How Living in Wyoming Made Me a Better Writer


The year I graduated from high school, we lived in a small trailer on the plains of Wyoming.

It was beautiful to me.

Snow drifts grew to be as large as a truck. The days blended together as the grey, overcast clouds blocked out the sun. We hid in our rooms, or the living room, a dull orange light from the lamp or the white glow of the television casting its glow upon our faces.

It was these nights, with my sister, mom and dad huddled on a couch or under a blanket, which reminded me life wasn’t as bad as my teenage mind thought it was.

Each day, my sister and I would wake from our sleep, hurry to the bathroom, for if we didn’t there would be no hot water, or worse yet, not water at all.

We’d dress in adjacent rooms, only a panel separating our rooms.

It was there on those mornings, when we stood for the bus in 20 below weather I thought not of living somewhere warm, but thought of how beautiful the snow looked, the shape of the ice on the road as it jutted from the black top.

You see, in Wyoming, when there is slush in the road, it freezes like the world turned upside down. There were mornings when I was worried we’d hit one of these icicles and the bus would stop on the freeway leading to the nearest town where we attended school.

Life was easy on that plane in Wyoming. I had school, different girlfriends, and I’d stay up late writing.

Those were the days of teenage angst ridden poems about love, pain and the things which I’ve now outgrown, but the things I wrote were the beginnings of who I’d become years later, 20 years later.

Now that I’ve been away from snow drifts, the world turned upside down and the long bus rides, I think about why I wrote, not what I wrote. I remember thinking, no one will ever see this.

I loved that I could write something I thought was beautiful, and not care if the world saw it or not.

I liked the feeling of writing that way, it’s something I’ve tried to do again, but my mind fails me at those moments.

I think snow drifts and a trip down the rabbit hole will help, but I’ve been in the darkest places, and prefer the light, it keeps the dark away.

I saw life through my 18-year-old eyes a few days ago as I sifted through journals of poems and stories.

I liked what I read, the carelessness of the writing, the sense that the writer knew no one would see it, least of all himself in 20 years.

I’m going to return to writing without caring, because I was happiest when I stood in 20 below weather, my life in front of me and the discovery of what comes next.


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