Could that be fanfare blaring in the distance? Indeed it is — as my guest writer enters the blogosphere!
Mary DiVincenzo — or as we call her “Fearless Leader” — moderates one of my writers groups, The Write Stuff, here in Simi Valley. Close your eyes and imagine trying to herd a dozen feral cats in the middle of Dodger Stadium — blindfolded. Got it? Good! Now you understand Mary’s job as she tries to guide our little band of essayists, poets, diarists, novelists and screenwriters and makes sure that each gets the feedback, love and of course, attention — after all, we are all artists — she/he needs to keep creating between workshops. I love her essays because they always have an important message buried within — which I usually miss because I’m laughing so hard.
So grab a glass of something intoxicating or something chocolate — or both — and enjoy one of my favorites as I dive headfirst into the last of my 1040s …
There is a woman inside of me who knows how to ski. She showed herself once for about 30 minutes at Mountain High one day. She kept to herself in Park City, Utah and Big Bear, California. Lessons did not coax her out, falling down and slamming my head into the hard cold snow did not work either. I was on the slopes for hours the day she showed up, she left almost as quickly as she came.
The first time I tried to release her I was only 16, on a bunny slope, never skied before, one of my sisters had, and she was 15. It’s easy she said, I’ll show you, you do gymnastics and stuff, you’ll learn fast. It sounded easy enough, I inched my way down the slope a few times, not exactly skiing but not falling either. So as many of us were skiing vertically down the hill, someone came out of nowhere on a diagonal and crashed right into me, a direct hit, I slid down the slippery slope of the bunny hill. From there I proceeded into the snack bar for hot chocolate, if only I could have been old enough to drink legally, and to wait for my sister and our other friends with a very sore shoulder and leg.
The second attempt was in Park City where that same sister was working for the ski season. I went to visit her and she said, we’ll go skiing. I don’t ski. Sure you do, remember when we went to Big Bear. Yes I remember, obviously you don’t and I don’t ski. Well one of my friends is a ski instructor and she can teach you. So the next day we head to the slopes to meet the friend. My lesson is in about 20 minutes and I figure we are meeting her at the bottom of the hill. Then my sister says, we have to take the tram to the middle of the hill and ski down to the lesson. I said, are you crazy, I skied on a bunny hill once years ago. She said it will be easy.
Flash forward to the exiting of the tram, are you kidding me? She points to the location of the lesson, if I could get there why would I need a lesson? I start to ski a little and fall. I said, help me up. She said, you have to get up on your own. I said I am your older sister and I do not know how to ski, help me up now. She did and things did not improve. Time was flying by and I was missing my lesson which could have been miles away as far as I was concerned. After some time went by, my sister’s boyfriend, who was on the Ski Patrol skied by. By this time my sister was out of her mind wondering how she was going to get me down this huge mountain; she must have finally realized how high up we were. Her boyfriend told me to hold on to his ski poles and just ski behind him. Sounded easy enough. But then he went so fast I could not hold on, I fell backwards and hit my head so hard on the snow. Looking back I probably had a concussion but when you are in your early 20’s you don’t think about this stuff.
I decided then and there, skiing was not for me but found out my new-found love was Frangelico.
But then several years went by and I fell in love with someone who is now my ex husband and of course he loved to ski. I’ll teach you he said, you have just had lousy teachers. We’ll go skiing with my friends who love to ski and happen to look exactly like Ken and Barbie. Barbie will even loan you some ski gear. So off we go to Mountain High for the day. I told all of them that I have never had a good ski experience and I was happy to wait in the bar if things did not work out. Each one of them taught me to the best of their ability and Ken had some pretty good luck. A couple of things he said to me clicked and for about 30 glorious minutes I could ski, actually ski, really ski, maneuver, start, stop, handle the feel of the speed and then no sooner had I figured it out, the skier in me was gone, no amount of snowplowing slowed me down, no more balance, no more control, she was gone.
Thank God the drinker in me has never let me down.
I can hardly wait until she finally gathers all of my favorites into one piece and gets them published (Mary, that was a gentle nudge). Until then, come visit us at The Write Stuff! Contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com for meeting details.