RIDGE WRITERS ON BOOKS: ’Trail Writers Guide’
By Anthony Becker
You’re a hiker. You love the wild, the freedom to explore and to enjoy nature. You have a million and one things you want to say about hiking, about your adventures. But where do you begin? Just how does one go about recording such breathtaking experiences?
“Trail Writer’s Guide,” by Cinny Green, is a fantastic romp through the landscape of a nature writer’s imagination. In each chapter, Green presents a concept related to the experience of hiking and the writing process. These include the ideas of discovery, conflict and resolution, place, character and dialogue.
Each chapter contains several writing prompts, challenging the reader to reflect on and record experiences he has had while exploring the great outdoors. These prompts cover a spectrum of writing techniques, from poetry and free association to journal keeping and paragraph revision.
For instance, Chapter Five contains the prompt to describe a time, during a hike or otherwise, when the reader experienced a sudden and unexpected complication in her plans. Then the reader is asked how she overcame this complication, and what lesson she learned from it. This kind of introspection is asked of readers of “Trail Writer’s Guide,” turning even the most casual of reads into opportunities for new insight and personal growth.
Meanwhile, to illustrate all of her wonderful ideas on hiking and writing, Green recounts the details of her own hiking adventures. An experienced hiker, she has traveled and hiked through a great deal of the Southwest. As she brings us along on each of her adventures, we see her grow as a hiker, from struggling along the Windy Pass trail in Colorado to tackling the Wild Cherry River trail by herself excepting Odetta, loyal canine, to narrowly escaping being trapped on the side of a mountain during an intense winter storm.
“Trail Writer’s Guide” is a book for the hiker of any age and level of experience. Its stories and prompts are inspirational and thought provoking. It can be read with multiple levels of involvement, taking the form of a simple reflection on the author’s adventures, a pick-me-up inspirational and writer’s block fix, or a full-fledged writing handbook. This multi-faceted nature is unique to the book and makes it the truly perfect adventuring-companion book. Take it with you into the mountains and let it be a catalyst in your creative process. Just remember your pencil and paper.
This weekly column is written by members of the Ridge Writers, the East Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club. Meetings are held the first Wednesday eve-ning of each month at Ridgecrest Presbyterian Church, and free programs are offered throughout the year. Ridge Writers’ book “Planet Mojave: Visions From a World Apart” is available at the Carriage Inn, Jawbone Station, the Historic USO Building, the Maturango Museum, Red Rock Books and online from www.planetmojave. com.Story First Published: 2013-04-03