October and half of November

Well, that was quick! I knew October was going to be a busy month, but I had no idea I’d be so swept up by events that I wouldn’t have another chance to post here until mid-November. While the living has not been so “slow” lately, it has certainly been happy.

October began with the Yakima Fresh Hop Festival, as documented in my last post. The following weekend was the Victoria marathon. As I’ve written here, I can now and forever call myself a marathoner!

The weekend of October 19-20 we went to Seattle to see the Moody Blues for what I believe to be my 40th time (CFL’s second). They never disappoint, and this was yet another great show by my all-time favorite band. The following evening we attended the 10th anniversary celebration for the local region of the sports car club that I belong to. As a charter member of the region, I was among those who stood up to share memories of our early days. Good times!

Our big travel event for late October was a trip down to Eugene, Oregon for a philosophy conference at which I presented a paper. My paper was a very preliminary attempt to make sense of what I have learned (and continue to learn) about running and personal transformation. I’m playing with the idea of the literal steps and place-to-place movement of my running “career” as a metaphoric movement through the course of caregiving, grieving, and re-creating one’s life anew. My paper was well-received at the conference, but I didn’t get enough feedback to determine which direction I want to go further with this.

Here’s the dilemma I’m mulling over in my mind. I think these life experiences that I’ve had make for a good story, but I want to frame them conceptually as something more than a simple memoir. As a scholar/philosopher, I want to put them in a philosophical context — which would seriously limit the potential audience. At the same time, as a person who has actually had these very real and human experiences, I do want to make them accessible to others — not as a slick “self-help” book, but as some sort of a guidebook for the journey. I’m sure there is a happy medium there between conceptual “navel gazing” and pop psychology, but I can’t quite grasp yet what that middle ground might look like.

So I think I will do some noodling around with alternate takes on writing projects and see whether the work finds the right direction, or at least the direction that it wants to go. Many times in the past, I have begun to write without having a clue where I might end up, and I have learned what I needed to learn in the process of writing. I sense that this will be another one of those times.

That was October. Now, what the heck has happened with November so far? I think I must have exhaled and collapsed!

We’ve brewed two batches of beer — a black IPA for Thanksgiving and an Old Ale for mid-December — and I’m tweaking my recipe for the imperial stout that we’ll brew next week to have ready for New Years.

We keep talking about a hike up the Elwha River valley before winter really sets in, but we seem to be so busy from day to day that we haven’t blocked out a full day for a good, long hike. We haven’t let up on the daily activity streak, however — yesterday was day 317, and I’ve logged just under 1,900 miles of running, biking, hiking, and walking since the beginning of this year.

This time of year, when everything changes suddenly and dramatically from green to gold and then to brown/gray, it can be difficult to escape a sense of the urgency and inevitability of passing time.

The “slow happy” mantra is a reminder to ourselves to appreciate and make the most of NOW. But it can be difficult to resist packing too much into each NOW.

Sometimes NOW needs to be a silent soaking-it-in time/place — even if we only get to be there in our memories or thoughts.

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I’ll try to remember to slow down and pay attention as I go about my busy day.

How about you?

6 responses to “October and half of November

  1. Lori– Figuring out what you need to write as you write seems like one reasonable way to do this. I know that I sometimes don’t know what I think about something until I’ve written it (or written it and gone back a bit later to read it). There’s always that niche question: where does it fit and how is it the same/different from everything else that’s out there. This also got me to thinking about the ways we write, and I found a website by a well known sociologist (Howard Becker) which includes some of his articles about his approach to writing. We used the “Writing for Social Scientists” book in Proseminar, and I initially used his book “Art Worlds” the first few times I taught Soc. of Art. I think his stuff would support the approach you’re thinking about.

    • Colleen, it’s funny. This is one of those things that I KNOW how to do. I know far more about writing than I do about running, having been a writer of sorts almost as far back as I can remember. But this, as you know, is a story that I’ve been dancing around — with good reason — for almost three years now. Sometimes I think I should just leave it alone, but other times it feels like the very thing that I have to do. We’ll see….
      Meanwhile I’ll check out that website. Thanks!

  2. You did an excellent job with this!

  3. You are, and always have been, a far better and more fluent writer than me. I enjoy the research and the nitty gritty pieces (i.e. changing an article over to a different documenting style for submission to an Australian journal). Writing it up can be painful, although fruitful. I also know I have a problem with DOING something instead of researching it to death first. :)

    • Colleen, for me I think a spiral process of reading/reflecting/writing/reading/etc. works best. Given that I never know exactly where I’m going to end up when I start, I find that once I put something on paper, the rest follows. On the other hand, I dread things like tweaking the formatting to fit somebody else’s idea of “just right.” Maybe we should co-write something?

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