Writing as an Extreme Sport

Posted on Posted in Personal and Fun Stuff, The Writing Life

I have recently seen a documentary on the mountaineer,base jumper and SlackLiner Dean Potter who is a specialist in walking on lines strung across canyons and high level mountain peaks… without a pole and without a safety net.

Now I know that some authors might have a SLIGHT Problem with high level ‘ gaping void beneath their feet’ situations – not looking at any one in particular of course Debs – but the more I think about it, the more I think that there are parallels in what these guys – and some gals – do for the adrenaline rush.


For me, writing is sometimes like SlackLining between two mountain peaks where I am walking on a narrow ribbon of bouncing nylon in bare feet with nothing between me and certain death except:

* Craft and training

* Self-belief and self knowledge

* You know the fear, you feel the fear, and that fear is paralysing and terrifying and exhilarating – and you step onto that narrow line and you do it anyway.

Dean Potter is actually extremely shy and lives a reclusive life in the Yosemite mountains and he freely admits that when he is standing on the side of the rock and takes off the safety line, every cell in his body is telling him to get himself off this mountain and down to a safe place.

Here is how Dean describes his motivation:

I just want them to understand that it’s absolutely not for adrenaline-junkie reasons that I do it. It brings me silence and peace, and I come closer to the pure me. What I call the ‘death consequence’ removes all the other forces, the lesser motivations, the ambitions and the competitive feelings. They fall away and then there’s just that primary motivation, which is staying alive. It’s so pure.”

In The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran says something about perfection only being reached by stripping something to the point of nakedness,” …. “That’s the ultimate project—the naked climber doing the greatest climb.”

The naked climber doing the greatest climb.

Oh yes. I get that. :-)


One thought on “Writing as an Extreme Sport

  1. i can relate to that. I think competition can be negative but it is so ingrained in our society that people forget that they dont have to be like that. Slacklining is a great way to enjoying being on your own and in the outdoors. At one with the elements and the rush you get when you get to the otherside and have survived makes you feel so thankful! i totally understand what you are saying! Thanks!

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