Monday, February 23, 2009

The Best Way to Ski

This past week was “going to the snow” holiday we went to the snow. However, while I grew up conquering black diamonds and getting lots of air, while I taught my kids how to ski as soon as they could bear to wear those clunky boots and fall in the snow without thinking this was some bizarre torture, I’ve lost my passion for the sport.
It started a couple seasons back, the worrying. What will I do if I break a leg? Or worse, an arm? How would I write? I thought all this paranoia was too much caffeine in my diet. But the next year when I was down to drinking hot water instead, I was still hemming and hawing.
I realized I enjoyed the chairlift ride more than the actual skiing. That instead of reveling in the “jump-age” (kids’ word) and excitement, I prayed I’d just make it down in one piece. I realized that the kids I’d taught to ski were leaving me in the powder spray (and had moved on to snowboarding the black diamonds.) Oh, sure, we always met up to do one run together, but even then I could tell they were really humoring the “old lady” (kids’ word).
So this time, while I brought my skis just in case I had a sudden craving to return to the good old days and race down the hill crying, “ye-ha,” I also brought lots of books.
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos is a book I avoided because of the title--it sounded like a Harlequin Romance. But when a friend of mine said it was great, I plunged ahead. While the book has an abundance of beautiful people, the ending is happy and somewhat predictable, and it is a romance, the voices of her characters are strong and witty, the dialogue is amazing, and the story is fun. I enjoyed reading it so much I picked up her second book, Belong to Me (another yucky title).
Home Was The Land Of Morning Calm by Connie Kang tells of Korea’s history during the 1900’s through the voice of a woman and her family. It’s fascinating the twists of fate dealt this small-but strategic and highly-coveted--island country, and hearing these facts through the real history of family makes it even more interesting.
So I had a wonderful going-to-the-snow holiday, and I did venture out into the snow, on long walks with the dog, on hikes to the local store, and while shoveling out our car which I’d run into a snow bank (long story). But this snow --except for the snow bank incident--felt safe and friendly. I didn’t hem and haw once. I came away thinking it was the perfect “ski” holiday and why hadn’t I done this earlier? But then the best editor I’ve ever known once said to me, “Just because a character realizes something, doesn’t mean he or she will immediately act upon that realization.“ A thing to remember in fiction as well as life.
**I’m doing an author chat this week on Library Thing. It’s an interesting site with lots of events going on, so stop on by.


Anonymous said...

Jana, that sounds like the perfect ski week (okay, except for the car part!). I could almost get myself up there to the snow, if I knew it was really reading & walking time!Well, maybe just reading. By a fire. With hot chocolate.

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

Even the car part was actually interesting, watching the kids react. My eldest was all fire and action. The younger ones sat in the back and moaned about "being late" to the slopes. They all eventually got out and worked together to get the car unstuck and then proceeded to tell backing-into-snowbank jokes the entire time.

Lynn said...

A "skiing" holiday that's filled with books -- sounds like the best holiday weekend I can imagine! Especially when you add in happy kids and snowy walks with the dog. I'm glad you had fun :) And all your bones came home intact.

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My Half of the Sky was the BookSense Pick for August 2006 as well as a Forbes Book Club Pick.

"McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system."
Mary Warpeha, co-President of the Minnesota Chapter of US-China Friendship Association
March 2010

"The novel ...includes many of the tales and the folk ways of the people living in the rural areas of South China, still followed provincially. The story takes place in current China, but could relate the dilemma of any young woman in rural China through the ages."
Kitty Trescott, National Board of the Midwest Region of US-China Friendship Association. March 2010

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Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008

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Head Writer TV Series "Murder, She Wrote,"
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