1 Out on a Wire | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

Out on a Wire

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“Don’t listen to those who say ‘you taking too big a chance.’ Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says they are all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections.” I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts—and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live—the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects.”

– Neil Simon

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Last week I was bouncing around on the UBC Canopy Walk and today I hung out on the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

One might think there is a theme emerging…perhaps these are metaphorical excursions, signs from the heavenly firmament to take risks, go out on a limb, out on a wire, kick open the cage, or at the very least, to walk a less certain and solid path.

And to that end, I am starting to think about packing for my writing retreat in Oaxaca, Mexico. What I am not going to pack is any expectations.

Yesterday someone asked me what I hoped to accomplish at the residency.  I was deliberately vague with my answer because I really have no idea what might come of this and I don’t want to fix any outcome in my mind.

The time in Oaxaca may be where either something comes to life or I might simply, and finally, let it go.

I do not know.

I have no idea what spending three-weeks alone at a writer’s residency in Oaxaca is going to look like. But my plan is to “follow a path that interests me…” and I am doing it with the notion that I will not make “sucess or failure the criteria by which I live.”

It’s a good thing I’ve been doing the wobbly walk on those suspended paths…I think it will prove to have been good practise.

Capilano suspension bridge.


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8 Responses
  1. Gwen Morrison says:

    So exciting!! Can’t wait to hear about it.

  2. Colleen Friesen says:

    I’m excited too Gwen and very curious to see how it goes. I’ll be posting updates :)

  3. Karen says:

    All my life I have thought that everyone was prettier, smarter, thinner ect…..now (that I am 51) I no longer think that way. I feel smart, pretty and thin. How I seem to others makes no difference to me anymore. Yes, something has changed all right! Something has shifted, snapped, moved and a break through has occurred.
    Thanks Colleen for the great reminder. Let’s all keep moving. Someone asked me today, if my life was a boat how do the waters look? I replied, smooth sailing with small gusts of wind and stormy waters! Ha! They didn’t get it. Have a safe and wonderful journey. I expect, anticipate, and down right know you will experience something! :-D

  4. Colleen Friesen says:

    Karen, the waters can be choppy, dark and rough and then sometimes there are those illuminating moments where the phosphorescence makes everything glowing and magical.
    I love the idea of life as a boat. Thanks for that one…
    I know what you mean about no longer worrying how I might seem to others. I think my new bumper sticker might have to be, ‘Love me or Leave me the hell alone!
    It took a ridiculously long time to get to this place where I think I’m pretty groovy. Certainly not perfect, but I sure do enjoy my own company (and I’m always guaranteed to be amused by my own jokes and running commentary). Ha!

  5. sarah says:

    The first writers retreat I went on, I felt like a fraud – especially at the dinner table with other, published, matriculated, WORKING writers. I slept too much, read, and poked around the old estate for two weeks. And wrote maybe five pages. It turned out to be exactly what I needed…

  6. Colleen Friesen says:

    Sarah. Thank you and bless you for sharing this story. I have a very real hunch that I’m going to be hanging on to your words!

  7. Catherine Clarke says:

    Colleen, I love the quote and yes I don’t worry about what others think of me. I have passed this stage a long time ago! Good luck with the writing whatever the outcome. Do what pleases you.

  8. Colleen Friesen says:

    “Do what pleases you.” Good and short and a perfect sentence to remember. Thanks Catherine!

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