Writing Robust

Early in the last year, I made a a silent yet stolid agreement with myself. I would write as much as possible.

I have always known that I wanted to write. The papers presented to the mr and ms. in partial fullfillment of the course to the stupid little sketches in 8th grade to brit lit. and all the shebers howard. To the jj johnson even though he was a dick. To the shhissel and Mr. Syr.

It was the Timne’s class that was the best. We read Frankenstein and the Romantic poets. She wrote that book when she was 18 with bysshe her bo and the byron lord.

I had so much respect for that monumental accomplishment.

Anyways, I could never commit to writing more than 10k on any given story.

Last year in february I took Christi Kruugs Wildfire Writing class at Clark college. It worked.

Since February last year, I have written 100k+ in freewrites and 65k on my first novel.

That is what i call robust 🙂

~curly

Trials, Troubles, Tribulations…Triumphant.

The night falls fast. The solstice roars. Caves echo and the creatures stir in resistant to the sun.

They underestimate. They hesitate. The fire rages brighter. The eyes more vigilant. The howling more insistent.

Light in the dark.

Light in the dark

Sun seed, star dust

Heart broken pieces

shine the way.

to light

to life

to joy.

 

C.A.

100 steps A Quandary

Mount Massive was to much of an undertaking and Goldpoint Lodge is located about 90 minutes from the trailhead while Quandary is a quaint little 20 minute jaunt out of breckenridge. So the plan changed, it is good to be flexible. DSCN1635DSCN1638DSCN1626DSCN1632DSCN1644DSCN1642DSCN1584DSCN1596DSCN1593DSCN1576

We started very late into 14er season, I don’t know what I was waiting for, but  it took all the way until August 9th.

Mt. Quandary is known as an easy 14er as 14ers go. The thing about a 14er though is that it is a monstrous effort.

The lack of oxygen, the unavoidable nearly straight up ascents. The knee pounding descent, the crazy weather. The intoxicating views and of course, in case it didn’t sink in, the continously increasing lack of oxygen, nearly three miles above sea level.

When I was on the Inca trail, Dead Woman’s pass was an ordeal, but the ascent from 3600 meters to 4200 meters was not quite as high. And there is a world of difference between 14k feet and 13k feet. Plus on the Inca trail, there were coca leaves, those made up for a lot of the lack of eenrgy I may have had otherwise.

What is the point?

As hard as it was, we endured. Near the top, we got to the point where we went 100 steps and then sat down for 30 breaths. This strategy worked well. When you break things into manageable tasks, they become much easier. One foot in front of the other 100 times and you are there, repeat, and you are there in no time.

A 14er is a metaphor for life. It is wild and wide open nature. The world is real out there. Rainstorms can start anytime, winds can blow in a storm and then blow it away, temperature shifts can switch faster than the fastest packer can change into the layers. It is deceptively sunny and then it all changes.

In life, you can meet difficulties at any time. The key is to be flexible, to allow yourself to dig deep and then put one foot in front of the other. 100 steps, then breather deep re-assess, rinse and repeat.

Curl on,

~C.A.

Photographic Memory Mondays #2 8-11-14 (Used to be called Remembory Mondays, but I think this is better)

I know it is tuesday again. What can I say? My spirit animals are an owl and a spider. Both dark-liking things. And I know, I was disappointed a bit when I found out. I thought I saw a Mountain Gorilla in a yoga nidra recently and I have always considered myself monkey like. More an animals later, if I get to it. (disclaimer- the owl and spider are very powerful spirits etc. I read about them in depth and can definitely see why).

And now back to the photographic memories.

 

 

 

 

