May 05 2014

Search and Rescue Week

It wasn’t an official Search and Rescue week this time, but last week certainly seemed like it for me! I’ve had busier weeks with SAR before thanks to long, complex search/rescues, but never with so much diversity.

On Monday, I got a call from a television producer friend who just began pre-production for a SAR documentary. So much for saving the best for last, that’s actually my favorite announcement, and it’ll be fun to contribute and see the finished product, possibly sometime this fall.

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Oct 15 2013

October Update

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Swimming in Yosemite

A lot has changed since I last wrote, so in case I don’t get around to posting all the trip reports for this summer, here’s a quick overview:

1. I Quit Teaching.

I enjoyed teaching, but quitting is a very good thing, and I’ll tell you why. If you went to college, you were probably taught by many adjunct faculty. This means someone not on tenure track taught your class for a fraction of what “full time” faculty earn. Recent research shows students learn more from these instructors, but they usually don’t get offices or benefits, and they either have second jobs, like commuting to another college or university to teach there as well, or maybe it’s a successful business person who teaches one class per week, or live in their car and have no living expenses.

Anyway, farewell, Utah Valley University. It was fun meeting all you students, and I’m glad that you learned something and even learned to like writing a little better (or hate it less), but I’m happy to be through with that career. Onward & upward.

2. I went on lots of awesome trips!

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Group shot in Yosemite. Good times!

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May 04 2013

Winter’s Memory

Published by under Photos,Poetry

IMG_3293Winter winds down
and it’s been too long
since I shut myself off from the cold, cold world.

I drew my breath
all the way down to my roots,
buried myself in the frozen earth,
hidden from sight and
safe from the sting
of a world with such
a distant sun.

I knew I’d return
when the sunshine came home,
and now that spring has sprung,
and longer days have begun,
I can’t roll out of bud
quickly enough.

Once I’ve fully emerged
and spread myself wide
to dance in the sky and
fly in the breeze;
once the summer sun is splashing down,
feeding me from above,
filling me with love;
then the cold winter days
will be gone and forgotten.

The distant past
will no longer matter –
except for the memory
that I can’t quite escape,
and my knowing
that the short days,
the cold winds,
the quiet death will return
at summer’s end.

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May 04 2013

Dandillion

Published by under Photos,Poetry

IMG_3243

The children didn’t mind
me when I filled their fields
with tiny yellow starbursts
for as far as the eye could see.

I grew toward the sun and no one
looked away nor sighed nor
wondered what to do with me.

But the flower of my youth has gone
leaving me to carry on.
I’m old and gray and
One day soon
a gentle breeze
will blow me away.

 

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Dec 21 2012

Nothing

Published by under News, Views & Insights

After finishing grading early this week, and after working 19 hours the last day of it, I determined to do as close to nothing as possible the next day, and I did a pretty good job of it.

I went for a hike in the snow, watched a movie, visited friends, and waited to recover from several months of mostly working nonstop night and day. I don’t know how long it will take, but it’s nice to have the free time to slow down and try to recover.

I woke up before sunrise this morning and tried to go back to sleep, which failed; and tried not to get up, which succeeded until I thought of too many things I wanted to do. I got up and successfully stopped myself from doing most of them, only doing the most pressing.

In the spirit of trying to do nothing, I will now end this post.

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Dec 10 2012

Snowfall

Published by under Photos

The snow fell so hard around me
- obscuring the path a few steps ahead,
hiding the invisible future from view -
that it seemed only right
to walk away into it
until a path appeared.

I ducked my chin into my collar
and kept the wind at my back
My eyes fell
on the snowy ground,
and feet stepped forward
again and again
with no idea where
my steps would lead.

I walked to the end of the road
and did not slow down
and did not turn around
and did not question where I was going
because I already knew
there are no simple answers.

As for the past
that brought me here,
it hardly matters anymore.
How can something
so dead and gone
give me anything steady
to lean on now?

When I had walked farther
than I planned
or wanted,
I turned around
and followed my tracks homeward
until they disappeared
under the falling, drifitng snow.

I have no future and now,
I also have no past.

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Dec 02 2012

Firewood

Published by under Photos

For thirty years,
you drank sunlight from the sky,
sucked water from the earth,
and turned a tiny seed
into a towering giant.
Your leaves cast cool shadows
all summer long,
and winter lulled you into a fitful sleep
year in, year out.
 
