I am a true April Taurus—earthbound, practical, stubborn and temperamental. My life is ruled by fear. In true “bull” fashion, I tend to meet it head-on. It’s what drives me, not a weakness but a motivator.
I’ve always been a tomboy, preferring horses to boys growing up. I belonged to the Wilderness Challenge Club in high school (Wisconsin Academy in Columbus, WI). Whitewater rafting, caving, rappelling, canoeing, if it meant sunburn, mosquitoes and getting dirty—that was where you’d find me. Very glamorous stuff. Now, I’ve always been afraid of heights. Like—freeze atop a 6-ft ladder scared of heights. We won’t even mention airplanes. Sedatives. LOTS of sedatives…
So, the first time I went rappelling was at Devil’s Lake, from atop Devil’s Rock. Guarded by all manner of…rattlesnakes. Saw two, sunning on the rocks. So there I was on a snake-infested rock atop the world. Beautiful view. Wasted on a sixteen-year-old in a cold sweat. See, the secret to rappelling is to WALK down the rock face. Anyone who’s walked across a floor knows the easiest way to do that is to be perpendicular to the floor surface. So if the floor surface is almost entirely vertical, that means the walker gets to be the one who’s…horizontal. And that translates into standing backwards at the edge of a cliff, the true ground several hundred feet below, and LEANING back against a rope-and-nylon-harness-affair into thin air until you’re lying down on NOTHING—and then walk down the wall.
Sure. Uh huh. (Never said I was a BRIGHT kid. Well, okay, I was. Straight A nerd.) And Mr. Snyder was right there like some hairy bearded cheerleader from Buffy saying stupid things like, “It’s easy. You can do this. Nothing stops you. Just leeeeeean back and walk down.”
But it was my best friend stating “Don’t be such a chicken shit” that got me going. Okay, it took me 20 minutes of whimpering like a toy poodle in a thunderstorm before I leaned back enough to start walking. Reaching the bottom to more Buffy reject cheering felt like conquering Mount Everest.
That’s how I tackle life. I let fear motivate me into moving, defeating, conquering. It can either stop you or get you going. Being a Taurus, stubbornness gets me a long way through life. As a writer I try to let the quality bleed off into my characters. Set them up against a bad situation some would consider impossible, but the character just takes a deep breath, says “Who if not me?” and forges on to start, to try. And so the stories go.
Fantasy Romance Author Renee Wildes writes the “Guardians of Light” series for Samhain Publishing. She lives in central WI with hubby, 2 kids, a calico cat, a black Chow, and 2 half-Arab mares. She still considers herself a tomboy, although she hasn’t hoofed it down Devil’s Rock in years. Nowadays, writing, reading and scrapbooking occupy her time—when she’s not prying her kids out of a tree or off the roof… Her latest book, Dust of Dreams, comes out in paperback on June 8, 2011. Riever’s Heart will be out in ebook on Sept. 27, 2011.
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