I went out running yesterday, when the world was full of spring air, wind, blue sky and sunlight. Some of the neighborhoods smelled like Easter with their cultivated gardens and blooming pansies. I went out running and it felt incredible to be alive. Feeling free and happy, I ran all the way into town. Forest Gump's voice was actually in my head, saying "I just kept on going." I smiled as I ran, with a secret inside. What a surprise to discover that this was easy! By the time I returned home, I had traveled seven miles and despite feeling a slight discomfort in my feet from wearing old shoes, I wasn't tired. That hasn't happened before.
Perhaps it was because I've been training at the gym on a consistent level, increasing my speed gradually. Maybe it was the weather and the fact that since Richard was home sick, I had hours of free time. Whatever the cause, I felt a sense of great joy building up again, where the lows couldn't reach. The bird had flown away.
As I was running, I thought a little more about what it would mean to devote one's life to writing. This thought arose after seeing some really amazing fine art painted by Tom's son, who has lived his entire adult life as an artist in the mountains of North Carolina. I wondered what would it mean to avoid all the tempting ways to make regular, steady money. To give up comfort and security to create something over the course of years, never knowing if it would sell or be accepted. The courage in that leap of faith is mind boggling.
So as I was running along, I was thinking about myself as a writer. I used to hear this said on the subject: "writer's write". And that used to stick on the roof of my mouth like a wad of cheap white bread from a peanut butter sandwich; I longed to flick it out. Writers write. How obvious.
Yet there's truth in the idea of accomplishing something with regular practice, like running on the treadmill. One day, I might find that I've written an entire chapter and found myself in the midst of a town, with bustling traffic, fast food restaurants and medical buildings. What if I wrote things on paper in the same regular practice as I run?
I was thinking about writing as I ran. I ran past an earth worm and knew I could write about that worm and my childhood. I saw dandylions and knew that they would be in the writing too. Then I passed an empty pack of Marlboro's and said, "yup, there's loads to write during those years."
Then I came home and instead of writing those things, poured a cold glass of ice water and went out to the deck, feeling the warming sun and breeze. Perhaps in the end it won't matter much if I ever write about weeds, worms and cigarettes.
But I think I might be leaning towards the idea.