Saturday, January 31, 2009


Having pushed enough coffee into my system to kill 56 Mormons at 100 yards, an interesting (at least to me) parallel between my running ultra marathons and writing novels occurred:

At the start of an ultra, I'm all jittery and giddy with excitement. "Who KNOWS what's gonna happen?!"

The same can be said for the beginning stage of outlining a long-form story: "I can't wait to see how this all develops!"

A few miles in to, say, a 50 mile race, the blood starts pumping and I'm all a-yammerin', blathering about planning for the next 8+ hours, what I'm gearing up to eat, drink, when to rest...

Exactly where I'm at around page 10 or so while tapping away on the computer. "Then *this* character will take *this* course of action, and then *that* thing will go *this* way. Oh goody goody (say I, rubbing my hands together all nerdy-like)..."

Thennnn, mile 20 rolls around, and I have to fight the urge to think, "Oh hell, I'm not even halfway there." Instead, I press on to the next aid station, thinking only in 4-8 mile increments.

Unsurprisingly, right around the halfway point in writing a novel, my guts drop to my ankles when I begin to realize, "How much further? Wait. Wait. Just write this chapter/page/paragraph/sentence/word..."

I suppose I endeavor to tackle grand goals. The questioning is a mere fraction of the process. Pardon me while I toss myself on the therapist's couch and scratch this one out o' my skull, but I believe I set forth on these journeys not for the payday at the end and/or finish line (or, as in the case of ultras, the beers and burger), but for the experiences along the way: Meeting new faces, flashes of discovery, tears of frustration, peaks, valleys, ditches, ruts to dig out of...I open my arms and heart and welcome them all, and when the harsh surface of "The Wall" smashes my legs, or when writer's block wedges itself into my cranium, all I need to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other until I'm up and running once again.

And repeat when necessary.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Sick" Day

It may seem contradictory, but I've decided to take the day "off".

Yes, I always have Mondays off. In fact, I only work Tuesday and Friday evenings. But I've been beating the hell up out of myself for "not doing enough" with my free time because, when you aren't working 40+ hours/week as I've grown accustomed to the last 2 decades, you suddenly realize how much time is devoted to a job.

This collides with epic force with the voice in my head that lectures me how other people are constantly in a state of creating, helping, and doing overall wonderful things with their free time. In fact, I actually have an image in my brain of the more "responsible" me with shirtsleeves rolled up, typing on one of my three novels/works in progress, this squeezed in between the few hours I spent bettering the environment, only after I've delivered meals-on-wheels to several needy homes...

And the list goes on and on.

Last night, Ann and I decided that today, I would wake up "sick", and behave as such. Why? When you're sick, you CAN'T do anything, and usually don't want to. So I've caved in to the concept that I *could* be going to the bank, I *should* open one of my projects and write, but I simply *can't* today.

So I opened some mail, wrote some in my journal, turned off my phone, and have been doing fuck-all today. As a matter o' fact, it's 2:25pm, and I'm still in my pjs, a cup of coffee before me on the coffee table (how appropo).

It seems this will be a facet of my life I'll constantly need to monitor and allow myself to nurture instead of punish.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Me (walking down the street to the grocery store): *whistle whistle, hum hum*

Middle aged guy walking towards me, wearing fedora and perfectly tailored wool coat: "Evening!"

Me: "Hey there!"

Guy (in reference to President Obama's inauguration): "Yesterday was a pretty good day, wasn't it?"

Me: "It sure was. Big day."

Guy: *holds out fist bump*

Me: *fistbumps him*

Guy: "Have a wonderful evening!"

Me: "You too!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Today, I interviewed with a hospice agency outside of Portland. A few weeks ago, their ad captured my attention: They were looking for someone to video an end-of-life patient's "interviews" that he wanted to do for his family.

"Todd" (name changed for anonymity) is a 48 year old man with brain cancer with 2 teenaged daughters.

When I'd first read the ad on a volunteer ad website, something within me was moved: My decade plus experience in television was now applicable to something that meant something deeper - and far more meaningful - to me. And it would mean something to a stranger who needed it.

I met with two workers at the agency today that sealed the entire deal. I felt humbled, honored and blessed to be part of this moment in time.

I filled out my requisite paperwork and had a T.B. test taken.

Again, over and over, I am reminded that this bizarre experience called "life" is all about the journey. No matter where it takes us.