One man. Forty years. And an enormous amount of determination.
On Sunday, my family and I visited a legendary site in Colorado. Bishop's Castle. Jim Bishop began building a stone cottage in 1969, and was working on it when we stopped by. The highest parts of the castle soar to over 160 feet above the ground, and are covered with elaborate ironworks. Visitors are invited to explore every inch of the castle, climbing innumerable steps to dizzying heights--at their own risk, of course.
The most amazing thing is that Bishop has accomplished all this alone. And without the kinds of tools you'd expect. He gathers the rocks from the forest with a shovel and wheelbarrow. He hoists them up the walls with a pulley system and a pickup truck. Bishop is nearing seventy years old.
Standing in front of the massive structure made me think. One person with a dream, who never gives up, can accomplish far more than anyone imagines. Those of us who labor at writing, alone, facing the roadblocks of a giant publishing industry, can feel like giving up sometimes.
Yet he's never given up. Not even when he burned both palms down to the bone. I want that kind of determination. To finish each novel. To hone my craft. To leave something beautiful to inspire others.