Southern Oregon fall is cold clear nights and days of fire-yellow big-leaf maples wrapped in fog and the grounding reassuring rhythms of harvest; living and working in the dirt on a friend’s farm and sleeping each night in my camper van floating in deep starry blackness, buried beneath the old zero-degree sleeping bag from my trainriding days, one down comforther and two wool blankets (one is a Pendleton blanket; after a visit to a Roseburg junkshop I am at last, after years of longing, the proud owner of a Pendleton blanket). I dream calm dreams and wake to the asshole rooster. I make tea and run and then work until eleven p.m., laughing and suffering alongside dear friends. After the CDT everything fell apart and nothing was working anymore the way I was used to doing it and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong and then I decided that I was ok and that I should stop trying so hard and that there are many things (all of them) that I’ll never be able to control. What’s that saying- something about how the speed and grace with which one is able to let go of things that aren’t meant for one is directly proportionate to one’s happiness? Well I got frustrated and let go of kind of a lot of things and I’m glad to report that for the past month I’ve been happier with myself/my life/my relationships with other humans than I have been in a long time. Pema Chodron says “I am the sky, everything else is just the weather.” So if I cling to the weather I can only be happy when everything is calm. And when is anything ever calm? Only for brief, almost comically illogical moments, and if one tries to find a pattern to those moments in order to make more of them happen one will drive oneself insane and greatly annoy all of the people around one.
I’ve always had a problem with wanting to control everything. And the more cool shit one tries to do, the more exciting plates one sets spinning, the more things there are that can and will go horribly, comically awry. This is the math of life. So one can just stay home and do nothing or one can go out into the world and attempt to follow one’s dreams and watch everything go infinitely, tragically wrong and laugh and laugh at the absurdity of it and at the Universe’s cruel sense of humor but keep showing up and showing up and eventually things will work out as though the Universe was like “Oh hello, I didn’t see you there, here’s that thing you’ve always wanted” but at that point it won’t matter because one has transcended everything and become the sky.
I love it, you know? I love it all. This fucking tragicomic that we’re all living.
After the CDT I was burnt out on blogging and for the past few months I haven’t been writing at all. It’s interesting to see what happens in my brain when I stop writing- basically I’ve learned that I make everything into stories, everything that’s happening around me all the time. It’s kind of alarming, like, have I always done this? The people I know become characters and life becomes a TV show. Which is actually kind of fun. It turns out I fucking LOVE creating characters who are loosely based on real people and all of a sudden I very very much want to write fiction in which everyone is an exaggerated version of themselves and there are dance numbers. My friend Lia, who also works on the farm, and I have worked out several episodes of this TV series, as well as the entire plot of an action movie. I want to write a screenplay for this action movie which I can see so clearly in my head when I’m stoned and listening to The Who, but I don’t know how to write a screenplay. As soon as I’m not working twelve hour days I’ll google it.
I finish work on the farm in mid-December, at which point I’ll pack up my oil-burning darling of a high-mileage camper van (her name is Old Blue) and drive to “the southwest,” the vague place in which I hope to settle for the winter. I am going to visit a few friends and a few towns and generally follow a trail of breadcrumbs through the beautiful desert until I end up wherever it is that I end up. I imagine desert sunrises, clean light and dramatic skies, a small wooden table with a sunbeam on it, at least one friend nearby. This is where I’ll work on my next book until our frigid country begins to thaw and hiking season begins again. I’ll also be training for an ultra-marathon- there is no ultra, but the training schedule helps gives structure to my runs and I have to run or everything seems terrible.
I am behind on this blog- I need to make an index page for my CDT hike and write a few other hiking posts, but there is literally no time right now to write. Soon!
I was interviewed by Pox and Puss for their cute hiking podcast: Episode #56- Anish & Carrot (also available on itunes and stitcher and here if that link doesn’t work). Being on the podcast was fun. Pox called me in Ashland when I was sitting outside of the library in the rain. I got heavily caffeinated beforehand in an attempt to sound smart. And of course I am honored to be on the same podcast as Anish, who is actually so badass I can’t even comprehend it.
Relatedly, my book cover was designed by Alejandra “Rocket Llama” Wilson. If you’d like to order a print her facebook is here: Rocket Llama
I may not be blogging every day right now, but I still post fairly often on instagram: instagram.com/carrotquinn
This is the song that will play during the climactic end scene of the action movie I want to write: