Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beware! Writers in the Neighborhood!

"I Taste Fire, Earth, Rain - Elements of a Life With a Sherpa" by Caryl Sherpa Studio Press 346 pages $15.95

How often does a professional writer have a next door neighbor who married a Sherpa and then wrote a book about it? And who put the writer and her husband in HER book?* How usual is it for a Caucasian professional woman to trek Nepal, fall in love with a Sherpa and marry him?

Caryl did it all. And in doing so, she made me "listen" and "see" Nepal and its scenery and people. I have never had any interest in trekking (eeeuuwwww - I can't wash my hair?!) or mountain climbing (You could get killed doing that!) but her slant on Eastern mystiques piqued my interest and attention. Her husband, Nima, taught me to put my hands in prayer, chest level, and say, "Namaste" or "The spirit in me greets the spirit in you," a lovely sentiment.

The events in the book began in 1991, when Caryl was 38 and Nima was 28. He seemed much younger because he has such a lightness of spirit and sense of joy. He could have been 18. Pity he wasn't, Caryl could have won "First Cougar" and left Demi Moore in the dust.

Caryl, a woman who is meticulous -- all of the elevations are listed in feet (and meters) -- quite sensibly made a list:
Pro - good looking, joyful, speaks seven languages, extremely strong, doesn't drink.
Con - Bad clothes, limited English, doesn't drive, 3rd grade education, bad slapstick jokes.

In Nepal, Nima had no access to television, radio or the newspapers. Once here, the Watts riots terrified him. "They would never do that in Nepal!"

They are an amazing couple and they are still blissfully happy after 20 years of marriage. Caryl's book is a fascinating read. She remarked that it took her 15 years to learn to write and then five more years to write this book. Good job, Caryl! It was time well spent.

To learn more and see photos, visit carylsherpa.com

* We are a walk-on as "Liz" and "Ed" used as a springboard to a chapter on Nima at the circus. I'm sure she used "Liz" for me due to my undeniable resemblance to the late Elizabeth Taylor. La! when she was alive we were often mistaken for each other.

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