If you've never been climbing, here is what it feels like; if you've ever written, you'll recognize it:
First, you have to grab onto something. What to grab onto can be quite a puzzle. There aren't always obvious handholds. If there are, they don't necessarily lead in the direction you want to go. But you take a breath, and hop on. Now you are in mid-air. The feeling is both exhilarating and pee-inducing. A rope has you--you are not, after all, really going to kill yourself--but it feels as though you will. In spite of all evidence to the contrary, you believe you are completely unhinged. The choice is: up or off.
Now it is time to move. Balance is important, but more so trust. You have to believe that, by leaning into a thing that seems virtually unclimbable, you can push yourself up and forward. You must trust not only yourself, but obvious things, like gravity and pressure; you must trust what is underneath you. That little knob right there. If you push on it, can you stand? Really? But oh, what a leap to trust a little knob! Do I do dare? Do you? Here we go. Push. Stand. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Now you come to an impasse. A big chunk of slick. You reach and reach, blindly, but can't find anything to curl your fingers into. You're stuck now, man. You hang on the wall, splayed like a kite (or coiled into the stony curl of a barnacle). You have another choice: You can give up, or, as Dan likes to say, "get scrappy." Getting scrappy means trying anything you can, experimenting, twisting, straining, groping, ass over edge, not fading. If scrappiness fails, you can also ask for help from the person who knows and is holding the rope (that day, with Dan and Megan, I did both).
Okay, but when the scrappiness works, you take a deep breath, trust your muscle, your resolve and--ah! Wow! Up. Up. Up. Over the obstacle! What a feeling. Nothing, nothing like it. Now you're in the groove (or crack). You're feelin' it, man. It's like you've done it all your life. You've got the hang of it now. Climb climb climb. Look up. There is the anchor! Almost there. Reach out. Don't look down. Reach out, reach out, touch it. Ring it. Like a silver bell.
The view. Look at the view.
Your chair is harness, support, safety strap. Your thighs fit neatly into it, note. Your fingers reach for the little knobs. Do you trust them? Your will is the knot. The adventure is yours. The screen is sheer and straight and waiting.