Mountain Valley Writing

Writing between mountains

I’m about to launch into some deep symbolism, or complete cliche. I won’t know until I’m done. It’s all part of the process. Bear with me.

I try and write every day. Some days it’s easy to start. I’m feeling good, or it’s a scene that I’ve been looking forward to. Some days I’m blocked, but I need to break through and put in the work.

It’s like beginning each day standing on a mountain top. I see the whole world before me, including valleys and other mountain tops. This is my story’s world. I can take any number of paths to the next mountain, but I won’t know which until I step off that peak.

There are good days where I can run all the way. Words come easily. Sometimes the wind’s against me. I fight for every step, down the mountain side, through the valley and up the other side. On bad days, I’m standing on the precipice. I have to leap, with the faith that I’ll land where I should and continue to the next peak. On exceptionally bad days, there’s cliffs on both sides of the valley. Jumping off is easy. Climbing back up is not.

It’s exhausting. Sometimes I never reach that peak at the end of the day, because I can’t get the physics of it all to work correctly.

Then there’s the rolling rapids called “The Internet” flowing through the middle of the valley. Step into that and there’s a good chance I’ll get swept away. Lucky for me, I’ve built a bridge over it and it hasn’t been washed out yet.

I can remember a time when I was stuck on that mountain top, knowing I could leave it but afraid to do so. Now I’ve grown used to the daily hike, and I’ve got the cuts, scrapes, bruises and scars to prove it.

And so I go, peak to peak, criss-crossing the valley of my story each day, weaving it into something I hope is worthy of sharing.

So is all this esoteric symbolism, cliche, or somewhere in between? What I’ve described could be seen as cliche. The thing is, I don’t care, because I like the imagery behind it. If it helps me get the words out at the end of the day, I’d say it’s doing its job.

Since 1992, Lee has worked within the visual and dramatic arts landscape as a graphic designer, illustrator, visual effects artist, screenwriter and author.

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