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It’s another monthly edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Click the photo above to get to the home page and become part of this awesome, energized group. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his legion of administrators for keeping this alive.
Be sure to visit this month’s co-hosts, as well as other writer/authors who lament on the first Wednesday of every month.
A River of Change
Last Saturday I stepped into the Big Thompson River for the first time in over a year. Reaching down, I let the cold water run between my fingers, a tentative hello after so many months. Three hundred-forty days ago, this same river flooded much of the area in CO known as the Front Range. Taking lives and causing millions of dollars in damage, the catastrophic event changed more than just the landscape.
I returned, simply to fish.
But it wasn’t that simple. Repair work required new river banks to be constructed. Vegetation that once flourished was stripped bare. The remnants of people’s homes and lives littered the shoreline. A new chapter in the story of the Big Thompson River had been written. I stood knee deep in the water, knowing what I had learned about the river (and myself) over the past 14 years, was forever lost or at a minimum, drastically changed.
The Big Thompson River was the most influential factor in my return to the writer’s desk. My work lay dormant for nearly 20 years, until I again picked up pen and paper after my first few years learning to fly fish there. Canyon landscape, flowing waters, beautiful fish, and a freedom I seldom found anywhere else fueled essays, poems, a novel, and more.
The flood changed the river and surrounding environment so much that I no longer know what I feel there. Too much destruction and artificial replacement makes the canyon feel foreign me. Comfort and serenity are now replaced with confusion and uncertainty.
The flood of changes in the writing world often sets me off course as well. It seems there are weekly alterations in what works best, what writers should or should not do. There, too, lies uncertainty and insecurity. Unfortunately I can’t return to the Big Thompson River and sort things out. Sure, there are other places, but they are places I visit; not the home to my muse that once flourished in the canyon.
Three weeks before the 2013 Big Thompson flood I fished with my youngest daughter in the lower reaches of the Big “T.” It was our first time fly fishing together in nearly 5 years and her first time fishing “on her own.” It was a special day. And now that memory is what I hang on to, so I can find the peace and happiness necessary to let my muse take over and be creative.
I wonder if I’ll ever find that again in the future with the Big Thompson River. At this point, the insecurity of the Big Thompson not becoming my writing home again, appears everlasting.
Have you lost your “writing home” or “special” place which fueled your creative juices? If so, where was it and what did you do to overcome the loss?