31 October 2007

Nearly November

It's Nanowrimo time again.

I have but a skeleton of a plot for this year's novel, but I think my settings and characters are ready to emerge from another project (my sweetie gently suggested, that maybe my bad guy from last year's novel takes the focus away from them? maybe he needs a story of his own? and I'm seeing the wisdom in that, and the bad guy's story is just itching to be told because it turns out I know more about male bad guys than I had thought and I've been trying to write about a bad woman, and I don't know many of those but I'm always gobsmacked when I do come across them). I also saw a couple of inspiring documentaries that made me want to write this stuff down in fictional form, and I am also in the back of my mind thinking of this as the story on which a screenplay could be built. So there has to be a lot happening, some layers of intrigue, which I'm not as experienced at but want to get some practice at.

And I'm completely digging this idea of creating something from nothing. Everybody in the business world talks about adding value and I think, what's something that has high cultural and social value here? Movies and fiction and theater and poetry are certainly among those. Athletics is another: a few sports have been elevated to high entertainment, their participants richer than the royals of many nations. Doctoring is another. Medicating is yet another. But I have a skill set that helps me create lots of somethings from nothings.

One inspiring documentary out of many, many films I've seen lately is one called Steep, coming out at the beginning of 2008, about the history of big-mountain skiing. It turns out that not many people knew you could ski on a slope steeper than 45 degrees until about 1971, when a guy named Bill Briggs prepared himself, climbed to the summit of the Grand Teton, the tallest in that craggy, patchily covered range, and skied down. His friends, who got to the bottom of a massive couloir and decided they couldn't do the summit, watched him go on toward the summit alone. An avalanche came down a few hours after he left them, and they thought for sure he'd been in it, but he skied right up to his friends just after it swept past and boggled their minds. It was Briggs' perfect day.

And that might be the money shot of the film, that camera swinging around the mountain from the air shortly after they descended to see Briggs' beautiful lines in the snow that only stuck to those slopes for a few days a year and this had been one of them. Briggs said a thing I'd never thought of: he said he felt it was nature enhanced by a human's participation.

That we can bring about a net benefit rather than occupy an enormous carbon footprint is such revolutionary idea to me on some fundamental level: I feel as if I'd never really and truly considered myself as anything but a blight on the earth.

I see we all have an effect, every time we make the choice to take a bus or ride our bikes and let the planet take an extra breath. Every time we plant and tend something.

It feels like standing in the sun at the edge of a beautiful meadow full of wildflowers after a cold climb through snow and mud. I can see how I can make something new just by being here, by listening carefully, by serving in the ways that I know best and sharing that with others.

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