When the chainsaw bit through your side,
your own weight dragged thirty years
down to the dying leaves you shed.
 
I’ll cut you into pieces now
and shove you in my stove.
I’ll set a match to kindling,
knowing that you can’t resist
the lure of yellow flame;
the compulsion to become the same;
to shine and decay 
and fade quickly away
into nothing
but ash.
 
Soon the only thing left to be forgotten
will be heat and light,
falling quickly apart
growing dim
in the darkness,
scattering,
lost throughout the universe.
 
 
 
 
 

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Nov 30 2012

November News

Published by under News, Views & Insights

Here are a few quick updates on what my life is about these days.

1. Grading papers

After finishing writing The Art of Heart, it was time to catch up on grading. I spent most of the Thanksgiving break reviewing a draft of my students’ final papers and recording an average of 10 minutes of commentary and suggestions for revision. I spent over half an hour on each paper, and with nearly 100 students…by the time I finished that – getting nearly all of them done within a week – my brain came within seconds of exploding.

Since then I took a “break” and have been grading simple assignments, then began again on other papers, also simpler than their finals. I think I will live, but probably have two more long days of grading left to catch up, which sometimes I can barely stand (I need a real break!), and then their final papers start coming in. I’ll have two weeks to finish those, and I don’t have to provide feedback, so some balance will be restored to the force.

2. New camera.

I needed something to shoot better video than my camcorders, so I got it. I’m excited to start cranking out all kinds of material in the near future, and you’ll see some of it here. You’ll see more of it at The University of Life and elsewhere.

The primary goals are to: A. provide a ton of beautiful, inspiring, insightful material to make the world a better place, and B. drive traffic to my sites that will hopefully result in more book sales. That’s how I justify the time and expense of doing what I always wanted to do most.

One idea is this: take cool photos and caption them with snippets of poetry and such. For example:

“I am the river, you are the sky. Travelers may dip their cup as I flow past, but only you see the whole of me. Every time you shine on me, I lose tiny shards of self that rise through the air to meet you; and you – when you look down at me, you only see yourself.” – Shaun Roundy

 

No, I didn’t take that photo, that’s by Kacper Kowalski. I haven’t taken one yet. I want to make the first one good. It’s like getting a new credit card, how I always tried to buy a book to break it in.

3. Books

I made four figures from book sales again this month, thanks largely to my Christmas books and Search and Rescue book. It’s a start. I’m through writing for the moment – too much else to do – and will wait to decide on my next project until it settles in naturally. 

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Nov 24 2012

Christmas Books Trilogy Finished

Last Saturday night, I finished writing the Courage, Love and the Meaning of Christmas trilogy.

The Art of Heart is the new title for book three (originally announced as “A Fall from Heaven”) and follows The Perfect Gift, picking up the story one year later.

This is definitely the best book of the series. It’s engaging, insightful, and has plenty of adventure, romance, breathtakingly beautiful and impressive moments, and of course all the plot twists typical of this series. It’s also over 100 pages longer than the first two.

From my perspective, what I’ll remember is how darn long it took to write! :) I’ve had the basic storyline written out in my head for years, and much of the detail written down well, for years, just not as many, but it still took writing day and night for months to let everything finally settle into place.

It was interesting to notice how the plot took on a life of its own, and how events often turned out differently than planned – and how that always turned out better than my outline. It was also interesting to notice how the characters would say things, as I typed out the dialog, that I had never thought of before, and how they came up with some pretty good ideas!

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Nov 05 2012

Christmas Books

If you think Christmas begins early for you, just imagine how much earlier it kicks in for an author of Christmas books!

Last year, my first Christmas book, Courage, Love and the Meaning of Christmas, reached as high as #412 in books on Amazon.com, which is the top one-fifth of one percent of all books. Not bad! Its sequel also reached the top 1% of books.

Well this year in 2012, I’m hoping not just for a repeat, but to do even better, partly because I’m writing furiously to finish the third and final book in the series. I’ve been working on it off and on for three years now, and for the past many weeks, that means often writing from dawn till well after dark.

I’m hoping to finish this week. It’s coming along well, but there’s still plenty of work left, so we’ll see. I’ll announce it on ChristmasNovels.com and Facebook.com/ChristmasNovels when it comes out, and I’ll eventually let you know here how it goes!

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