LA1D66~2
Nice and Refreshing jump into the very cold waters of Lake Titicaca after the long walk from one side of Tequile Island to the other. A few hours later I got a bit of an irritation on my lower right leg. Not the cleanest of waters on the inside of the rock dock.
LA317C~1
The moon over the Island of Amantani. After the hike to see the inevitably elusive sunset. The Sun went behind the clouds about ten minutes before it set and stayed there, still beautiful though. If you have ever been upwards of ten-thousand feet, you may have experienced the rapid shift in temperature that greets the passage of day to night. Beginning to freeze we ran down the mountain stopped at a local shop where we were surprised with Hot Cocoa and then emerged under the bright moonlight. It was so bright that we could see better without the flashlights. And the moon shining on the water was sublime. Senses get sharper as elevation increases and this was no exception.
IMG_6273
Road Tripping with my brother turned out to be a grand adventure. When I decided to move, I knew I did not want to make the 1,700 mile drive alone. So my brother flew standby and shared the ride with me. We got to see sunrise and a great morning at Crater Lake. Then we spent time navigating half flooded roads during the flooding in Boulder last September. It was an experience.
IMG_6276
Monkeying around on the rocks.
IMG_5830
Vegan meals. The Four month Vegan Adventure last year, allowed me to explore a multitude of new flavors and revisit old favorites. The Portabello was a constant companion and brussel sprouts, squash, and kale were constant companions.
IMG_5787
Lentil Vegetable soup in a bowl of Acorn Sqaush. Spaghetti squash works better for this. The Acorn Squash is rather tough. Still delicious though.
IMG_5792
White and Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups.
IMG_5727
The Original Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cup. These are Vegan, and phenonmenal. If you haven’t tried it I suggest you do. Comment below for the recipe, they are as easy as layered brownies or other treats, just a few extra steps. Comment Below if you would like the recipe.
IMG_5603
Black Bean and Lime Soup with a Portabello piled high with Veggies on lightly toasted Dave’s Killer Bread. And Nice scene of the patio and yard of my old place. The Vibrant Green still stands in stark contrast to the dryness of my new locale. Even with the rain we have been having this summer, it takes a lot to turn a dessert into a rainforest.
IMG_5638
Beet Juice. One of my most surprising discoveries of the Vegan Adventure was how much I loved Beets. Roasted, Steamed, Blacnhed and drenched in Balsamic. Beets chopped and raw with Apple Cider vinegar and Kale. And of course Beet Juice. so sweet and tasty with a little apple kale and celery. A phenomenal drink and a ridiculous cleanse. This reminds me that I need to secure a juicer.
Mustached up and ready for Bolivia and the death road
Mustached up and ready for Bolivia and the death road. A Travel mate and I ready for Movember in Bolivia. It only lasted a week though. Honestly they look friggin ridiculous. We did get straight razor shaves in Cusco, which was really cool. It is an art down there.
IMG_4886
Draining the last of the beer foam destroyer pitcher at the end of shift. The tap at the bar of the Adventure Brew hostal dispensed the best beer I had in South America. There was one other, “Xingu” a black bean beer I had in the NW of Argentina and brewed in Brazil. It is based off of tribal beers brewed in the Amazon and is phenomenal. Back to the bar tending. The Adventure Brew Hostal in La Paz Bolivia brews its own beer. This was a rarity for me in SA, I was used to drinking Cuzquena most of the time and it was nice to have a nice microbrew quality beer to enjoy. The tap was kind of wonky though. It overfoamed a lot. So We often had to pour out the beer into pitchers and spoon the foam off. This would be absolutely unacceptable at any bar I have ever worked or drunk at, but it was okay there. La Paz man, all the expats and Hostal residers were just happy to have a decent beer. They give you a free one for every night you stay. They say pint but its a 12 oz. glass with handle. And you can trade your stay for work in the bar. This was a godsend for me. My bank account was running super low. More on that in another session. The bar work was fun, the day shift was easy, allowing me to watch proper futbol, and hang out with new travel buds while working and it had a great view which is still my screensaver. It was one of those unplanned adventures that happen so often while traveling.
IMG_4876
Hibiscus/Ginger Tea. Both beer and the Tea was better in Bolivia. The food though was better in Cusco. This was a great way to recharge after a hard night partying after a bar shift. This was during my earlier stages of tea enjoyment. I remember thinking for a few months after word that Hibiscus Ginger was a type of Ginger. It isn’t, but it may as well be, a phenomenal combo of plant healing power.
goofy birds
These Birds are heavier than you think and the noises they make are ridiculous. The Jungle Refuge in Bolivia was our last stop on our day of riding the Death Road. The Birds were hilarious. I had a video of their ridiculous sounds. I will have to post that on a later date. The mustache is difficult to see and short lived. My Sweet Movember only lasted about a week.
12-4-12 potluck last night in cusco, bolivia, death road 273
Water Bottle falling from the sky. That is what it often feels like when traveling. since the water isn’t potable you end up using a lifetimes worth of plastic bottles. A huge waste and incredibly detrimental to the environment. Filter if you can, plastic sucks!! The scene is the bottom of the Death road, from Tundra to Jungle in less than 3 hours on two wheels. Highly Recommended, but do shop around outside the hostal to save a few hundred bolivianos and inspect the bikes!
Machu Picchu and passport finding party rum!! 11-11-12 223
That thumbs up from inca trail pal Enrico quickly turned into throbbing knees and two thumbs waaaayyy down as we descneded the stairs. Fourth day on the trail? Take the bus to Aguas Calientes. You will get to relax and hang out with your group much more. If you rode the train from Ollantaytambo, the stairs might be okay, going up to get you in the mood or going down to get out of the crowds. Also go to Machu Picchu on a weekday and not on a Peruvian Holiday. And if it rains stick around for it to pass, the people clear out and the magic infuses your spirit with the solidarity of the ancient Incas. Depending on how metaphorical you like to get. Either way fewer people is always better when in nature.
Walking down to Aguas Calientes, it is better to take the bus.
Walking down to Aguas Calientes, it is better to take the bus. I don’t know what we were thinking. Maybe we just wanted it to last longer, either way, take the bus if you did the trek, the walk down to Aguas is surprisingly long. Note on packing. Bring decent layers but pack light, it is a long trail. Waterproof footwear and make sure your poncho covers your pack, before it rains, I know I said it before, but it is worthy info. If you have trekking poles bring them, the descents can be agony. The pink topped stick saved me, thanks again nadia!
Machu Picchu and passport finding party rum!! 11-11-12 153
Third day, tenth Llama or Alapaca. I am not sure from the photo. I think its a llama because it is bigger. You can get pretty close, but they spit, and watch out for there droppings which are plentiful.

