Thursday, June 3rd, 2004

Re: Weekend activities / Writing style

Filed under: camping and hiking,writing — alison @ 17:07

I have received advice in the past to include more of what I think when I write, rather than just listing events. I have resisted because I think that making my readers try to figure out what I thought the listed events meant gives them something to do.

At least, I thought I was resisting. But apparently I give a one-sided, unbalanced picture, rather than a black-and white one that just needs colouring in.

I got passionate responses to yesterday’s letter interpreting my camping weekend as:
a time of horror

One person became very agitated at my account of having been persuaded by a reckless and unethical companion to go on a technical climb far beyond my abilities and then abandoned.

Let me be clear: I was never in any danger, never horrified, never terrified. I was outside in the woods, walking and (except for the summit) dressed for the weather. I was happy. “Strenuous” basically means steep. It wasn’t a “difficult” walk, which would have suggested, say, a narrow path along a cliff edge with a backpack (which I have done, and felt annoyed about, but not this time). There was no technical climbing, no ropes, no gear. I expected to be out of breath and I was. I am fat to begin with and have spent the winter crouched over various computers. Getting separated from Mark was not a problem for me: it was an opportunity to think for myself, which I happen to enjoy. Mark was anxious of course, and I was concerned for him for that reason, but I knew he was basically fine. Mark is always anxious on these trips, anticipating the worst even on the most innocuous stroll on a wide gravel path. (What if one of us sprains an ankle in the rain and the other needs to go for help: are we properly equipped or is this certain death from exposure?) He is not heedless, reckless or inconsiderate. Quite the opposite. If he thought it was safe to leave me to my own devices it’s because it was safe.

Other interpretations:

Marvellous yes, interesting… no. Not in itself. I wrote you guys because I think you’re interested in me, but this was a very mundane walk in the woods. Nice to do, not so much to read about.

A question:
How were the bugs?
Answer: There weren’t any! It was high and windy and the water was pretty much all trickling downstream. No bugs.

Motorola Walkabout.
Response: Yup, a set of walkie-talkies is on our shopping list. Though they can’t be light… We’ll see.

Hugs, all!

[originally transmitted by e-mail June 3, 2004]

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