Quiet morning in rural Tennessee on the back deck of The Five Star Lodge, the location again for this year’s Colander photo shoot. Nothing but me and a cup of coffee, with a bunch of birds (mostly woodpeckers) as background noise.
So good to be back. Walking into the lodge yesterday just felt so much like coming home, like I had left last year’s photo shoot just yesterday. These people are like family to me. I was telling some of my Portland friends last week that I could see myself coming back for just a few years as a writer since it *is* a week of vacation I have to burn to come here, and I think it’d be fair to give another person a chance to be a writer and have the opportunity to come back to “colon camp” and contribute to the Colander. There are more than a few good writers in the Colander family.
But after walking in the door last night … I think it may be awhile before I give this up. Being a writer for the Colander is my lone serious volunteer activity, and I enjoy giving back to this very worthy cause, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get anything personally out of this for me.
The last six months have been pretty busy/hectic/stressful for me, with work and training, and this is a welcome break. A year ago I had just started piecing some aspects of my life back together, and was frayed at the edges. This year, I’m in such a better place, I’m happy with where my life is and where my life is heading, but still, there’s much for me to take away from this trip.
Being around another group of amazing survivors (it’s unfortunate we only get to pick 12 — there’s so many other that deserve to be here), along with survivors I’ve gotten to know from previous years just, for lack of a better word, centers me. It restores my perspective on what’s important in life, and inspires me to be a better person and life a better life. To not focus on the small things in everyday “real life” that seem so important at the time and take up your entire field of view, and to step back, blink a few times, take in the bigger picture, and see how the small things are just that — small things.
So, it may be a little while before I give this up.
Last night was the calm before the storm. Just a dozen or so of us catching up before we get down to business. Good times. Today we finish getting things ready for the models. They show up en masse this afternoon and then we get down to it. In the end, this is all about raising colorectal cancer awareness by putting together the Colandar for 2016, which is put together from scratch, which means there is some serious work to do.
As a writer, I’m responsible for writing the stories for four of the models this year. I think I only get 700-800 words for each one, which doesn’t sound like a lot (and you’re right — it isn’t), but for me it’s difficult writing. Technical writing can flow out of me like nobody’s business, and legal writing is starting to come to me after doing it for eight years, but this kind of writing. It’s hard. I can get there, and I’m usually pretty happy with the final product, but it takes time. My brain just isn’t naturally wired for this kind of creative, fluid story telling. Makes me appreciate those who write for a living.
That being said, with all that writing ahead, I need to review the applications of the models that I’ll be writing for. Take some advantage of this quiet time.