Traveling Away and Back

Rum River

“T.S Eliot once said, ‘If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?’ We should all feel as if we’re in over our heads when we write; that’s how we know we’re writing about something that really matters. So it takes either courage, self-deception, ignorance, or some of all three, to knowingly put ourselves in this position. It takes an endless supply of hope. Writing anything is ultimately an act of faith and love.” ~ Lee Martin

In over our heads? I feel as if my head is going to explode. Head explosions are okay when it’s because you have so many great, creative ideas. Not so good when it’s because you have so many demands and things coming at you that you feel like someone is throwing a thousand ping pong balls in your direction.

I’ve started doing ten minutes of meditation a day fifteen days ago. Obviously, the benefits haven’t kicked in yet…


I spent five days out of town for work. It’s amazing how out of sink you can get while traveling and how long it takes to get back into your rhythm. Some people like the shake up of travel. I want to like it, but I don’t.

I loved my past Oregon trip and my Colorado trip several years ago so perhaps enjoying traveling depends on where you are going and what you do when you’re there.

While I was away, I found out that I was accepted into the manuscript workshop, which is awesome! And also frightening. I don’t feel ready. But I probably would never feel ready. I’m just going in blind and trying to come up with a few chapters that ties everything together and makes the ending I wrote work. Not there yet…

Traveling over Ohio

I wrote a short chapter in my book that I thought I’d share here because, well, I’m a bit brain-dead and unable to come up with much else, and it sums up the way I feel about wildness and wonder, playfulness and connection, what we see and what we imagine. And when I feel like I’ve felt this week, I need a bit of coyote spirit…


I laid in bed, listening to the coyotes yipping in the distance. I could hear their movement, the excitement of the chase. Their calls grew louder and louder and then faded away. Unable to see them, my ears strained to catch every drop of their sound, to touch some part of their wildness.

The first time I heard their calls, a couple months after I’d moved into my house, they sounded excited, frantic, almost in pain. Their yips crescendoed as I looked out my bedroom window toward the field across the road. I expected to see furry shadows running through the tall grass, but all I saw was black night.

I called my neighbor and asked her, “Did you hear that?! What the hell was it?! A pack of wild dogs?” My friend laughed, “Coyotes.”

Coyotes. Tricksters. Wild. A pack. A community. I loved the thought of them. Out there. Invisible.

A lone coyote sounds sad — you can hear the searching in his voice. But a pack — the joining of voices. It is a song I long to hear again and again as I feel myself running with them.


Rum River

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  1. Although I don’t know what the manuscript workshop is – I congratulate you for making it into the group work. A group or pack of coyotes can run and grow together…it’s a nice change for a writer. The meditation practice will probably surprise you when its benefits kick in. I’m always side-slapped with its gift.

    1. Thanks Barbara. I have a feeling it will take a while for meditation to do anything for me because of how untamable my mind is. I’ve always given up in the past but plan on sticking with it as a mind like this really could use any help it can get. 🙂

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