Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creative Writing

Creative Writing has always been a passion of mine. It lurks in the back of my personality, quietly reminding me that I can escape there once in a while, and I will almost always come away pleased that I visited an old friend. It is one of the rare "raw talents" I possess. Not to boast, writing has come easy to me in life. Embarrassingly I admit that I totally b-s'ed my way through Greek Lit in undergrad -- I mean, really, who totally understood The Odyssey anyway? I got an A for being able to write about absolutely nothing. My professor's comment? "I never thought of it that way, Excellent!"

So the talent has pushed me along a few times in life, when the girls need a story idea, or when I have to write up justification at work for a budget proposal to the Provost. It just comes in handy to be able to write and communicate.

In fact, when I was in high school I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to do feature stories for the newspaper, I wanted to publish books of poetry. I headed off to the School of Journalism at Bowling Green State University intending to be one of those "at the scene" journalists, camera in hand so I could have photos to back up my stories. Unfortunately I was told that my ability to write simply fact was lacking. In other words, I could not simplify, I could not boil it down to the mundane. I had to be "flowery." At least when I transferred to Baldwin-Wallace College I was able to integrate my writing into some creative outlets, like creative poetry, and writing feature articles for The Exponent. I was, in fact, the only reporter on the scene when Beau Coup did a live show right in our student center. I had an exclusive interview and photo. And I got paid for all I wrote.

My favorite professor, Paula Rankin, was a published writer/poet, who taught me so much about living life. In retrospect, even though the term wasn't familiar to me at the time, Paula taught me how to be "present" in my day, to notice tiny details. She taught me "there is a poem in everything." And even more importantly she advised that especially in creative writing, get "triple mileage" out of each line.

All good writers I know -- and by good I mean, those with whom I am familiar and whose talent appeals to me -- write on at least two levels. On one level is the paragraph, the literal story. And the next level is the unwritten meaning behind those words. To a more get-to-the-fact-of the-matter type of person, the message is clear and simple. To a friend, or someone who knows the writer at a personal level, the intent may be completely different.

My point is that there is talent in being able to write on a few different levels. To communicate almost a secret message to those who know the writer.

Since I have begun this blog, I have attempted to put my true self into the posts, mostly all with triple mileage intent. More times than I will admit, I have been audited for content. I have pulled complete blog posts that were personal and meaningful and cathartic for me, but may have been perceived as a less than positive reflection on others. Being audited and supervised really does stunt my creativity -- although I totally understand the need to respect and protect the privacy of those individuals in my life to whom the message pertained.

In case you are close to me, and you have figured out that there are major life changes happening -- there are, there have been now for years. Nothing so major that compared to others I would be outstanding in my plight -- in fact, I have been very blessed over the years. I have two daughters who are so mature and loving and conscientious that I cannot believe I actually raised them! I have been married to a man who showed me that being positive can make life better overall. Thank God I have been blessed with good health, as are my daughters -- thank you, Jesus.

Most of the people I know in my life right now are going through some major life turmoil. We've all taken on too much! We've all tried to multi-task and over do. We've all made promises we are tested to keep, every day. We all have our own pot of tears.

So here's the thing: due to circumstances that really no one exactly knows (only we are living here in our exact lives) and perhaps circumstances I myself was disappointed to have faced over the last few years -- I find myself a single woman (again) today. This decision has shredded my heart since Spring... it was not come to lightly or without great pain. I cannot think the truth in to being just as I cannot think myself happy.

I only ask that we leave the immaturity behind, and respect each other as humans. All of us. No matter which side you take, if you even take a side. Most of you will not even care. Some of you will keep loving us both. A few of you are way to busy to notice a change. A couple of you haven't even read this far.

Unfortunately, reality is reality. I could have come up with a whole creative, well-written blog today that means two things... or, I could have just come right out and said it. Today, plain and simple, a fact is a fact. And I have now reported it to you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baby Monkey (Going Backwards On A Pig) - Parry Gripp

Short reflection on the Oil Creek 100k

Reflection on Oil Creek 100k course/race day:

  • Easily the hardest course I have run -- due mostly to the technical trails.
  • The course was forgiving in that the climbs were not relentless, and there were runnable sections with fewer rocks and roots (and random oil pipes) than other sections which were extremely challenging.
  • The blue sky weather gave us a spectacular start at 5 a.m. full of bright stars and gorgeous views.
  • The cool temps were a blessing compared even to the weather last weekend for the Towpath Marathon, but it was harshly cold at night if you concentrated on it (or left your gloves at an aid station).
  • Thank goodness for random porto-potties placed in the woods by the race director.
  • Very cool history surrounding and through the area.
  • GREAT door prizes!

Reflection on my results:

  • Okay, so I admit I am embarrassed at my 18+ hour finish.
  • I went out there to enjoy the day, run and have fun, and socialize.
  • I did not race it, I ran it.
  • I stopped for 9 porto-potty breaks -- which if you consider 3 minutes per break that is 27 additional minutes in the bathroom.
  • I stopped and talked and socialized and messed around at each aid station (because they were pretty far apart)... 8 total aid stations, 3 minute stop at each at least, that is 24 additional minutes at aid stations.
  • My longest run before this race was Burning River on August 1st. I have only run a marathon or 50k (or training runs of 20-26 miles) each weekend since.
  • Physically I was not in the greatest shape, I have been stressed emotionally, training poorly, and eating even worse.

My results overall are not THAT embarrassing:

  • There were 13 total drops from the 100k, 49 finishers
  • I was 35th of 49 finishers overall
  • 6 women dropped, 4 women did not start
  • Best of all, , and I was 7th of 13 females, or the 53rd percentile among women (right about where I normally finish)
  • This WAS a tough course. Really.

Looking forward, I would actually like to improve my times -- in other words, race a race instead of just run a race. Perhaps once my life settles down, a few notches below CRAZY, I will be able to actually train and do better than "good enough."

Congratulations to all my friends who were involved, and most importantly congratulations to Terri Lemke who braved the worst night (probably of her running career) and powered through 100 miles of adversity (assisted by a patient and persistent pacer, Mark Carroll). Terri is one TOUGH woman, mentally AND physically. I am so happy for her finish, most of all.

Congrats to Kim Boner who was first place woman for the 100k!

I am surrounded by greatness and hope that one day that greatness WILL rub off on me.

Heal well, everyone!