Friday, August 15, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 31

Natural Bridge Caverns

Visit A Forest Or Other Wild Place

For months I’ve pondered ‘Visit A Forest Or Other Wild Place’ on my 52 Author Dates challenge list. And there was never a place wild enough to call me through the busyness of long writing days. I never imagined my Immersion Retreat with Margie Lawson in San Antonio, Texas, would deliver this Aussie writer into the perfect wild depths.

After a week of learning and networking at the RWAmerica conference, my head held just enough active brain cells for a deep editing week. I wrote about my first Immersion with Margie here, last year. I knew what to expect (sort of) for this second experience, and it DID NOT fail to deliver. (Thanks, Margie. You're the best!) 

But when we packed away the coloured pens, Texas beckoned. With a Wild Place so off the map, God hid it. Underground. 

With fellow 'cavewomen' Margie Lawson and Marjorie Brody 

Natural Bridge Caverns is one of the world’s premiere show caverns, and one of the most popular attractions in Texas. Margie and my Immersion hostess, Marjorie, took me on an adventure to this natural playground.

I’d never roamed caves before. I know we have them in Victoria, but like many tourists, I explored the cavernous depths of another country to find stalactites and stalagmites for the first time.

Natural Bridge Caverns
The author in me was charged to write a scene with one of my protagonists IN the wild place of my choosing. Trapped perhaps. Fighting to escape. Lost. Or deliberately missing.

Perhaps someday I will write that scene. 

For now, it’s enough my jet-lagged body experienced the most intense, bone-melting humidity I've ever known... In. Those. Caves. (And I've lived in Bangkok, people!) 

It's enough we blinked away a thin stream of cave water, dripping from the roof into our hair and faces, tapping us on the shoulder in a dim lit other world.

And it's more than enough I fretted over how late I might arrive at the airport and if I'd miss my flight home... because I'd been too busy playing Tom Sawyer. 

One day, I will return to the memory of this author date. Not just to remember the buried treasure of a thousand plus year’s of slow growing mineral formations.

Natural Bridge Caverns
I will return to remember it’s a writer’s obligation to step into the beauty of an unwelcoming place, if I am to find the words to write about beauty... even in the unwelcoming.