but the painting of a magical golden sheen to the everyday rust of life.

Throwback: Birthday Runs

It should be a tradition-nay, mandatory-to be going on a birthday ski trip. Taking a look back at some of the birthday runs I’ve had it’s clear that birthday runs are awesome. Why? Because what can be better than a birthday but a birthday snowboarding?

I’m also the kind of person who keeps journals!

2013 journal 

March 7

My birthday!!! Had the most people say happy birthday to me in real life ever in a day I bet. 

The first stroke of good luck came when I held my ID under the window, not a doubt in my voice as I asked god to provide me with a miracle-a  free lift ticket. Sure enough, I got it. I had to write my name down though (hopefully no repercussions!) [Afraid somehow parents would find out I was skipping and especially, that I was snowboarding; I also didn’t have the money to buy a ticket myself if it weren’t for free]. Also it was the one thing that day that I dared to hope for! And guess what-it followed out. If you don’t doubt, it will follow out. Don’t doubt.

Oh-and that wasn’t the only stroke of good luck. My high school mates were on the same bus. Back of busses. High school ski trips. Always has been and always will be. These things never change. They never change because there is something fundamentally core in each our our beings and memories-they’re just an extension of us.  [High school is where I had a few lessons snowboarding. They were definitely a highlight of highschool.]

Beautiful views of Cypress-still didn’t stir me but should’ve. [I’m pretty darn scared about being caught by parents and not able to enjoy the scene] Snowy tree lined roads. Not cold enough, long enough, no one to share with. Surprised to maybe see [acquaintance] when I got on the bus–said hi to me when we were leaving, so he recognized me maybe too. Yay. It snowed on the mountain, too. Bountiful, substantial flakes. White gold. 

Accidentally got myself down a slope around the lift poles. Real awkward. Too scared to actually turn.

Had trouble turning but tried plenty to jump, which was impossible last time. Weird! can never be proficient at both. Must approach, cutting speed but not too erratically, and not think too hard, and just do, straight, in the final stretch. Then ride it as if it’s flat. Then enjoy the rush after. [WTF? I clearly could not snowboard]

One bump in the beginning of panorama so took that up to eight times. [Could I actually hold my snowboard forward, even by accident? Wow.] Also a section of two mini bumps on that run too. Took that as well. Un run was the true kicker. It was ALL bumps. I saved that for last, seeing that its first initial bump was already out of comfort zone. [Since Unrun has not even open this year, I can’t tell you how well I’d do on it now. But it’s one scary run every time I’ve been on it, a double track wide roller coaster for your board] But I couldn’t just not go. Going it and doing it would certainly make my day perfect. First run-dead. Can’t remember if I went three or two times-three I think? Anyways after first I was disgusted and so tired. I had to pull myself up so many flats. [It was was basically a pump track for a skis, but ridden on a snowboard, so I the flatter sections I would have to unstrap. The bumps were actually easier because instinct told me when to crouch and when not to. I didn’t know how to turn on the narrow track and luckily I didn’t need to that much because speed usually took me into the turns before I could be scared.] It was certainly made for skiiers; luckily it was so deserted, or else so many people would’ve been pissed at me plus I would’ve been even more embarrassed than I was. I mean, it was too hard. I think. I certainly ditched. It was either a) ditch and fall for sure or b) stick to it, get air, and maybe not fall but suffer extreme fear and maybe fall even harder. [This shows I can’t snowboard. I don’t know how to fall. I fear falling, because I don’t know how to land gently.] I kept backing out on the latter runs. I learned fear. The first time I just went with it and sort of trusted the trail more to keep me safe. It did. I actually fell more the other times, and harder , because I backed out last min. But looking back the third time left me stronger not weaker. I ENJOYED the turns. I still can’t remember the run-shame, because that would give me more confidence (although there are NO speed cutters in the trail, so to suffer one entire long fast roller coaster ride with lots of air when I’m only a beginner? NO!?! But it was such an adventure. For once I didn’t feel so alone or tired. I was adventuring. Sure I should’ve loved going down the other blue runs, but they were harder than last time-again I seemed to have given up natural turning for air this trip. I wish I had both! [Seriously, I sound like an idiot, how come I can’t hold my board straight AND turn? Clearly I arrived at either by accident and the two opposing motions had not yet been combined in my mind. I go on to learn to turn next season for far too many hours.]

It’s actually impossible not to get air on a snowboard. It goes off every single bump!!