A Note on the Format. I am working on it. I am more of a writer than a design man and more of a talker than a writer, thus ramblestiltskin.

There are so many memories that I have not shared from my travels. Each of them feels like a lifetime and seems it would take a lifetime to catalog. This is my way of focusing the ADD brain into something constructive. A picture is worth a thousand words, but each of those thousand is different based on whose perspective is shared. Hence, The Photo and snippet style. It also breaks up the 1600+ words into bitable chunks. My copy is often overwhelming in volume. Mainly, this is because I do not edit. If I edited these, I would never post them. I will save that for any future guest posts or books, crosses fingers.

And if you have made it this far, I applaud your tenacity. As a voice/audience finding exercise comment below telling me your favorite memory. The memory with the most votes will get a full 1600+ post delving deeper. Maybe I will be on a limb, out to sea, up a creek etc. but I will post on any of them with the most votes no matter how silly or mundane. I will consider it a writing test of agility.

Remembory Mondays 8-4-14

Remembory Monday Manifesto

This is my first post of what will be known as “Remembory Mondays.” I was going through my old photos during a bout of nostalgia and a bit of a delayed Reverse Culture Shock Relapse, when I had a simple thought. A good way to process the experience resurgent travel urge would be to share some of the memories of my experiences.

As I started to compose a photoblog post on my adventure on the Inca Trail, I was distracted with memories from my two separate trips to Lake Titicaca and the islands I visited on both the Peruvian and Bolivian side. Then I was further distracted by some of the photos of daily life in Cusco and then after that Argentina and then a road trip I went on last year etc…

The point being that there are a ton of memories that emerge out of the ether of past experience. They are particularly plentiful with each bout of Adventuritis, an inflammation of the adventure gland located just inferior to the pineal gland, j/k.

With each emerging vista on the memorial plane, it is easier and easier to become lost in it all and do nothing. Instead of doing nothing, either by continuously going through my old photos or being unable to decide what to post, a simple writer decides as so often he does, by not deciding at all.

Remembory Monday, a weekly platform, perhaps evolving, always dynamic, like any good trip, never static. Like any good traveller always a fanatic, rarely pragmatic. Please also ignore the fact that it might be Tuesday wherever you are in the world. Monday, like the pirate code, is more of a guideline meaning sometime after noon on monday and before 6 am on Tuesday, give or take a few hours. Since peak creativity of this writer of yours is usually past sunset and well into moonshine and star-time, you can count on it being a late night post.

Five to Ten to Twenty or Thirty photos with a small Remembory’ed note just below (inferior to) the Photo.

