I read halfway through this Australian Financial Review interview in my typical way, that is, fast, so it wasn’t until then I realized this competing (World Cup!) triathlete is blind! Most days he trains early morning and after work. He requires a running guide, someone who runs ahead with some kind of a tether attached. He rides a tandem bike. A swimming guide leads him through water. Imagine . . . how puny my daily motivation seems! I need to rehabilitate my mind to tackle my exercise in a different spirit.
Check out this invigorating scrutiny by the AFR’s Chris Power of the role of critics in what we call the digital age. Is a review just an opinion, equivalent to your fellow book club member’s drunken judgement, or is a well-made (whatever that means) review something of societal value? Me, I say yes to both extremes: humanity needs a new stream of independent, intelligent reviewers but of course reviews are, in the end, just personal views. Why is this important to me? Next year, hopefully, I hope to include a Big Year that launches a new reviewing service/website. Stay tuned . . .
We watched this doco, about one and a half hours long, yesterday on Netflix. Eleven questing Christians from Arizona walk the Camino’s northern route (actually, they deviate from the track quite often), closer to 600 kms than 500. As might be expected, I found the endless proselytising maddening, but the location photography is intoxicating and I gained a better feel for the travails of day-on-day hiking than most such films provide. I recommend it if you’re attracted to pilgrimage routes. One of my theoretical (i.e. as yet unprogrammed) Big Years is to “do” a number of the main global pilgrimages within one calendar year. Something beyond the classic religious underpinning of a pilgrimage appeals mightily to my mind and heart.
I cannot believe this, must not, otherwise I’d retire. Seth Godin, after blogging thoughts and ideas daily for eighteen years, suddenly says: “And yet, here I am, sixteen Aprils in a row on this blog so far, and now, finally, zilch. Empty.” Will he bounce back tomorrow? For my sake, I hope so.
Open, that’s what the sign says. For four days Bar Ristretto was closed and that was my Easter. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate that Easter is a key period for many and I never begrudge them that. It’s also true that any community/country needs public holidays ripe with historical significance, if only so that the community can relax to refresh. But for me, of course I begrudged the loss of regular workdays. Back into it, now, back into it!
Margaret Heffernan’s “Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril” is an intriguing look at our mental boundaries but I especially like this rather opinionated take on physical fitness:
Many people – and not a few companies – like to think that they can somehow stretch the cognitive limits of their minds, that doing lots of Sudoku or using programs like Brain Trainer will somehow enlarge their capacity. They’re out of luck. The only exercise that seems to nurture, or at least protect our brains is aerobic exercise. Yoga, toning and stretching may make you feel good but, in fMRI scans, only aerobic exercise seemed to have a visibly positive impact on the brain. If you want to protect your own intellectual capacity, or that of your employees, the only way to do that is to go to the gym . . .
Don’t get me wrong. If I’m forever bewildered, I’m also glimpsing a year of such magical promise.
Life doesn’t lend itself to simplification. This year is meant to be daily attention to writing interruption-free (1,000 Big Year), generating steady energy through physicality and some dietary changes (Freshness Big Year), finding peace through minimal meditation (Stillness Big Year), and keeping an eye on the big picture by researching self publication (Tractor Big Year). An organic whole, that’s the idea for 2018. This was not to be a year of adventures or adventurousness, not really.
So went the theory. The reality is a pendulum between immense pleasure at seeing the book power onwards and despondency when the year’s tapestry of strictures fails. I’ve realized that this year will be a special challenge, one played out in my mind rather than in the wider world. So be it.
Yesterday I agonized over a plotting issue: where I finished one rough draft of events jarred with where I next took up subsequent events. I tried hard to solve the issue but to no avail. So this morning I blew up the text into a big typeface and printed out a couple of dozen pages. Out come the scissors. On a large desk I’ll snip and reassemble. Hope it works . . . (if it doesn’t there is something even more terribly wrong) . . .