Its February 3, 2022. Winter is here. Just about anywhere you might find yourself in the contiguous United States it is cold. I hope you are warm and safe. I am.
I sit by my little wood stove with a roaring fire snapping and popping, warming our home. I just went out into the predawn darkness and gathered an armful of wood. The snow depth is impressive, I couldn’t help but go back out and measure. My guess of fourteen inches of snow in twenty-four hours was off a little. The tape measure sinks deep into the frozen delicate snowflakes sixteen- and one-half inches. I shudder at how cold I am after just these few moments. I quickly head back in as the eastern sky is just beginning to lighten revealing a heavy moisture laden sky. A few flakes drift here and there, more snow is sure to come today. I check the digital temperature readouts on my outdoor game cameras from my tablet. One degree Fahrenheit. This snow will be here in the meadows and orchards for weeks.
Yes, it is full on winter in the high mountains of New Mexico. You may recognize my language from this term I use in my novels. The mountains here are high. The elevation where our home was built is over seven thousand feet above sea level. The mountains just to our west rise over twelve thousand feet in height. This is the kind of day that is made for writing. I love living here. It is a spiritual, inspirational place to live out our days. Sitting in a comfortable chair my coffee cup steaming, my little fire crackling in the dim light…I feel blessed.
My novels have topped the charts for a few months now. I am surprised that so many have been blessed by my storytelling. All first-time authors I suppose dream of grandiose success and all that might go with that. However, I continue to learn about the publishing world, and expenses. It is highly competitive and can be very disappointing, or heart wrenching might be a better word. It may be years before the right person reads my work. I have friends who have written beautiful words and stories only to sell a very few copies. I tell them “Don’t give up, be patient,” but I wonder about my own patience. Patience is a lesson that we all continue to attempt to learn and understand. Patience, I am attempting to learn, again. I realize the truth of what one of my characters William Daklugie (Grandfather) has said, “Patience is learned only by its need within a person’s life.” Amen.
I read thru a few reviews that came in overnight. I am again, moved at some of the comments. Thank you. People seem to escape into the world of my writing, and I am glad for that. That is the entire point of storytelling what I call “reader’s escape.” I’m troubled by one reader’s words, “You better get this book now before we are not allowed to buy it.”
And so, this is the world we live in. Folks are afraid. Afraid of an overreaching government, another lockdown, a job loss, another mandate...perhaps even the inability to buy and enjoy a particular book. I do not understand that level of fear. It seems very far away from the warm fire and deep snow outside my window. Yet, it is real.
In these troubled, difficult days an escape into a great novel, a work that you can see and feel even experience the emotions of the characters, which is what we, as writers, attempt to accomplish and bring to our readers, that is what I will fill this day attempting to do.
Author another story that might take you far, very far, from the latest news…that may not even be true. I will choose this day to enjoy the gifts that surround me and make my life rich and full. In this quiet inspirational time, I will write a few chapters today.
It is very satisfying to hear from many of you that are experiencing “readers escape” as you enjoy my work.
I pray you are warm and safe wherever you are, and more than anything I pray that you are unafraid.
Steven G. Hightower