Category Archives: Run

Row the Boat

This is week 17 of a countdown to 1.

At the one week mark, I shall be running a marathon.

But I’m not thinking about that. Not really.

I am thinking about beginnings.

I am thinking about how every single day if you wake up, you are given a chance to be better, be the person that you really want to be.

I’m thinking about excuses.

I’m thinking about Elena Ferrante and friendship (lovely essay by Laura Maylene Walter to be found here.) and what it feels like to be unmoored.

There are times I feel like a helium balloon and the only thing keeping me in place is the tight grasp of my children. Man, do I owe them for that.

It is so easy to get caught up in life, in friends that are no longer around, in commutes and train schedules, in a job you detest. You get home and you have laundry and dishes and homework folders that need to be gone through. By the end of it, the end of that day, all you have done is emptied the water from a row boat with a prominent hole in the center. Always emptying, never truly dry.

Do you ever feel completely exhausted? Yes, I know you do. We all do.

We’ve surrounded ourselves with things that just don’t matter in the scheme of what life is, what life should be, what we could be.

And so.

A few weeks back, I texted my best friend that we needed to do a marathon. And she said, yes, we do.

An odd response given that we’re both mid-forty and we both have bad backs. We both work full-time. We both have children that we let down on a daily basis. We can’t do everything and God help us, there are times we can do nothing.

But she said yes because she knew. She knew that feeling of beginning again.

Of starting over.

Of taking a moment, finding that impossible thing, and making it happen.

I’m running to bring me back to writing, to bring me back to a better version of me. Perhaps the best version of me.

I’ve been working on a short story and it’s horrible. You see, I’ve forgotten how to write. I’ve forgotten why it’s important. I’ve let myself drift out in a row boat with a hole.

But when I say, I’ve been writing, what I mean to say is that I wrote something that I thought had potential and then began typing it to realize it is just bad. So I stopped. I said, I can’t do this. I said, I suck. I said, what’s the point of writing anyway. Who cares?

The last marathon I ran was ten years ago. I had to prep to even begin training by running a mile run. One mile. Over and over that one mile until I could run two.

I just got home from a three and a half mile run and it’s my short run for the week.

But I’m not thinking about that. I’m not thinking about anything other than tomorrow I run again, I run just that one run.

When I’m done here, I’m going to finish typing the bad short story, the one I ran from. Then I’ve got about an hour until the Valentine’s party at my son’s school and in that time I’m going to reread my bad story and see if I can make one sentence not so bad. I’m going to see if I can make one sentence fantastic.

And that’s how I start. That’s how I plan on sealing the hole in the boat, one run, one sentence at a time.

Because every morning you get to begin again, and today I remembered that I want to spend my life rowing the boat around the lake, not scooping out the water.

One small thing today. Not tomorrow. Not next week.

Today.

xoxo

 

 

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What We Do When We Aren’t Writing

And by “we”, I mean me.

First, there are cats. I had an older cat, Pearl, who needed a friend. An old bloggy friend rescued a cat in Georgia. She drove him down and voila, Porkchop was added to our family.

We had to put Pearl down. She was 18 and her health failed. Porkchop needed a friend so we went to the Humane Society and Mrs. Goldman joined our family.

My oldest son is a cat lover. His birthday was coming up and he didn’t want anything. Nothing. So as any insane person would do, I thought, hmmm, another cat would blow his mind. My husband, not a cat lover, but a lover of his family, came around. The Noodle joined our family.

We were a three cat family. One more than most normal people have.

Enter Molly. My mother-in-law lives in a small apartment, and as many older people become, she was lonely. She loved being around the cats at our house so for mother’s day, we brought her to pick out a cat. One that she became highly allergic to.

Molly moved in this week and is currently sitting below me, still enclosed in the library, with three cats spying in at her through the french doors. We’ll introduce them tomorrow.

We have become the crazy four cat family.

Instead of writing, I pet cats, clean litter boxes and wiggle cat toys that look like bugs.

My seven-year old loves monkeys. He wanted to be a monkey for Halloween. We found some ears, but no costume. For some reason, once boys are out of the toddler phase, they immediately enter a very specific costume arena. He could have been an angel of death, a ninja, a zombie or a superhero.

I bought some brown fuzzy fabric, and some pale yellow fleece. I hand-stitched an oval on for the belly, and sewed two seams down the sides. Some holes for arms and head, a tail, and oh yeah, he had to have an oversized banana, which he uses as a machine gun. Go figure.

Did I mention I don’t know how to sew? This took me five hours to make.

Instead of writing, I make Halloween costumes.

When I get on the train in the morning, I read. I pretend that I’m not going to work and that I’m headed to my loft where I’ll spend the day writing before headed back home at night.

Then I get to my real job.

I nap on the way home, brain dead.

Guitar lessons, band concerts, dentist appointments, kid’s homework, dinner, shower, put the kids to bed and it’s nine o’clock.

People who love to write, write then. I grab a beer, or maybe a glass of wine and watch people on television renovate houses. I watch people with so much money they’ll buy an overpriced trailer and call it a Tiny Home. I watch Fargo. I watch Dr. Who. I watch bits of movies I’ve seen a thousand times.

I won’t even remember in the morning what I’ve seen because I’ve had four to five hours sleep.

Instead of writing, I watch meaningless television.

My hair was weighing me down. I got it cut. Short. I mean, short short. I found out that some people hate it, some people love it, but I’m still the same person who was weighed down.

Instead of writing, I dramatically cut off all my hair.

I put on weight so decided to start running. In true fashion, I decided I need to run a spring marathon. So I shuffle my heavier-than-ever frame down the block and trip over the sidewalk landing hard on my knees and wrists. I walk home and clean up the blood, bandage the wounds and run a mile and a half.

My knees still hurt from a week ago. My aging back hates the weight, hates me running and begs me to stop.

But I can’t. If I stop the craziness, I’ll disappear.

Instead of writing, I run. Slowly. Painfully.

So this is where I am.

I emailed a friend and said to her that if I was really a writer, I would be writing instead of doing all of this other stuff.

She said when she sits down to write, doing the dishes sounds more fucking appealing.

Yes.

So here I am.

Instead of doing anything else, I’m writing.