Stepping into Adventure

The longer I stay in one place, the more my life looks like my pre-adventure life — internet, internet, and more internet. Not exactly exciting and way too familiar.

Although it might sound adventurous being the innkeeper pro tem of a bed and breakfast, in reality (my reality, that is), all I do is have a few friends over. Well, they’re not friends beforehand, but while they are under “my” roof, the guests are friends. I talk to them, fix them breakfast, then leave them to go about their business.

And I go back to the computer.

Whenever I have access to the internet, I do volunteer work for my publisher, mostly trying to herd my fellow authors into reciprocal promotions, and failing miserably. Most of them (or rather most of the unapathetic ones) seem stuck on the thought of doing reciprocal reviews on Amazon and won’t listen to the truth — reviews do no good if you can’t get people to go check out your books on Amazon, and reciprocal reviews are subject to being deleted since they are against Amazon’s rules. But hey, what do I know? I’ve only been researching book promotion for nine years and still haven’t managed to become a bestselling author.

The only real adventure I’ve had since being here at the B&B is falling down the stairs backward, and as painful and frightening as practically scalping myself and being stapled back together was, it was a heck of a lot more exciting than my online work.

After feeling like Frankenstein’s monster for ten days, I am now staple-free. The bruises are fading, and I am making friends with all the stairs in my current life. When my hip isn’t stiff and my knees allow, I hike up and down the stairs just for fun. Stairs have been absent from my life for a long time, so they have become rather an adventure of their own.

And I am trying something new — standing up to work at the computer. Sitting aggravates my hip, undoing all the work I go to in order to stretch my piriformis muscle, so I am trying to stand more and sit less. So far so good. My main problem is that standing makes it too easy to walk away, which, considering how frustrating my volunteer work gets, is not really a problem.

I will probably be leaving here Friday, making the long slow journey back to the high desert. Once I get there, I am planning on looking for a place to stay for a while, and if I find one, returning to dance class. If I can’t find a place? Continue adventuring, I guess.

That’s all I have — a guess. After months of traveling, I still have no clear idea of what my life is, what it is becoming, or even what I want it to be.

The only thing I have learned is the necessity for finding a solid footing before taking the next step into … wherever.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)


12 Responses to “Stepping into Adventure”

  1. Cicy Rosado Says:

    Well Girl I hope you find a place when you get back, we miss you in our dance group the show turned out nice not as many dancer’s this time but still a 2hr show!

  2. Katherine M Cundiff Says:

    They are some beautiful stairs aren’t they? Glad you are on the mend and enjoying the people who come into your life.

  3. mickeyhoffman Says:

    I guess if you have to fall down a staircase it might as well be a beautifully carved wooden one. I see the bible verse didn’t have any protective qualities however 😉

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It did set me free — in a free fall.

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  4. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    I think that in many ways, one’s life is what one likes to do and has a passion for, and possibly a talent for. When we say we are searching for that life, I wonder if we’re over-thinking it and/or ignoring the possibility that we may already have what we’re looking for. Change and new adventures are exciting; I’m among those who think they enhance our lives even though they’re probably not mandatory. My brother and his wife are going on a lengthy cross-country trip later this summer, though it probably has more plans and schedules than your trip. I think it will be a great experience for them as your trip (I hope) is for you. Suffice it to say, I’m not convinced that there are always epiphanies during or at the end of these trips. At my age, I am who I am, though my recent successful cancer surgery certainly influenced my opinions and way of looking at things. But I’m still the same “me” that I was before all that happened, though with new perspectives. Each day seems to bring new perspectives, great and small, but not a new me. My life is everything I’ve done up to this point and everything I still have left to do. There’s nothing “out there” for me to look for.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m not looking for myself, not looking for anything much, really. Just … looking. I’ve lived a fairly cloistered life, and the cloister isn’t enough anymore. I need something, though, something to fill the great yearning I’ve been left with since Jeff died. I want … but I don’t know what I want.

      I do think you are right about us always being who we are. Writing texts always talk about character arcs where the character makes a 180 degree turn, but the truth is, we are always who we are, and change comes in small areas, such as focus. And I have no focus anymore. If anything, what I might be looking for is focus. Or maybe a compass.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s possible that by not fighting my disinclination to write for the past few years, that when the time is right, I will again love writing. I am back to reading, and that’s where it started the first time.

      • Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

        I look forward to your return to writing, though the writing in these posts has been very enjoyable. I don’t trust stories where the characters make 180-degree turns because they’re seldom warranted and realistic. Sure, thing happen that way in “real life” sometimes, but they seem a bit forced when we try to do that in a novel.

        Focus and a compass: things we all need more often than we know. 🙂

  5. Trev Brown Says:

    Hello Pat

    I discovered your extraordinary blog yesterday and was up until 2.00 in the morning reading through your grief blog entries. I must congratulate you for doing this. I am tired of reading articles about grief – written by those who no doubt feel they are being wise, sensitive and unjudgmental – that merely throw out platitudes about everyone’s grief being different etc. This may be true but is of very little practical help – I have needed to read a real person’s experiences and a preview of what may lie ahead.

    I lost my wife to cancer in September 2013 and I have found it very beneficial to read through your experiences from the three-year period to the current day, so very much of what you describe rings true – the desire for adventure, and for something ‘more’ which you can’t quite define, and trying to make sense of a life on your own. I am 44 (about the same age as your VW, but not in such good condition!) and have this strange sense of being too old to start again and too young to just curl up and die. It is so very difficult to truly connect with people who have not had the same experience, and as you note in many of your blogs, the world is geared to couples. It is good to read someone truly articulating the extraordinary cocktail of feelings and emotions that grief seems to bring, and you should be proud of your work in documenting your personal experiences.

    I will continue to follow your adventures with the greatest of interest, and wish you the very best for the future.

    Trev Brown

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      So sorry you’ve had to join this terrible club. You were both so young. So unfair.

      It gets easier . . . and not. I figured out that the emptiness/yearning/grief/pain isn’t as deep for me anymore, but it is wider. (Like a spilled glass of water.) It makes it both easier at times, and yet just as pervasive.

      I know what you mean about grief articles not ringing true — it’s why I had to tell the truth. I couldn’t stand the misconceptions and platitudes.

      Thank you for your very kind words. Best of luck in finding that something more.

  6. frederick anderson Says:

    Pat, there’s so much in your experience I cannot match, but in this one regard I do – I, too, am a wanderer. Although I should have roots, a marriage (happy or otherwise) and a role to play, I have never really found them. Nevertheless – good old Pandora – I still have hope; and that keeps me smiling. For what, we don’t know, I mostly think we shouldn’t know where we are going, because we might not like the answer; but oh, the glory of the ride! The best of luck, whichever course you plan. I’m sure your roads, like mine, will finally lead you home.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I think you’re right about the inadvisability of knowing where we are going. ultimately, of course, we know we will end up in the grave (or the funerary urn) but until then . . . what a ride. I don’t need to know a long-term destination, but I do need to settle somewhere for the summer. Driving an old VW in hellish weather is not safe. It’s too sleep-inducing.

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