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Maxed out

Screaming into the void

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There's an uncomfortable moment of truth I suspect almost everyone encounters at irregular intervals in their lives. It marks land's end in the Kingdom of Procrastination. Sink or Swim Point. It's that time when you finally have to face up to a task you've been dreading and simply do it. Generally, but not always, it involves doing something you don't want to do, something you know you can't avoid and something you'll probably fail miserably at accomplishing.

This is one of those moments.

I don't know how other writers approach what they do but I know, in my case, I used to spend inordinate hours writing and rewriting thoughts with one goal in mind: being able to put down on paper the relatively simple, conversational words I might use to describe complex thoughts. It sounds like an easy task. It isn't. If you think it is, try tape recording your conversation some time, transcribe it, word for word, and then attempt to punctuate it and read it back. You'll either be amused or appalled, possibly both. We don't write the way we speak, a fact that makes so much of what we read, especially of the learned variety, so obtuse and stilted.

The problem is compounded several fold when we have to write something we can't even begin to figure out how to say. I'm humbled and horrified at how thoroughly words fail me right now. I make my living herding an infinite jumble of word combinations into entertaining sentences that cast light on whatever subject tickles my fancy. But I don't know how to express the sorrow, fatigue and general hopelessness washing over me this week.

One of the many paradoxes of this place we call home is the pas de deux of life and death. Whistler is a place that makes people feel intensely alive and vibrant. At the heart of this vibrant intensity is the magic of mountains themselves. There is a quality to mountains that magnifies the impact of everything humans do in their proximity. It's easiest to understand this phenomenon by describing it.

Skiing, boarding too, is a unique sport, pastime, addiction, what have you. The learning curve of most sports is long and not too steep. It takes a long time to learn to do most athletic endeavours with more than passing facility. It's hard to describe many sports as exciting while you're flailing around in this extended learning period. There's nothing exciting and damn little rewarding in, say, golf or tennis while you're learning how to play them. There may be moments of satisfaction, elation even, but they are notable largely because they are exceptions to the rule of frustration and disappointment most of us feel with our game while we're learning to play it.

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