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LitFest

Three years ago, Telluride presented its first Literary Arts Festival (“LitFest”), and I wanted to go, but I had very recently spent time there, and couldn’t afford another visit, so soon. Last year, I decided, instead, to visit my mom on Mothers Day, which I likely might have done this year, had Mom not passed away, earlier this year. So this go-around, I booked my hotel early, and began dreaming and waiting.

Of course, reality wasn’t much like any of my dreams; but its quality was at least as high as my dreams’. I met one author and one poet, each of whom I only knew by name and photos. And, I got to see nearly all the Telluridians I already knew.

One of the most popular events of LitFest, is its Literary Burlesque, which is both a metaphoric and literal disrobing of its featured poetesses. I wish I could show pictures from it, due to the costuming and such, but alas and go figure, pictures were not allowed. This was also the only event that you had to pay for. It also had sold-out, the previous two years. Thanks to my knowing one of the co-owners of the bookstore where tickets were being sold, I was able to call and get one, while they were still available.

As these thing often happen with writing type festivals and such, I didn’t get much writing done. Well, it’s not the festival that’s to blame—it’s my addiction to YouTube videos. (I’m seriously wondering whether getting wi-fi for my apartment is a good idea.) However, I’m leaving feeling more solid and grounded in being a writer; more thoroughly a member of the tribe.

Meanwhile, back in Salida, Wednesday is to be the last day for our current kitchen manager and dietician. I’ve struggled mightily giving my writing precedence over my paying job. With the upcoming change of management, it seems a good time to make such a change. However, that’s entirely another sack of worms for perhaps another time.

In a few hours, give or take, I’ll get in the van and head back home. My next scheduled visit, here, won’t be until late October, an entire summer and two-thirds of an autumn away. Maybe I’ll squeeze in at least one visit before then. We’ll see. It’s hard to stay away too long from views like these.

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On the Mend

Wowza, I had no idea I’d receive such a flood of responses to yesterday’s blog. Any words of thanks I can offer to all y’all fall so short. But, I’ve gotta try, anyway, right?…

T H A N K   Y O U ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Due to: your responses, a phone call from my sister, and a plethora of emails, hugs, and personal words, I’m back on the mend. I just had a talk with our HR head honcho, and found out about additional resources that are available. Life is worth the living and the fighting for, once again.

The Dallas Divide, on my way home from Telluride, roughly three weeks ago, Oct 15.

The Dallas Divide, on my way home from Telluride, roughly three weeks ago, Oct 15.

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Not So Simple

This afternoon, I happened upon a Facebook post that included a fairly recently-published book by one of my FB Friends. Seems Amazon was significantly marking down (at least) some of its books, including this one, for its “Prime” members. I replied with a snarky comment, along the lines of, “If you truly care about books and writers and blah-blah-blah, then you’ll stay away from Amazon and their ilk, and do your book shopping at Independent Booksellers.”

Well, the person who posted, with whom I’ve had no previous/other contact with, graciously replied that for true book-aholics, it can be hugely cost-prohibited to purchase all their books at “indies.” Further, there are also the issues of “lesser-known” books and new-releases not always being stocked at locally-owned bookstores; and that those same sellers occasionally charge authors for having book-signings and -readings at their stores. Finally, as writers and lovers of books, it just might be a niggling thing being concerned about where readers get their books. Once again, I was reminded the world isn’t always so black and white. I was so taken and grateful for the deepening and broadening of the conversation, a few back-and-forths between me and the woman who’d done the posting, I asked permission to “Share” our post, which was granted.

I’m not a published author, yet. But when I do have my first book published, and also all the subsequent ones, how important will it be, really, how my book(s) arrived in my readers’ hands? Will I be more hung-up on because some of them bought my book on Amazon, or at Barnes and Noble, than the fact that they’re reading my work, that my writing is making further progress in the world?

I don’t like online conglomerates and their big-boxed ilk. But I do (yes) occasionally shop there. But I also make a point to regularly order from my own local “indie;” and each time I’ve visited Telluride, I’ve stopped (at least once) at Between the Covers, their local independent bookstore. More than just with books, I’m a huge believer in, “putting your money where your house is.” Local business typically do so much more for their communities than simply hiring your neighbors, friends, and family. Next time you go to a school athletic game, or a concert, or a play, look inside the program and see who have been the contributors to the event you’re about to watch. I’ll bet the majority will be local, small businesses.

I’m still getting comments from that “Shared” posting of mine. As suspected, everyone so far has grumbled about Amazon, etc; but they’ve also mentioned some of the good even those Conglomerates perform. So, no, it’s not a black and white world. Nor is it always a simple one.

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Changes Afoot

I’ve been at my hospital job for awhile. It’ll be five years, toward the end of February. For a handful of months, I’ve been seriously considering my leaving it. Well, as seriously as not having another job lined up, not even any solid idea of where else to go, will allow. My finances are about to improve, having finally completed debt resolution through a third-party; and the stresses of the job have been increasingly draining me, causing my writing to severely suffer. And regarding my writing, I’m beginning steps toward making it a more prominent aspect of my life. I’ve begun jettisoning my possessions, thereby hacking away at the literal and figurative clutter. I’ll be moving bookshelves and my writing desk around, making a better, more efficient workspace. I’ll be (hopefully) doing some freelance editing, after placing ads in a couple of writing magazines. And I’ll be submitting far more often, and to places that actually pay. I might even dip a toe into copywriting. I’m wanting the work I do to be meaningful, and to more be more closely aligned with my talents and abilities and desires. One of the main things that got me to finally earn my degree over two decades ago was the assurance I’d never have to work in food service ever again. I’ve spent more years cooking after earning my degree than I did before doing so. I’ve grown weary of, as my dad would say, using my back instead of my brains to earn a living. I’m ready to make a change.

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From Where I Left Off

Likely another quick and not-about-writing post. But since there are folks wanting to know how things are since last week’s posting, here’s this.

I arrived safely home, last night, after again driving straight through. (Silly me, the internet map said it’d take fourteen hours and change, and I, computer programer and all, still believed it. It was more like eighteen hours.) It was a long slog. Both of the drives were. But I arrived, both times, safe and all in one piece.

I’m still kinda convoluted, emotion and how-are-you-doing-wise. I haven’t had a break down as of yet. But then, when I’ve felt the grief rising, I’ve pushed it down. (Then, while at the hospital, having seen your father’s body undraped in the drawer of their morgue cooler, nor days later while negotiating highway traffic, are the times to allow oneself to fall apart to pieces.) The good news is I’m back to work, tomorrow, so I’ll be occupied. The bad news is the same news.

Oddly, I find myself grateful for so many things. That I was able to drive to and fro unscathed, with no near misses, no figurative bumps in the road. That things worked quietly and simply in positive ways—not that Dad’s death was a positive experience for any of us. Still, in small and private ways, things worked out, when they could have just as easily, maybe more easily, worked out otherwise, as per Jane Kenyon’s poem.

Due to circumstances, I essentially left things hanging in my current life, in order to deal with things surrounding Dad’s death. Now that some of those things have been taken care of, in one fashion or another other, and I’ve returned home, those “hanging things” are now waiting to be dealt with. (For instance, I renewed my driver’s license this afternoon, and early tomorrow, I’ll be back to work as though I didn’t have a full week off.)

Of course, there’s so much to yet to be said. But for now, perhaps it’ll suffice to say I’m starting anew, right where I left off.

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Post-Telluride: Back Home

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So, I finally left Telluride, and made it all the way home. This morning, at five o’clock, I was back at work. Even before I’d turned in my room key at the hotel I was wondering when I’d come back. This morning, I began pondering what’d it take for me to move, there.

Then, I’ve been here before. After my first two-night visit to Telluride, I began pining to move there. In so many ways, Telluride is so precisely the small town I want to settle down in. Its size, its culture of arts (even stronger than Salida’s), its proximity to mountains and wilderness, its close-knittedness, its beauty, its climate, its activities, it library, and more. However, I’m absolutely not all the only person who’s drooling and dreaming of moving there. Housing is tight, and jobs are tricky to come by. Also, the cost of living is a bit higher there than what I’m used to. To put it into perspective, Salida’s “living room,” was a café-coffeehouse; Telluride’s is a wine bar.

And the other thing is I’ve kinda stopped being engaged with life, here in Salida. My social life is still little more than the time I spend with my coworkers while we’re working at the hospital. I don’t go meet friends, don’t even go out and cross paths with friends/acquaintances. My life is essentially work and home. Therefore, I’m missing much of what Salida does have to offer. To put this in perspective, I live three blocks from the Arkansas River, yet only once this year did I go and spend time in the river—and that one time is actually a little better than average for me. (Keep in mind that I am a river person.) This is my life, here in Salida.

So, it’s not fair to compare this life with what I envision life would be like, in Telluride; or compare it to how engaged I was, this past week, while on vacation, there. Yes, Telluride is a phenomenal place. However, Salida is pretty awesome, ‘cept I hardly do anything awesome, now that I’ve lived here eleven and a half years. I highly suspect that much of problem is not so much where I’m living, but how I’m living.

But, just maybe, some of what’ll result from my past week in Telluride will be getting better engaged with life here in Salida.

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Telluride: Seventh and Last Day

It’s drizzling, now, as I’m inside my favorite breakfast place, here in Telluride. The van’s packed, I’ll make one more sweep through the hotel room before turning in my room key (Yes. An actual key; not one of those plastic card critters!), and then it’s hop into the van and head home. I think the town’s causing this rain in hopes I’ll wait for the weather to clear, thereby staying longer, giving Telluride still more time to grab a firmer hold on me. I appreciate the compliment and the love. (Just now, a woman apologized to me for being, “from out of town.” “We’re all from out of town,” I replied. Then, even a few of the locals have thought I was local, too.)

Yesterday was intentionally for letting things settle. Still more of that will happen, en route back to Salida. After all, I won’t truly know what I “got” here until I’m back in my “real” world.

I’ve frequently called and thought of myself as invisible, as hidden in the shadows. I think it’s more that I blend in, as opposed to vanish. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not only the other out-of-towners who’ve thought I lived here; and this hasn’t only happened in Telluride. It’s from this place, this included among the natives, that I’m the watcher of people that I am. I’m witnessing what’s going on around me, not what’s happening in front of me. Perhaps this blending in is also the reason people seem quick to include me among their ranks.

(Aye… Seems I’m still sorting stuff out. Perhaps this is yet another incident when there’s no figuring—just rolling with it and moving on.)

This Telluride. This time here. I am so hugely grateful for each, both. I’ll persist with my visits.

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