And so it begins…

The View from the high trail on Isla Del Sol. We kept trying to get a picture that showed off the mountains in the background. It was really hard to do that view justice with a person in the frame. Real experience note, the water wasn’t clean, the ceramic filter and bucket didn’t work as well for me as it did for others. Had the travelers sickness all week aka diarrhea. The key is, that is now what I remember!

Isla del sol chakra 115

 

The actual view of the mountains without people is way better, I spent 7 days in December of 2012 on Isla Del Sol on the Bolivian side of the Lake. It was incredible and all of the views from mountain to meadow to water to wood and temple to tableau were epic. I had the chance to experience Incan Rituals and exist in serenity in one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. Thank you Javier for telling me I had to go there.

My friend Enrico’s boot could not withstand the rigors of the Inca Trail. The worst part is it came apart after lunch on the third day at Phuyupatamarca “City Above the Clouds.” The Good news, we only had half a day and the morning left. The bad news, 2,000 plus stair descent to the last camp near Winaywana. The boots made it through though and we all got to the sun gate the next morning where we were both winded and in awe at the picturesque tableau unfolding under the first rays of the sun. That Picture will be for another monday.

Isla del sol chakra 038

DSC00706

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day one of the Inca Trail, something like hour 4. It rained almost the entire first day. It got to the point where we could not even stop to see the first set of ruins, because it was so bad. The Poncho I had did not fit well at all. Hint- Make sure your poncho fits over your backpack. I was okay though, with waterproof shoes, a waterproof back cover and my showers pass jacket I used for pedi-cabbing in the rain it was all right. It cleared up for the most part for the next few days. I admit it would have put a damper on my enjoyment of the trail.

CIMG8765

Yoga on the Inca Trail. Showing one of the Germans in our group Eagle Pose. Thanks to Enrico for catching this little gem. Yoga on the trail helped easy the rigors of the hills and valleys. Also pack light, I packed way too much on this trip. I had gotten heavily into Yoga earlier that summer, after I had a muscle spasm that saw me unable to do any physical activity for three weeks, I received a Chiropractic adjustment and then was shown some stretches. All of the stretches were yoga poses, so I found a groupon and jumped in headfirst. After practicing three-four times a week for 3 months. I went back to the Chiropractor for a follow up and they said I was stronger than I was before the injury. It was a game changer. I continue to practice 2-5 days/week. I have now tried many styles, Bikram was how I started but I have moved onto more meditative types since then.

DSC00649

 

The Flamingo lake ruins about an hour outside of Puno, after my first trip to the Lake. That isn’t the real name, but that is how the trip organizer sold it to us. Yeah lake full of flamingos and ruins on the hill. When we got there, it turned out that the Flamingos are only there in the morning, but it was still interesting to see the ruins. We did see a little cuy though. Guinea pig is a delicacy in Peru.  After we got back the car wasn’t there, so this was my first experience of Panic in Peru. But we figured out by calling the organizer, it just ended up being another one of those experiences in the difference in time. Most arrangements in Peru run a few hours later than they schedule.

10-29-12 Lake Titicaca, puno 306

While in Bolivia I had the experience of realizing I was almost out of money. This unfortunate scenario led to the discovery of bartending in exchange for my stay at the Adventure Brew Hostal, just a few blocks from the bus station in La Paz. The work was pretty simple, the beer was the best I had in South America , though the tap was overly foamy, it was a welcome change from the Cusquena and Pilsen I usually had in Cusco. Hands down best part, other than the people of course, was the Drunk food Sandwiches. While Pouring the two kinds of overly foamy beers, I got to know the other bartenders and a few of the patrons. Three of them could not stop talking about these amazing sandwiches, I think they were called Inguitos or Honguitos. Check out the picture of the sandwich next to me. My face looks like I am regretting biting into it, but that is just my habitual wide mouth teeth bite that avoids getting the mess all over my face, chin, beard, mustache or whatever. Sooooooo goood!

Best Drunk food I have ever had. 4 am in La Paz
Best Drunk food I have ever had. 4 am in La Paz

The moon over Amantani on Lake Titicaca. This is where my group stayed on the boat trip on the lake. You cannot imagine how peaceful it was. It was even quieter than isla del sol. This kind of peace is so rejuvenating, I found myself refreshed on only about 6 hours of sleep. And that was after the all night bus ride from Cusco to Puno and then all day on the boat. And the moon was so bright it lit the path when we walked back from the high point on the island. Cold, Quiet, and beautiful.

