Stories that Matter

Don't Look Down…


So you probably know I’ve just released my novel. For the second time. If you’re a reader, you might think that’s cool and awesome and oh so much fun for me. If you’re a writer, you’re grinning. 

Because you know. You know that launching a book nowadays, whether Indie or through a traditional publisher, is pretty much like trying to scale Everest in a pair of flip-flops. And you’re either going to burn that rubber down to nothing or you’re going to rip those suckers off your feet and wing it…or…you’re going to give up. 

I can visualize that image quite clearly. Standing at the bottom of that enormous mountain, knowing there’s no way I’ll ever make it to the top. Knowing deep down, that to try is just stupid. Yet part of me rails at that sentiment. 

Stubborn. Tenacious. Call it what you will. But after all these years, something in me refuses to give up. 

This past week, I’ve been on vacation. We visited the beautiful state of Colorado to attend a very special wedding. I loved being there, saw a lot of friends, and truly enjoyed the beauty of that part of the country. It was a great time. Except for that one thing. One thing we did, stupidly or not, was take the drive up Pike’s Peak. 


I’m not fond of heights. I don’t do roller coasters. I just kind of avoid these pulse pounding, heart stopping kind of moments. But it’s the grand attraction in Colorado Springs – the ‘don’t you dare miss this!’ moment. And my husband (who is terrified of heights), was convinced we just had to do it. 

This image is actually from a decent height. It got worse as the road narrowed, the tree line disappeared and the air got thinner. Considering my husband, (who is terrified of heights), was driving the car, all things considered I’d say the fact we survived was a miracle in and of itself. 

But the view from the top? 



Pretty spectacular. 

I’m not sure either of us would choose to do it again. But in that moment, freezing and breathing 12% oxygen compared to our usual 21%, a tiny part of me said this was worth it

Because I know. I know I probably will never do this again. And that this memory will count. It will stay with me. It will say, “Been there, done that.” Boo yah. 

And sometimes…that’s all we can shoot for. 

As it is with this book. 

I’ll take that drive, treacherous as it may be. I’ll take the risk that I might careen off that cliff at the next hairpin turn. Because if I don’t…I have a feeling the view from the top is going to be pretty spectacular. And while I might be able to say, “Been there, done that,” I think this time is different. This time it’s a new view. New challenges to be sure, but new opportunities. 


But life is all about taking risks, isn’t it?  Making the most of what we’ve been given.

And finding joy at 14,110 freaking feet. 

God, help us to find joy in the terrifying moments of our lives. 

Where have you found joy lately? 



  1. Jenelle. M on September 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    This is going to sound so lame compared to Pikes Peak, which rocked btw, but I don’t care. This morning I was thinking that if someone asked me the very question you just posed I would tell them grinding my own coffee beans. Goodnight, so flippin good. My Mom gave me a small grinder and I was like dang, look what I’ve been missing all this time? And I was a baritsa for goodness sakes. The best part of waking up? Is definitely not Folders in my cup.
    It doesn’t take long, it smells delicious, and my coffee tastes better. It’s a win, win, win. I’m a simpleton by nature, and have no problem sharing this happy happy new found, small discovery that brings me joy and smiles early in the morning 🙂

  2. Cathy West on September 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    🙂 Coffee always brings me joy! And fresh ground is the best. We need a new grinder though. Ours makes a big mess so I don’t tend to use it. Hey, I’ll bring you some Nicaraguan coffee when I see you in Monterey!!

  3. Dixie on September 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Wow, Cathy…just released my 2nd book this week and this so resonates with me…it is so right on and only another author truly gets it. It is a journey like none other and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and uncertainties as to what happens now…

    • Cathy West on September 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      And all we can do is our best, then sit back and enjoy the ride! Thanks for reading, Dixie!

Leave a Comment