Next year’s goals: job so I can buy a once a night ski pass/bus pass/wax. Stay friends with [new university friends]. Stay friends with old friends. 

2014

March 9

It was a year of unremarkable snow and also, apparently, writing. The entry just says,

I WENT ON THE BOX [in the terrain park] ON MY LAST RUN I’M NOT A TOTAL LOSER!!!!!! :DDDDDDDDD

Conclusion: Crap snow since it didn’t even warrant a description. No points awarded for fear of flat surfaces.

March 7, 2015?

Prediction: It’s turning into the year of surprises that trumps all other years of surprises.

The local mountains are closed, although snow making opportunities are present.

When the harder runs aren’t open, the personal growth that happens comes with conquering them has to come elsewhere. While it’s hard-impossible-to match the amount of speed, vertical, and uneven terrain snowboarding gives you, even at a beginner level, you need to harness that positive energy and move it elsewhere. Where? We’ll find out on March 7.

Snippet: What is you?

(edited)

False Alarms

…What is you?

You, the person you sit with when you are by yourself without distraction, forced to reflect upon your life. You, the lifelong daydreamer indulging in overly extended periods of disappearance, a sacrifice paid in one’s own life in order to widen one’s reach to its widest extent. You, always trawling, half grillwork, while you sit at the bottom of your cave awaiting the perfect moment to ambush. Time was not spent developing you. Periods where the mind was not hopelessly tangled in the pursuit of the most syrupy of plots was time wasted. You could not develop unless your mind was in overdrive.

What are you?

…I have an answer for that question. But I’m not sure if you’re yet ready for it.

***

Sometimes she would sit there and admit that she knew something was wrong. That the way her glance slid from her hand as it jounced in the ear shaped space of the mug handle bothered her. But never for very long. If she just raised her hand her carefully assembled thoughts could puffed away.

Stop thinking…

“Stop thinking of all the reasons why it won’t work and choose to focus on the one reason why it will-the one where you have visualized it so many times you already feel as you’ve accomplished it already. Without that, you can’t succeed.”

What if everybody…

What if everybody was an artist, but it was just that not everybody understood their ways of expressing their art?

What if everybody thought as deeply as an introvert, were as precise as mathematicians, as intrigued by nature as scientists, as capable of expressing themselves as extroverts?

What if we are all really the same, expressed in different ways in different eras of our lives? What could we learn from other people who express the same passion you have in a different format? How many more people would we have more than a preliminary understanding of? Instead of calling ourselves one things or another, could we not feel strange to flexibly be many things at once, and also recognize that other people are many things as once? Every single person. Instead of finding one facet to relate too, I challenge that you be unable to find one facet that doesn’t in some way reflect one of those fundamental building blocks that make up human curiosity and expression.

Snow Journal #3

Sometimes, ideally all the time, I come home after snowboarding and relax by writing it all down. I don’t really pay attention to which parts were boring and which parts were exciting; I just want to capture the minutiae that made the day the day that it was. For me, this is also a good way to figure out how to tell the story before I blab about it out loud to other people in a way that makes no sense.

You should know that this season is severely lacking snow, not as bad as California, but pretty bad. It’s mostly just myself my musing and I out there and whomever I’m carpooling and thus spending the day with. It’s a good way to meet awesome, like minded people. At the same time, the people who like the mountains are a diverse crowd.

If I leave feeling calm or excited though, it was a good day. And I’ve never regretted a day on the mountain!

______________

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 6.48.29 PM

Three people arrived one day, only to find The Shittiest Slope In Existence ®. Who had the shorter end of the stick? The

Shittiest Slope In Existence ® had made the miraculous journey out of 100 mm of rain, only to serve monstrously grumpy skiiers and riders. The skiier and riders had only gotten into their mud splattered on their cars and cursed every bump in the road that was now filled with puddles. When they got there they found out that the brown on the slopes was not from their tinted lenses. One demand not being enough, the people also demanded that The Shittiest Slope In Existence ® also exist in a microclimate.

This story sucks, so it has to end here.

——–

There was a moment on The Shittiest Slope In Existence ® last Wednesday where a cold and cutting wind drove the relentless but harmless rain into our faces. That was probably 2pm, and, after one of our group members had left, there was little reason to pretend the reward for sublime devotion was anything but. There was undoubtedly unused adrenaline running through our veins; our minds were ready even though the slope was not. Our bodies response was to make a crisis when there wasn’t one.

