May is motherhood memoir month

Running from Writing

Why I run to and from Writing

( photo by nathalie d. mottet)

Writing makes me run. Sometimes I sit down to write, get a few sentences in, and want to jump up. Suddenly something seems more important- I’ll be able to work better with more coffee, or water, or a snack, my mind says.

This is not my higher calling mind. This is my primitive feed-me-now toddler mind, the one that does not want to work hard. The one who loves pleasure and avoids pain.

There is something both painful and pleasurable about writing. But most of the pleasure comes after the work of writing, so I discipline myself to stay on the ball (I sit at my desk on a balance ball) and keep writing for as long as I can. The pleasure, if it comes, is usually later, after I’ve written, maybe when I’m reading over what I’ve got. No guarantee this will be pleasurable. It will most likely mean more work.

Writing fosters another type of running. Sometimes, after I’ve written for a period of time, I actually go running. I’ve never been much of a runner, but physical exertion helps my thought life, and I can run just about anywhere with minimal gear, so I’ve taken up running, at least in spurts between walking.

Between that last sentence and this one, I actually went running. It felt good when I was done, and even part of it felt good when I was doing it, but mostly it was exertion that I had to keep telling myself was good. Good for me. Not necessarily pleasurable in the moment, though there were some moments, like when I got up on the ridge near where I live and could look through the forest down on the Columbia River.

I haven’t been running much lately. Writing is so sedentary, and yet, when I make myself go for a running break, I usually get some break through ideas, ones that send me sprinting for home so I can get them down before I forget.

I never regret running. And now, back to writing.

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