LA317C~1

I meant to use this method to keep the post short, but alas as soon as I start typing the levee breaks.

Comment below to hear more about your favorite memory, I will choose one photo to expand upon for a post of it’s own in the coming weeks. And If you liked any of these memories, check my Peru, Bolivia and Argentina categories for more posts of this nature.

As always Curl on,
~C.A.

 

To Getting things done, the kindling and the fire

This is to all the warriors out there. Sometimes when the end is near and the summer is all heat and said heat is destroying the bodies homeostatic acclimation to mild/cool weather. I yearn to be more of a warrior.

An early riser, a planner and then get things done ‘er, a doer, a thinker, a screamer, a fighter

one who has the innate ability

to strive forward, rip themselves out of bed, fall asleep early, run on fumes, ignore metabolic needs, and just work.

I know that I am not a natural warrior. I am a planner, a thinker, and a feeler.  These feelings get in the way, the over planning perfectionism leads to a void of undone, a vast desert of nothing. Not much of a dessert at all.

But to feel the freedom of the failing, flailing, warriors who put the time in the time with nose to the grindstone day in and day out for years.

Those who see the end in sight and drive harder toward the finish instead of backing off wondering if they are in the right place doing the right thing. And I wonder why my tennis matches take foreeeevvvveeer!

 

After three days of listlessness, wallowing again with uncertainty and fear. Staring at the finish line and trying to come up with excuses why its not worth it. The fatal fog of self fulfilling defeatism waking so strong every morning.

“Just because someone loses their way, doesn’t mean they are lost forever.” Professor X/Charles Xavier Yeah I saw that movie last night, I will go more into that icon of childhood later on.

And so even stumbling and flailing on the ground defeated before I began for the past few days, there is still hope I am not lost forever.

I must remember to fight hard to begin, once I am started working, momentum takes over like a roaring fire and I can do anything until the exhaustion arrives and the flame burns out.

So to the warriors that do it every day, to all of you who inspire me. Those known personally may know intimately of what I speak. And those who I look to for guidance, you may know me someday.

Once this firestorm gets rolling, a mixed metaphor, but that is okay for now.

To all my inspiration.

and to the kindling.

keep curlin’

-C.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Organization

Organize…

This is a constant on my to do list. Organize schoolwork, organize notes, organize, room, clothes, charts, anatomy cards, car, supplies, schedule etc.

Organization is not the natural state of things and is thus a constant battle.

The value of organization is immense and you cannot undercut its value. The ability to access all the articles and objects necessary to complete tasks or fulfill desires quickly and efficiently allows one to do more. The internal environment informs the external environment and the reverse is true. A simple calm organized space lends to tranquility and ease in the mind. The space around also allows the mind to work better and be more organized. Organization of the mind is of the greatest benefit. To be able to use the mind, you must be able to find the information necessary.

In today’s society there is an onslaught of distractions, making disorganization of mental processes pervasive. Just now as I sat down to write, I found myself distracted by 2 hours worth of interesting posts and videos. The quality of the videos is not in question and the information was valuable and informative. The problems lies in its inherent disorganization. It could also be said that sitting here distracted by remarkable articles and videos led me to my subject, but you could also say that it was the day long battle organizing and cleaning my room that had the greatest impact.

The point is this, to get anything done, organization is key. There are many manifestations of this somewhat obvious conclusion in my current creative space. None, however are more present or pressing, than that of choice. What to do? What to Pursue? Which Project should I start? I have been battling this for a long time. Focusing on one task is commonly my major problem. I know that with a great deal of work and focus on one pursuit, it is possible to build something magical and meaningful. But how do you focus on one thing…Organization.

This distracted problem is not isolated in the arena of project creation, but exists in nearly every decision I make. There are so many possibilities, that I am often overwhelmed with the desire to do everything.

Perhaps it is best to use these daily activities as a practice forum for cutting through the muck and organizing my mind.

And so I will begin to practice being decisive in which tasks I will do. They all need to be done anyway, so no matter what I choose, it will improve things.

And now I will organize my room and while I sleep the organized room will organize my mind. That is all I have to do right?

Curlin’ on,

~C.A.