In the distance, it isn’t obvious. A simple gash across the landscape, a ribbon of earth in a wave of green and gold vegetation. Yet that undulating ribbon is as deep and majestic as the distant mountains, an 800-foot-deep gash into a volcanic plateau, humbling in its grandeur.
The hills are not stone, as I thought.
They are loose mud carrying a slurry of rock pudding, individual stones like blueberries in a sea of chocolate mousse.
I thought the high desert an arid, primordial place, where surfaces are solid. But they are strangely fluid.
An excerpt from a writing exercise, “First Impressions,” at the Lama Institute, Taos
It seems like an eternity ago, but at the beginning of this month I made good on a couple of promises to myself: to start taking my fiction seriously, and to visit Taos. Luckily, both converged at a nexus that involved my cousin Sean Murphy, who with his wife Tania Casselle is living the writer’s life that I’ve always dreamed, spending days in the desert sun in a remote conservation area spinning yarns for your reading pleasure.
Sean and Tania run regular writer’s workshops (in fact, they met at one), and I attended “Writing from the Ground Up,” with a great group of go-getters. The landscapes, the teachers, and the camaraderie in the group inspired. It all went by too fast. I’m pleased to report that, although my volume of work is overwhelming, I am taking time to write, and am getting together with fellow writers to share. It feels right. This is Sean with the Rio Grande Gorge in the background. Go check out his website. His books are great, not to mention award-winning!