Monday, August 5, 2013

A Grand Canyon of Distraction

A few weeks ago, Ben and I decided to take our eight-month old, Brahm, on a little weekend excursion to the Grand Canyon. Summers are a little *warm* in the desert, and the only possible way to survive them is to either (1) stay inside or (2) leave. Since we'd been doing our fair share of the former, we opted for the latter.

You may or may not know that the elevation of the Grand Canyon averages about 8000ft (or 2500m for my metric friends), so the 30 degree drop in temperature was FABULOUS.

We drive there. We park our car, grab Brahm and our cameras and walk to the rim. Now, I've been to the Grand Canyon once before with my family when I was about, oh, fifteen? Even so, nothing quite prepares you for the magnitude of it. Just when you think you've found the bottom, you realize it cuts even farther, and you may - if you find just the right vantage point - spot a sliver of the Colorado River below. The canyon is grand in every sense of the word and inspires a few moments of silent awe.

Or at least it should.

But, no. I took one look at it and started telling Ben how I wanted to arrange a family photo. Ben just kinda looked at me. He did not understand my photographical impatience - it wasn't like the Grand Canyon was going anywhere. He wanted a few moments to just...look.

Oh, that.

You mean, just sit an ENJOY looking at something without immediately reaching for my phone so that I can text a photo to someone.

I've apparently formed a pretty bad habit. There are so many things I've allowed to "demand" my attention, and sometimes those things prevent me from appreciating the here and now. I was so concerned about recording the experience that I forgot to just experience.

Especially now with a boy of almost nine-months, I find my attention diverted more than ever.
I mean, the kid's mouth is like a black hole - anything within a five foot radius seems to find its way into it. So, yeah. CONSTANT VIGILANCE. But he is allowed to take my attention. Social media is not.

In a way, it's similar to writing. I always love reaching the point in a draft where I can edit away the clutter - the distractions - where the words no longer get in the way and the story can finally shine through. But I know to look for it in my drafts; I don't always know to look for it in my life.

It was an "Ah ha!" moment for me. (I seem to be having those a lot, lately.) There are so, so many things vying for our attention in this technologically connected world. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, Goodreads, Pinterest, blahblahblahblahblah... While I love the connectedness (shoot, most of my writer-friends I've met through the world wide web!), it also comes with its downsides, and for me, it's failing to shut off that connectedness when I should. Be here. Live now. Nothing reminds me more of this than seeing the rate our little boy is growing and changing. He's crawling everywhere, and I feel like we brought him home from the hospital yesterday.

I think it will always present a challenge for me. I'm not sure what the solution is or if there really is one. Like everything in life, it is a balance and balance seems to require an exhaustive amount of attention, care, and reevaluation.

Do any of you deal with this?

We did manage to get some photos, though :D I mean - it was Brahm's first "vacation"! It's the only proof he'll ever have that he was there.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, here's where Gaia #3 is at...  I have been BUSY BUSY working on it. It's almost beta-ready (thanks again, guys!! Could NOT do this without you!!), then I'm giving it to my BRILLIANT editor in October (Laura, you're amazing) so that it can be out by Thanksgiving! I'll keep you posted, though.

Now, for the photos...

Dairy Queen in Williams, AZ, right off Historic Route 66. Also, I must note
that Brahm did not much care for ice cream. It was too cold on his little teeth :D


  1. a) Your baby (is he still a "baby"?!) is absolutely darling!!! If I lived closer to you, I would demand you let me photograph him (cause I'm a creepy camera person like that... muhahahaha!)

    b) I suddenly realize why you dropped off the canyon [hardy har!] of social media back when you first got preggers with Brahm.... Even preggers WITHOUT a small child, its ridiculous not to get tired, sick, or distracted with a BILLION other different things! I have sudden empathy for your grand canyon of distractions. Yes, I suffer from this also. No, I have not found a cure.

    Though, if you do happen upon a magic potion, please pass it my way!!

    1. I know :-( You're right... he's not really a baby. He's a crawling and babbling and drooling 9 month old! WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?? Um, if you lived closer to me, I would demand you to come over or me there so we could talk about books and writing for HOURS. You aren't a creepy camera person, lolol.

      It's SO hard, isn't it?!?! How ARE you feeling, BTW? I suppose this warrants an email like a normal person. I shall this week! Hang in there, and I HAVE happened upon some magic potion. The only problem is it's in Skyrim, and my character in Skyrim is the one that gets to drink it. So unfair! :D

  2. I've been pretty good about not getting too tied into social media. I mean, we don't even have cell phones, a fact the guy at the bike shop, today, couldn't believe.

    1. You don't have a cell phone???? *jaw drops* I can't believe it either. But I'm also jealous. I think that might save me a lot of time!

    2. Nope, we don't have them. We figure we survived the 80s without them, so it's still possible to do so now.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Barbara. I have lived in central California for my entire 44 years and do you know I've yet to visit the Grand Canyon?!? *holds out hand to be slapped* It's terrible, isn't it? I really need to get over there. Great photos! Very cute family!
    Yeah, social media... *sigh* It's tough for me because I need to spend some time on them; however, after my 11 hour day job is factored in, it doesn't leave much time for writing. That's why I only tackle a writing project every year and a half or so - since I basically have to lock myself in the writer's cave when I do, where there's no WiFi. *laughs*


    1. You should go!! And don't feel bad. I mean, my husband and I have lived in Phoenix for a little over two years now and this is the first time we've made the drive. There's so much to see and do in California (we lived in Northern California before this) that it's easy to never leave the state! Thanks - glad you liked the photos!

      Oh, it's a difficult balance, isn't it? I don't have 11hrs/day taking my time, but I also must crawl into a cave and shut off, well, everything. I haven't quite brought myself to turn off the wifi, though. Perhaps I should. SO HARD.

  4. Amazing pics - and Brahm is gorgeous! I found myself photographing days out with my kids instead of living them - as though I was going to enjoy them later instead. It took a while to break that! Every family moment is precious :-)

  5. I always love reading your thoughts! I wondered when Brahm would finally stop doing the headers and start moving! Now that he's in motion - he'll never stop! And if he's anything like his Mom, well GOOD LUCK!! :-)

  6. wow gorgeous photos
    xo Jess
    stop by when ya get a chance

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