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Solar Eclipse - Grand Teton Mountains

Rachel Saylor

Cacophony resounds in my head, yet no one speaks. We look, admire with our jaws unhinged, breathing heavy like a herd of cattle. The sudden drop in the temperature makes me aware of my body, fists clenched in my pockets like a boxer ready to enter the ring. The anticipation flutters in my chest as I swivel my head back and forth from the sky to the mountain line. The land beneath my feet is layered with polarized lenses, a filter only too much tinkering in Photoshop can create.   

They say the shadow of the moon is what I see sweeping across the towering mountains, rushing towards me at an unfathomable speed. Yet, when it engulfs me whole, draping me in its blanket and almost knocking me off of my feet, I can't help but think it's more than just a shadow. It is unearthly and alive as it sweeps across my skin, sending a shiver straight down my spine. It rushes past me, leaving me to catch my breath. In slow motion, I swivel back to take in the yin and yang of the sky as it converges to make one piece. Night takes over day, offering a gift to the onlookers. 

The cool blue and white light that beams in a circle are electrifying. No photo, no words can properly depict the beauty our naked eyes can see, nor give a full sense of what it is like to experience this natural phenomenon. 

Unknowingly, the herd that was spread out in the field on the side of the mountain comes together in a near huddle. It is not until the light begins to reveal itself again, that we look around at each other, eyes wide, knowing that even as strangers, we shared something intimate and raw. I sense an inkling of what Philippe Petit felt after his high-wire walk across the Twin Towers. The adrenaline, the sense of being alive and seeing a door open to unimaginable new possibilities.   

A Place to Call Home

Rachel Saylor

A quick update on life and writing, as I know it's hard to follow:

This year has been the year of adventure. My husband and I spent a few months in London, where I had the pleasure of watching my niece grow and we traveled to other European countries on the weekends. It was a dream, and I look back on the time longingly. 

After coming back to the states, we stayed with gracious family and friends for the next couple of months. We needed to stick around in North Carolina, until two couples that we love got married. When we came back from London, slightly disappointed that we couldn't stay, but also excited to set out on a new adventure, we came to the conclusion that out west was the place for us to go next. It has been a dream of ours and with little belongings in hand and a hankering to explore, we went for it. Just a couple of weeks ago we set out on the open road, trekking across the U.S. with one car, one pup and two open hearts. Along the way, we stopped to visit new and old friends, places we've never been to and middle school dream spots *Ahem, Roswell, NM, land of aliens.* We took our time, appreciating the differing landscapes and delicious cuisine along the way. We also made a point to work while we were on the road. 

We now reside in Tempe, Arizona. Our dear friend invited us to spend some time with her here. As we got to talking, two weeks turned into two months, which has now developed into us living with her for five months. I've never even visited Arizona before, but what a freaking treat it has been. I could not contain my frantic giddy laughter at the sight of the large cacti that populate the desert land. The mountain range that encapsulates this area is breathtaking, and although yes, it is hot as Hades here, I am falling for this place. 

Having a place to call home, where we have our own bedroom and don't have to pack up to then unpack the next day or week somewhere else gives me such sweet relief. I feel cozy here, with a nook in the corner set up for my daily writing and editing sessions. I am starting my new adventure of working from home on my writing, with a schedule I can follow, and let me tell you, I am over the moon happy. 

Our plan, come January, is to move up to Portland, Oregon. For now, I am going to immerse myself into the life of a writer working from home. 

It's No One's Duty to Root for Me

Rachel Saylor

Being someone who writes fiction, something that may sound interesting to some is rarely championed by most. There are countless times I feel the awkwardness of answering the question, "What do you do?" Especially since I don't have a physically published book to offer as an example. However, I am working my ass off to get there. 

I like to voice people's doubts in conversation before they get the chance. I'll tell them, "I'm still working on monetizing what I do, but I have an incredible husband who supports me while I do so," or, "I've made the decision to take a more difficult career path." At times, the conversation is changed rather quickly to something different, as the interest is lacking, which is a reason for me to work hard to make the topic worthwhile. 

I'm told that what I do is "cute" or "impossible", but that's just where my part comes into play. I have to work hard by putting in the time and effort to become better, to get published, and to show others what I am capable of creating and putting out into the world.  

Although it is no one's duty to root for me, I want to make them wish that they had. This is part of what drives me to put the hours into writing, editing, and figuring out how to get published. Using people's doubts or discouragement has always been a drive for me, and why not take negative comments and beliefs about your passion for fueling your work ethic and curation, making you come out on top? You win doubly for it by making better work, getting more done, and laughing at those who didn't believe in you. I hope you can likewise not let the doubters get you down, but turn it into a positive spin to better yourself.