Sample Writing

"Women Who Climb Walls"
(Beautiful British Columbia, Spring, 97)
Finalist, Western Magazine Awards

Women Who Climb Walls  magazine layout

My shoes are pretty snazzy -- lime green and burgundy. First pair of rock shoes I've ever crammed my feet into. I wear them without socks, of course, so my bare toes will feel every wrinkle in the rock, will get intimate with the granite. Like Cinderella with her glass slippers, I am transformed in these rock shoes. No longer a 44-year-old mother packing extra pounds, I am an agile monkey, a vertical ballerina -- a rock climber.

Actually, I am one of five women taking an introductory rock climbing course for women.

Bold with success, I tie in for the 5.9 climb. Nelson, who has just completed it herself, sets up the belay. Slowly I rise up the wall, my roving fingertips feeling for small holds, my heels pushing down to maximize contact with the rock.... I am becoming attuned to the possibilities for friction, balance, and prayer. "Go inside yourself," Adams had said this morning, and finally, I am there. I am focussed on the rock and my kinestheic response to it.

Suddenly my foot slips and I scrabble to regain my hold, exhaling to keep down the surge of panic. I'm near the top but I'm stuck, shaking with "sewing machine legs," starting to lose it. No longer engrossed in the Zen of inner climbing, I'm now about six metres up a rock wall and about to fall off. "Tension!" I call to Nelson.

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