Even though it was the polar opposite of a sun breaking free from a jail of cloud, the sudden onslaught of cold woke us up and fulfilled our thirst. This is why we liked to snowboard. More often than not, we hope for an adrenaline rush fuelled adventure, but when there isn’t one, we are capable of creating one, too. It may just be a brush of wind, but it’s that cold and wet that we cling to, that sense of adventure. It was also the reason why I started to doubt alpine snowboarding; I was creating so much adrenaline out of what was probably very little it was getting tiring. All this energy had nowhere to go. In comparison, I was fairly guaranteed that I would run out of energy before I finished my journey in the beginner backcountry. Sometimes not: things happen at a slow measured pace there, and there’s no quick release of energy for practicing tricks, being fancy, being fresh. On a hard trip, there’s no room to waste energy that couldn’t otherwise be saved for the future. So while the harder trip may use up all your energy, there’s still that unfulfilled yearning to just spend an entire day goofing around + learn a new move. The trouble is when the weather doesn’t match your level of adrenaline and you go home and lie around unable to sleep, tortured by wakefulness.

Time to get a new hobby!

No Trips Makes…What?

IMAG5223despite not camping for a month now, i am weirdly not the person i was before. it only took some camping trips over winter break, but i shall never underestimate the power of one single experience in altering the course of your mindset. even life.

Hesitantly, I’m easing back into reading and writing.

Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of reading or writing (anything other than non fiction that is). I could definitely continue recording things in creative non fiction, but the creation of fictional stories? I started to write a post about how creative writing was absolutely uninteresting to me anymore but deleted it, because, writing it in itself was a form of creative writing. Eager to live first, live fullest as long as possible, before writing. Writing felt like stagnation. Writing felt like living second hand. >sorry pen and paper…

>What did you value

i valued recording experiences. i valued doing cool things. i valued doing oft talked about things. i valued not being more knowledgable but reckless. these are all proven wrong and i am happy. it’s good i thought the wrong things: it led to others things. things like how i have never done any stereotypical camping things (campfire, campfire songs, flipflops, etc) they’re not cool because the activities are rated cool by other people, but because they make you rely on yourself and on others, and confidence is a good feeling. i no longer mind recording experiences so much. i want to go back. i take pictures for others to see, but more often then not i take too little, in hopes of getting them to come with me. just enough to convince. just enough to make them want a little harder.

>How are you different

I felt alienated by the way there were so many couples camping. I didn’t want to witness their ever present love, nor did I understand it. Back at home, I can see it now, the endless affection from slathering love the way humans were meant to, after the long stretches of hiking, where affection is repressed. this forms me, the way i first didn’t understand when I saw it, supposedly inherited by birth, the dichotomy of tough/caring. it’s not a matter of form becoming function, it IS the function. i like that I am a hardass, not a badass, but i like the hardass, because it’s no fun after a while and inevitably you get quite affectionate–>it’s like sleep, if you miss it, it catches up to you, but ever stronger. It stacks. not badass or machine–>saccharine but natural, useful cycle of hardass/passive–>active/loving. I think I might understand that love now.

i no longer really get why people own things. things are transient. things break. gear should not break, but all those little trinkets that i loved don’t really make sense. they are extra weight, very pretty, but won’t I lose all of them? I won’t be so sad when I lose them now. except a few things, everyone needs that photo of their family with them or souvenir that their friend gave them.

>sometimes I’m afraid I’m a harder hardass than i think and i don’t really like reading or writing or art…but those things are why i like being a hardass…however, being a hardass and being affectionate are not mutually exclusive, that’s the main thing of what i learned, so i could live forever as a hardass, if that’s what i’m meant to be…if i am meant to be anything but a pushover daughter with no specific talents

>backcountry mindset. alpine attitude. two different things, pulls me apart. the writer side of me loves alpine: the precision, the controlled environment for creativity. the other side of me loves non fiction, lack of certainty and control,

i expect to find love outdoors. i expect to find forgiveness outdoors. and wisdom. so i read in an outdoors magazine that sadly simply relying on yourself and others outside does not make you a better human being-you can still go outside for all the wrong reasons, especially bravado or anger or sadness-and you would be no better off sitting at home. in that news story, the guy led to people being killed because he was too proud to tell them there was avalanche danger. he admitted that the event changed his life, made me reevaluate WHY he goes outdoors. well, because he thinks he’s invincible from life’s struggles. that he can deal with anything, especially emotional things, better if he can ski 100 miles or climb 1000m.