It's been a long couple of weeks. I know, I keep saying this sort of thing but this summer has been unusually intense.
I did discover a new and wonderful hobby- sporting clays (as in shooting them not making them.) There is something unbelievably relaxing about aiming for and hitting a flying disk with a tube full of little lead shot. That moment when the gun is aimed just right, the trigger is pulled at the right time and the little orange clay disappears in a puff of smoke- oh it's marvelous.
Writing is so nebulous and tricky. People feel free to judge my stuff with no basis whatsoever. They give me lame advice which I then have to filter for usefulness. I have all kinds of artistic feelings about "my work" and all kinds of crises of faith. I love it but it isn't a simple love or an easy love.
Now shooting stuff- the feedback is immediate. You either miss or you hit the target. Practice makes you better and luck doesn't really play into it.
*Before I continue I want to make something very clear- I don't believe in shooting living things with guns. I don't think hunting with rifles or shotguns is sporting or fair. I don't believe in shooting ANY living thing. Ever. But sporting clays (skeet, trap etc.) and targets? Awesome*
I spend so much of my time creating (knitting, writing, doing art stuff, nurturing my kids and husband to create happier people etc.) that I think I've become unbalanced in my life. It's pretty freaking fun to destroy something even if it is just a little disk. And the results are immediate- have I mentioned that?
Another thing I love about shooting sporting clays- I live in the South (in the U.S.) More than that, I live in the Appalachian Mountains. We have some of the most fantastic gun ranges in the world here. People travel from all over just to shoot at this place I fell in love with last weekend. But here's the thing. Your buddy Subtle Hubris is a short blond, um, cuddly looking woman. People often do things like pat me on the head (but usually only once) because I'm so dang cute. I know how to behave, I smile a lot and try to be tolerant. People in New England know not to treat women that way (or learn very quickly not to treat me that way) but here, I don't know, it's just not worth it. Anyway I am probably the last person you would ever expect to see with a big ol' double barrel shotgun. If you were a misogynistic yokel with an inferiority complex- well the thought of someone like me out shooting you in the one place in the whole world that you feel like a big man would be your worst nightmare
So there I was, trying to shoot some pretty tricky clays with a gun that is far too heavy and long for me (that's what she said hahahaha.) I had never even picked up a shot gun before Sunday (although I grew up around guns and know my way around a bb gun) and was unprepared for the insane kick of a 12 gauge. Seriously, I was braced for the kickback (I've watched a lot of sporting clays shooting recently) but it almost knocked me back on my butt.
So I'm trying to coordinate lifting the gun, aiming the gun, reaching for the trigger and catching up with these fast moving wee little disks. I blew away the first two clays but then my body was shaking with the effort of just holding the gun (oh and it was crazy hot- about 98*f and 85% humidity) and this hillbilly jerk showed up and started heckling me. I ignored him because I was very focused on trying to actually hit my targets but he became more and more obnoxious.
My husband and son just sat there because they knew I would take care of the situation if it bothered me (Yankee men- gotta love 'em) and the guy who was in charge of the range was trying to ignore him too. Eventually he took the guy away but I pretty much missed every shot after that (I hit 8 out of 24 which is pretty good for a noob IMHO) and I'd like to think I was rattled (really I was just exhausted.) I have never heard any guy heckle another guy who was obviously a beginner. It's just not done. The breech of etiquette was breathtaking.
I have to tell you, it was nice being rejected right there in person for no reason other than my gender and possibly my lack of skill. It's so much less personal than putting my heart and soul on paper and having it judged as unfit by strangers. I can learn to out shoot that guy (the gun club owner says I have excellent instincts and that's vital to becoming a great shot.) The redneck's opinion is really meaningless to me. The only opinion that matters to me while I'm shooting is my own. If only I could apply this to writing! Incidentally, I hope that guy gives me crap next week because I have thought of the *perfect* comeback heeeeeheeeee.
So your friend S.H. has embraced her dark side. The new book really requires me to do this (as if I need justification) and it is sooooo fun. I hope that I'll get to go shooting again this weekend. I have been offered the loan of a very sweet 20 gauge that weighs only 5.8 lbs and I think I'll do much better this time. I have a whole box of shells just waiting.
Have a great week!