Author Kim Siegelson and I went hiking the other day. She's a member of a hiking club in Atlanta and knows all sorts of fun, unknown gems. She goes regularly as she says it clears her head and calms her nerves. It used to do that for me too when I lived in Chattanooga, but I haven't been hiking in ages. (Not since my woodsy excursion at Highlights Foundation at Boyds Mills.) In fact, I was thrilled to pull out my old hiking boots - the ones I wore on our honeymoon, hiking through Kenya. As you'll see, those didn't work out so well.
Kim and I used to have a critique group together - the Cheese Whizzes. We met for a few years before graduations, colleges, moves and general mayhem made it like herding cats to get together. Some of us meet up for stuff now and then, but I miss my cheese whizzes.
It's winter here in Georgia, which means drizzly, gray and dreary cold. But I love winter hiking. Your body warms up quickly, you seldom run into other hikers, there are no bugs or snakes, and the views go on forever. In no time, I was back into the swing of it. We saw deer (who ran across our path), a great blue heron, cormorants, ducks, and beautiful scenery!
It's wasn't sunny when we got to Laurel Creek, so Kim shared a photo from a previous hike:
While we hiked, Kim and I talked about writing, of course, about retreats and goals and challenges. We've both reached most of our publishing goals (except for the BIG awards), so it's a matter of 'what now?' Kim likes to challenge herself with different writing styles like flash fiction and such. I like writing and illustrating without tremendous pressure - everything is gravy from here on out! But we both agreed we want folks to enjoy our work, for our peeps to respect what we create, to do a good job with our craft.
We stopped at a bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee River to soak in the view - Atlanta is in the background.
Writing isn't just about the act itself, it's also about the life that surrounds it. I've found that most writers are very interested people - all sorts of topics fire up their brains. So they are interesting people to be around. They also tend to have flexible schedules for the most part (when not on deadline, at which point you won't see them for months). I love getting together with my writer and illustrator friends - they keep me sane and feed my soul!
Click the image to see a larger version in a new window of this panoramic shot:
Speaking of soles (not souls)... yeah. The old hiking boots didn't hold up so well. The soles started coming apart a few miles in and just disintegrated from there.
I guess they won't be going to Edinburgh with me after all. *le sigh*
After our hike, we had lunch at Arepa Mia near Agnes Scott - delish. Then we popped into the bakery and a dress shop next door. Kim bought cupcakes, I bought a new dress. Truly, we did it all in a few short hours! What a fun get-together!