The last few weeks things have been eerily silent on here. I’d like to say this is because I’ve made so much money from the DVD that I’ve bought a house in the mountains and retired. In actual fact, it’s nothing so glamorous. In actually fact, I feel a lot more like Marlow going to meet Kurtz, as I’ve been travelling all over the place catching up with friends, doing the odd bit of climbing (indoors), sending out DVD’s, and coming to find a deep love for public transport.

I’ve actually written several blog posts over the last couple of weeks, but none of them have passed the editor in chief and have been left in the gutter. I’ve also been writing them all by hand, something to do with my palin esque journeys along the public networks of the UK. There’s something oddly inspirational about looking out of a train window. It’s that same kind of feeling that you get when playing chess with actual pieces versus playing on a computer. The tactility of it somehow evokes far more deep rooted emotions. Maybe I’ll be the last generation to feel that (how over dramatic), or perhaps it’s something that’s a much deeper part of us. I don’t know, and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. Back to my point. I’ve been writing blog posts by hand, as an attempt to resolve the dichotomy between the digital and the real world. Some sort of crossover medium. I was going to photograph them and then post them up on here. Perhaps I’ll still do it. It’s an idea I’m quite into at the moment. Plus I feel like my handwriting will give something away. I don’t know what it will give away, but I feel like it’s a good thing that should be given away.

I spent far too few nights whilst in the UK in my own bed at home, swapping it’s comfort for various floors, couches, sofabeds, and bus/train seats. “Wherever I lay my head is home” is something which was seemingly attainable but not really hold-on-to-able. After a certain amount of this, I felt like I’d lost my gravity. A young Jumbo told me in no uncertain terms that I simply needed to “refind gravity”. He was totally correct, and I went in search of it. What is it that holds us down? The thing that keeps our feet on the ground. The thing around which our beings orbit.  I went in search of it, and as with most journeys the first paths taken are never the most direct. Where would gravity be found… in my closest friends, in my favourite places, in my climbing, in my family? It turns out that all gravity is contained within. That’s what I needed to refind. This might sound like a totally ridiculous thing to say, but a few years ago I really did find my peace. This has already turned into a blog post that I can’t publish. Damn. My peace never leaves me, but sometimes I lose it momentarily. It only takes a moment in time, a Planck unit, for me to regrasp it, but when I do I feel so deeply seated again it’s as if my gravitational constant is larger than that of the universe. Needless to say I found it and I felt like I was orbiting the right piece of space once again. It felt good.

The last few weeks have also been hectic in terms of other plans too, so I’ve been battling my many loci of goals. I’ve refound a whole lot of psyche for my climbing, but translating that into double sessions every day is seemingly impossible at the moment. I want to pour all my energy into so many places, and that’s proving more difficult that I thought. In front of me lie a whole number of buckets, each labelled with a goal of some kind. The problem is that I want to fill them all at once, but with a finite amount of liquid. Jack of all trades, master of none. My goal was to be master of all trades. Ridiculous perhaps, but I never aimed for mediocre. So now I need to find a way to produce this magic liquid more quickly and more efficiently. I need to find a way to realise more goals, more quickly. I need to find the framework into which I can fit that allows me to do all of that.

Sometimes life is so simple. You wake up, you eat breakfast, and you go climbing. You return home at sunset with a feeling of such intense satisfaction that you wouldn’t change these days for anything the world had to offer. They are pockets of perfection. Other times, life is less simple, and given the choice of everything the world has to offer you find yourself stumbling at the first step; the choice. I’m not so much stumbling right now, as trying to figure out how to simply do all the things I want to do. I don’t believe it’s possible to take on too much, only to fail due to bad management. Be more efficient and you’ll be able to do more. I’m always chasing efficiency…

A few days ago I arrived in Fontainebleau, and a slice of those moments of perfection came back to me. Each corner in the road is like an old friend. When to brake, when to start accelerating into that blind overtaking spot, when to look out for police, when to take it easy, they’re all so familiar. I’ve spent so much time in Fontainebleau that it’s become a comfort zone for me. A place that now truly feels like home. I can’t remember the last time I looked in a guidebook. I feel so good here. So good that after arriving my thoughts drifting to perhaps moving back here. But that would be too easy an option. My goals are clear. This year was supposed to be the year of 8B+ and whilst that dream may still technically be alive (the dream never dies), it’s currently connected to a life support machine. I split the fold of skin between my first and second pad a few weeks ago and it’s never healed properly. After a day climbing here it began to bleed again. A day of rest didn’t help, and the following day during the warm up it become a load worse.

Two days ago I went to the Gecko bloc. My first emotional response to seeing it was “It’s not that big or that many moves!?!”. This wasn’t something I said or thought, but something that simply came up from the fire of feeling. It seems like I haven’t become 100% robot just yet. This guttural reaction was a welcome relief. If my skin hadn’t split open I think the dream would have been alive and kicking. Conditions were ridiculously good, perhaps amongst the best I’ve ever seen in Font. It’s no surprise that Sebastian Frigault repeated Gecko Assis yesterday. The guy is a legend, a true legend of the forest.  Once my skin had split and was bleeding I stood back and just observed the boulder. I looked at it feeling strong. Not the strongest I’ve ever been, but strong enough. My mind is strong and I know if the mind believes the body follows. I looked at with frustration in my eyes. I was frustrated because I know how much I want to climb it. I also know how it’s only a stepping stone on my journey through climbing. Why do I want it so much? Because then I can look at the next stepping stone. It’s all one big fractal. How do you maintain perspective though when it all looks the same no matter how far you zoom in or out? That’s more of a side note than a serious question.

I’d like to write a little something about the DVD sales. I honestly didn’t have any expectations before releasing Between The Trees. My only hope was that people would enjoy it. I’m not ready to give my own critical assessment and my own feedback to the reviews it’s had, but the emails I’ve had have been such a huge reward. When people tell me they are inspired then I literally couldn’t feel any better. To be partly responsible for that is a huge compliment and something I feel privileged to be part of.  I didn’t know how well the sales would go, or if I’d make a huge mistake distributing it myself. All decisions along the path were taken with truth, honesty, and honour in mind. Whether or not they turned out to be the best decision is something different, but I can say that I’m happy that I made them. This is a labour of love, not a product of financial viability. The DVD’s have been flowing out the door at a steady pace, which is good for me as it means people are enjoying it. The three boxes full have been reduced to only one, which is a pleasant surprise and something I’ve been trying to plan for. The most annoying thing so far is the lack of reliability in the postal system. DVD’s have been lost which is just an annoying for me as for the recipient. I guess this is to be expected on one level, but next time I should look into alternative methods of distribution (presuming there is a next time…).

I don’t know what 2010 will be. I’ve been thinking about it a lot actually. What will 2010 be in terms of both my life and my climbing. I know the 8B+ stepping stone will soon be trodden upon, and I already have a vague vision of the stone after it. But my thoughts are turning to more than climbing. I don’t know where they are turning, and perhaps the exact direction doesn’t really matter. What matters is the feeling behind the direction. A compass which aligns itself with a feeling rather than a destination. That’s what I’m moving with.