Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Serendipity and Daring to Excel

I love it when things just seem to happen spontaneously and it all links together into a wonderful Celtic Knot of a pattern! As I review the last five months or so, I am almost blown away at the way things have worked out for me and my audacious plan. (LOL--one more example: the puppy for today is a husky mix!! I saw that when I reviewed this post after writing it Perfect.)

In March I conceived the idea of going to Alaska and almost at the same time of doing a book about the women who pursue the challenging and amazing sport of sled dog racing, especially the long distance endurance type races like the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. There is now also one in Norway that at 1,000 km is the longest of all. (One meter you may recall is about 39" as compared to 36" for the English yard we use and k stands for 1,000, so you can figure the distance roughly!)

Anyway, at first it seemed impossibly expensive and so far out of reach as to be pie in the sky. But it has proved to be very possible and in just over a week I will be off on the journey with air fare paid, places to stay, and appointments to meet at least a few of the lady mushers who have become major heroines of mine and will headline my planned book.

Along this progression, more ideas for the book began to take shape as well. I met and talked to Joe Runyan, who has won the Iditarod once and writes about it, covers for some of the major sporting goods firms and blogs on the ITC website and elsewhere. He has also co/ghost written the stories of some of the male mushers. So an idea emerged for me to perhaps do the same for any of the women who are hesitant to tackle that project on their own. More on that later!

Then Sunday I was listening to the local PBS radio station and heard a program called "Making a Champion." The interviewer was talking to an author of a book by the same title (I need to research who and all and I shall) and several women athletes were interviewed or quoted in the course of the program. The bottom line was the determination, dogged pursuit and especially exceeding one's personal limits are what make a true champion. If this does not apply to the lady mushers I am not sure what does!  Then surviving members of the Girls Baseball League of the WWII era have been at a reunion in Albuquerque and they too offer inspiration about rising to challenges. They were the reality behind the movie some years back called A League of Their Own. Though now in their eighties they are still feisty and proud.

Perhaps it is a bit like when you get a new car and suddenly see others of that make or model everywhere when you had never noticed them before. This subject and notion has so taken over all my spare moments of thought that I am 'hearing' related things almost constantly! Has it always been out there or is it a theme whose time has come? If the latter, I hope I am not too late to contribute another chapter to it.

Some of Amy Purdy's remarks on Making a Champion especially resonated. She is the snowboarder who had the world by the tail and then was stricken with a life-threatening disease and lost both her lower legs. She is now a champion Para-Olympic athlete and came in second in the last iteration of Dancing With the Stars. This is one amazing woman! She said she was not truly competitive with others but with herself--constantly striving to do more, better and to exceed her previous best by breaking through her own self-imposed limits. That philosophy got her from her hospital bed to championship and now serving as an inspirational speaker and  beacon of light for all who aspire and seek. to achieve.

Some of the lady mushers have similar if less dramatic stories. Deedee Jonrowe, for example, raced and finished, I believe in the top ten, shortly after undergoing post breast cancer chemo and radiation! She has finished the race at least 32 times and placed second more than once.

It comes down to the fact you have to be willing to hurt, to sacrifice, to struggle and never to give up if you want to excel. Also on the same radio program, there was a discussion of success versus mastery and the bottom line was nearly the same. Mastery requires the extra effort, the ultimate exertion of will and a no-surrender approach. Success may be fame and fortune but only mastery is reaching that true pinnacle.


  1. Enjoy your journey! :) I got so excited for you reading this.

  2. Thank you Leah. I am so looking forward to sharing my adventure with all of you and in time my story of the lady musher champions--they all are IMHO--with the world! I will try for a selfie with Aliy Zirkle, my special personal heroine that I will see on Aug 10.