Last summer, we entertained six family members, including three 11-year-olds, here in Colorado. Those children craved Rocky Mountain high adventure, so we took a river rafting trip, dug for fossils, and traveled to Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Glenwood Springs is a tourist-driven town squeezed by corrugated redstone mountains. It’s a peaceful place known for its mineral hot springs, mountain biking, river rafting, and absolutely fabulous restaurants.
We hadn’t driven ninety miles with three children for anything as pastoral as a mineral hot springs, so we headed up the mountain on a tram to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park where they have a ride innocuously referred to as the Giant Canyon Swing.
My much older sister had already tried the ride and deemed it a hoot. And yet, since we traveled to the park by our recommendation, my husband and I felt a responsibility to go first. We didn’t want the children to be permanently damaged by the trauma of swinging over a 1300 foot cliff.
Yep, you read that correctly. The swing arcs over a 1300 foot cliff. Made out of rock, too.
Hunky Hubby and I stood in line behind two farm-fresh little girls from Nebraska. I asked one, “Are you nervous?”
She flipped a nonchalant wrist. “This is our third time.”
Third time? The girls weren’t as tall as my shoulder. How bad could this be? Obviously, a group of screaming ninnies had filled the queue just before we stepped into line. If little girls enjoyed the ride three times, there was nothing to worry about. I mirrored the girls’ confidence. On the outside only. Inside, my heart pounded on my ribs, and an inner, saner voice nagged me to look for a pony ride. I love pony rides. They’re slow. Low to the ground.
There was no pony ride.
We put our toes to the painted line and watched as the little girls scampered into their seats and squealed at the sweeping movements of the swing. Easy breezy.
And then it was our turn. We chose our seats, the ones that gave us a full-frontal view of the canyon floor. A pimply-faced ride operator cinched us in. I think he was twelve. For good measure, I asked him to cinch a little tighter, please.
The swing is propelled by a hydraulic something-or-other that hisses and grinds. I could have done without the sound effects. Each arc of the swing goes higher and higher, until you swing above horizontal, also known as the wet-your-pants apex.
I wasn’t prepared for the terror. Yes, I had been a bit apprehensive, but remember the squealing girls and my much older sister. How bad could this be? As it turns out, very bad. Horrifically bad. Stupendously bad. I hated it.
I heard the hissing of the workings. I saw lots of blue sky and too much space between me and the ground. I did not hear my husband’s screams, although the cousins teased him about his amazing range all afternoon. No, I stayed smack in the middle of my own terror, thank you very much.
Off the ride (cue Hallelujah Chorus), my husband said, “That really got to me.”
Nothing gets to Dennis, not blood spurting out of our child’s head, not being awake for his own knee replacement surgery, not rattlesnakes.
“I’m shaking.” He held out his hand to prove it.
“Really? Are you all right?”
“I think so.”
“You think so?”
Dennis has heart disease. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. I watched him carefully, asked him if he still carried nitro tablets on his key ring, but he’d tossed those ages ago. He assured me he was fine, so in no time we were climbing a caged stairway to fly down the mountain on a zipline. Just before we stepped off the platform, he said, “I’m still shaking.”
Such is fear, real or perceived. We all experience it differently. There’s a whole psychology of fear that I won’t (and can’t) go into here, but I’m thinking about that swing more and more these days.
I feel like I’m standing in that line again, my toes on the white line, waiting for my turn to be stupid. No, wait, I didn’t mean to say “stupid.” I meant, courageous. Yes, to be courageous, to be propelled by undefinable forces into the unknown, which, for me, is Indie publishing.
It helps a little bit to think of Independent Publishing as an adventure park ride. The odds of dying are quite small, not zero, but really quite small, and I’ve already felt like I’ve taken a stab wound to the heart and survived. To be frank, I have nothing to lose. Besides, there are lots of fresh-faced “children” who have gone before and will most certainly flip a nonchalant wrist at my fears.
This taking publishing matters (novel matters?) into my own hands is audacious. At least, it feels that way. But it’s time. It’s past time.
I’m definitely headed for a collision between my calling and my greatest joy. Why am I still standing here?
Have you done the indie publishing thing? Any advice? Warnings? Have you considered indie publishing and decided it’s not for you? Why or why not? Have you read any good indie books lately? Titles, please.