Thursday, June 05, 2008

Where Did You Go?

When I was starting out as a writer, I used to attend a lot of genre writers conventions. Weird little gatherings for weird little folk who wrote weird little tales. After some time, I realized that I didn't care for 99% of the folk who came to these things.

The awards ceremonies were sometimes fun, but the political circle jerks that led up to the issuing of these awards sickened me. Year after year I would receive letters and phone calls and (after computers became commonplace) emails lobbying me for my support for this writer or that novel or this short story. It made me sick. Year after year I would see undeserving work winning awards that meant absolutely nothing, save that some writer had a lot of friends whom he had swabbed so effectively.

It's no wonder I stopped going to these "conventions". As I got older and began to see the natural world dissolving around me, I decided that what I really needed to do was get back out into the outdoors a lot more often to experience the wild places that I loved before they were all paved over or cut down or just generally wiped off the map in an orgy of human destruction. So, I stopped going to writers conventions and started spending a lot more time traveling to places where I could swim in clean waters, climb to roadless summits, and walk in virgin forests. These places are becoming more rare with each passing second. Every time we blink we lose a forest somewhere.

Sometimes I bump into some writer I used to know (usually online) and they ask me where I've been and why I don't come to this or that gathering anymore. I try to be polite, usually, but mainly I'm honest and tell them that I reached a point where I couldn't stand to be there anymore. These same folk don't know what to say when I tell them what I've been doing instead of standing around watching a bunch of disingenuous fops pretend that they're somehow important. They don't understand how I can expend the calories to hike to the top of a mountain. It's beyond their ken.

Instead of attending those writers gatherings, I go hiking. I climb mountains. I watch wild animals, who are far more interesting and far more worthwhile in the scheme of things than some pandering wanna-Stoker asswipe. One thing that I like to do when I'm in a particular area of the country is to climb that area's highest point. Sometimes the hike is very easy, and sometimes it's a long and difficult undertaking. There are even clubs that do this, much like there are gathering places for passionless writers.

I'm heading up to New England later this year. I want to climb some mountains in Maine, principally, but I also was thinking of hitting some other areas. One thing that I find disturbing in the East is that most states have rammed roads to their highest points, spoiling them almost beyond repair with automobile access and parking lots and summit construction. Case in point being Mount Washington and Clingman's Dome and Brasstown Bald and Mount Mitchell...well, I could go on.

But I was pleasantly surprised to see that, for reasons that are temporary, there is no automobile access to the summit of
Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusettes. Unfortunately, the foot-travel only access is temporary. But enjoy it while you can, folk. I may take the time to do so, just so that I can see what it's like to stand there without having to worry about the constant arrival of endless numbers of lazy Americans driving to a place where access should be strictly on foot.

Ah, if only the road closure was made permanent. If only you worthless car-driving assholes were forced to walk up.


Learn to hike, you lazy bastards!


dogboy443 said...

If you're coming to New England, you better be stopping my Case de Masztal!

HemlockMan said...

Well, we're definitely hitting Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Possible trips afield from there include Freeport and Camden and perhaps far northern ME. We're contemplating a trip to Greylock, but not sure.