Between 1984 and 2014, I lived in Southern California. I’m from Colorado and I returned for good on September 20, 2014. For more than thirty years, I taught writing. All my life, I’ve been a writer.
The great love of my life is nature — I have hiked thousands of miles but not in a wide variety of places. No teacher makes much money on which to travel, and my hikes were mostly at Mission Trails Regional Park, an urban wilderness park in San Diego. I was closely tied to these 5800 acres of chaparral. I began hiking there in 1987, a few years before the landscape was officially designated a “park.” I then worked for the park in a variety of roles. I stopped when financial pressures demanded I take on more teaching hours. With fewer hours of “free” time, I wanted to be on the trails — on foot or on a bike — rather than in meetings, even important ones. The most intimate relationship in my life (so far) was with the lines of trails up and down North and South Fortuna Mountain, and the little mountain known as Kwaaypaay, that I called ‘Big Dog Health and Fitness Spa because, when I hiked it, it had no name. From my time hiking in one small(ish) landscape I learned that no trail is ever the same two days in a row.
I’ve also hiked fragments of the Pacific Crest Trail, trails in Italy and Switzerland, climbed most of the way up a Chinese mountain, and, of course, I’ve hiked and skied in the Rockies. Hiking — though for me, at this point in my life, will not be extreme, involve sharps ups and downs, or carrying heavy packs — is one great thing about being back in Colorado.
The title of my blog is based on some lines from the song “Punkrocker” by the Teddy Bears and featuring Iggy Pop. The song is at once affirming and defiant — pretty much summing up my feeling toward my own writing.
I heard the song one night in my car driving (down the street) on my way home (35 miles on I-8) from teaching a class that had gone just OK. I hadn’t heard the song in ages. I know of NO radio stations that routinely play it or ever did. Listening to the words, I saw behind the whole “shadow show of appearances” (thanks Walt Whitman) of my job and my expectations of my students. I knew “I was bored with looking good,” and I was “listening to the music with no fear.” That’s what writing is. The truth under everything? I’m a writer, yes I am.
Now listen to the song: Punk Rocker
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