Yesterday I went for a walk along the Poudre and found myself thinking over and over again the words of my friend Dan: "OMG!" If you haven't seen the river in the last day or two and you have a thing for the wild and dangerous--go see it. It was high a few weeks ago, but now it's even beyond that. Footpaths through the trees along both banks are now just part of the river. The river comes up to the paved trail in numerous places to greet you now (in fact even the paved trail is closed in places due to high water). And it's moving so fast I could only catch glimpses here and there of the tree parts it was carrying along with it.
Just being next to it gets my heart racing. Did I mention it's really fast? Not only is it fast, it's rather indiscriminately coloring outside its lines, so to speak. It's going where it wants to, and I have no intention of trying to persuade it otherwise. And quite frankly I think I would be personally offended if anyone else did either.
It's hard to miss the purging and cleansing, however chaotic, qualities of a river running that high. And once I got past the OMGs, all I could think was that I wish I would write like that.
In many ways, I think that crucial first draft should be written with as much abandon. It reminded me not to worry about keeping it tidy in the lines--maybe that's not where the story is supposed to go, maybe it's really supposed to be meandering through the woods 20 feet away after all. I'll never know if I don't just go with it, typing like the snow melt, picking up debris, and knowing that later I can go back and clean it up. I put so much pressure on myself to write efficiently, cleanly...but I never seem to get very far when I do that because I'm too scared to let go and let the water get muddy.
In good time the water will subside, but I won't ever see the banks or the trails through the trees in the same way again because I've seen them now as they could be. I think I need to go take some pictures of the river so I can look at them and remember that awestruck sensation whenever I'm writing a first draft.
How do you associate 'the wild' with your writing, if at all?