Amy Willoughby-Burle: Women's Fiction/ Sweet Romance

Welcome guest blogger (and full disclosure–my husband) R.J. Burle to talk about what to do after you’ve have a mountain top experience. In this case, quite literally.

Wildacres Recovery Advice from a 20 year WA Vet


For many, this week is an exhausting shift.  Dealing with post WA’s depression as we slowly adjust to the daily grind is a painful process full of tears and regret.   Baloney!  I’m bouncing off the f—ing walls right now.  I feel awesome!

Many newcomers mistakenly believe that the week was an escape.  A time to unwind.  In fact it’s just the opposite.  We do anything but unwind.  WA is a place to recharge vitally important batteries that we forget we even have.

We meet magical, beautiful people of all ages who we come to love for a week in a magical setting created by great scenery, lack of oxygen from altitude and liberal amounts of boxed wine, and in the process we touch a bit of magic itself.

From my own experience, the most magical and beautiful person I have ever met there is my wife, Amy, but in the year off the mountain I lose sight of that.  She becomes an ordinary person to me.  I become an ordinary person to myself and we forget who we are deep inside.  Wild Acres helps us be the person we are supposed to be.

Then we go back to work and see the familiar blank stares in the faces that walk past us and soon we adapt that look as well.  This is a bad illusion.  Wild Acres doesn’t necessarily attract magic people.  It brings the magic out of us, and it’s up to us to keep it out instead of reburying it.

For me walking down the streets of Asheville today, I realized that all these people around me have hopes and dreams and yes, they all had a piece of that Wild Acres’ magic even if they’ve never been there.


Rules 1:  Don’t let what inspired you on the mountain intimidate you at home.  You will finish that project!  You will write even better than you dreamed.  You have been given a great mission should you choose to accept it on the mountain.   That project will not be written in the first week you’re back.  Looking at a blank screen and deleting an occasional sentence immediately after writing it is fine.  Writing is a journey, not a destination.

RULE #2:  See the magic in everyone you meet.  Re-fall in love with your significant other and reconnect with friends.  I forget how beautiful my wife is and Wild Acres and the beautiful people I see up there remind me of it.

RULE #3:  See the magic in yourself, everyday.  Your wit, intellect and good feelings are not bound up on the mountain only to be release by a ghastly box of wine and late night conversations looking at the stars.  Who you were up there is who you must continue to be.

RULE #4:  Write badly.  The great writing you hear up there is a distillation of a year worth of bad writing.  Once it’s on paper, you have something to work with.  If you still have writer’s block, you probably need to live more so that you will have something write about.  Create something different.  Learn an instrument, master a martial art, take up wood working, travel, LIVE!

RULE #5:  Enjoy beauty everywhere.  Wild Acres’ isn’t the only place with trees.  I have a favorite tree in downtown Asheville next to my office that fills me with the Wild Acres’ spirit.

RULE #6: Get a good night sleep Saturday and Sunday after WA and hit the world running.

BTW.  I’m an introvert and not the hugging type.  When I nod curtly at you, that is an introvert’s way of saying, “I love you.  You are a magical and beautiful person.”



5 thoughts on “R.J. Burle Tells You How to Come Down from the Mountain

  1. Bren Fousek Bowman says:

    Love this advice! I’m trying to follow it. Pray for me, please.

    1. Wonderful advice, RJ! Thanks so much for this. ❤

  2. Carole Mehle says:

    (Nods curtly to R. J.)Thank you for the understanding and helpful hints.

  3. Linda Erday says:

    RJ, that was beautiful and thought provoking.
    You nailed it.

  4. barbarabrutt says:

    This was delightful. I enjoyed the reminder of being magical, and as an introvert, I am all about the head nods.
    And I just love Asheville!

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