The highlight of this past weekend was a camping trip on the banks of Oregon’s beautiful Metolius River. It could very well have been the last campout of autumn. It was fantastic — tamaracks and vine maples full-on yellow and red, the afternoon light at my favorite slant, roaring campfires, frosty mornings, and a daily writing session — but the snow line is working its way lower in the Cascades, and skis are calling from the basement corner; time to shift gears.
Part of the seasonal shifting of gears is not about outdoor adventure, though. Cooler temps and cloudy skies turn me inward, and I see a nice stretch of uninterrupted writing sessions ahead. Sure, I’ll still go for trail runs, and spend time with family and friends — a balanced life works for me, not against me — but “normal” will be weighted heavily toward my YA novel. As poet Sharon Olds said: “All that wanting to seem normal in regular life, all that fitting in falls away in the face of one’s own strange self on the page. Writing or making anything — a poem, a bird feeder, a chocolate cake — has self-respect in it. You’re working. You’re trying. You’re not lying down on the ground, having given up.” Yeah, time to shift gears.