Writing Big Year: Oh, exuberance, save me!

The brain wave was to insert into a pivotal historical moment, handed down by a US president, the likely whereabouts and reactions of nine reactor pioneers across the globe. Well, it reads like magic. Hence the emotion in the photo.

But the flip side is that this required quite some detective work (delays, delays) and it chews up a couple of pages. In the end does it work? I’ll have to wait to read the entire Chapter 5.

Jogging Big Year: Why abandon such wonder?

Jogging an entire year always seemed risky, especially on January 1, but it’s now part of my life. An ingrained habit that invokes wonder week after week.

But I’ve made the decision to switch next year. To ditch the specific fortitude and skill built up over a calendar year, probably never to try it again.

Why? Wear and tear on feet is the most sensible reason; although the feet have held up well, how much longer can they? Secondly, I believe I can get the high of real cardio effort (call it huffing and puffing) with cycling, as long as hills are in the mix. Thirdly, it’s time to try something else, and surely that’s the most implacable logic. A Big Year isn’t a Big Year if it is two years.

Writing Big Year: Forward?

As a geek, I read way too much. I read way too much about writing. Often there seems no point to much of that reading about writing, really, but I do it for some reason that compels. Nearly all of it washes over me – blah blah blah, same old, same old – but when something strikes me, it hits hard.

In “Fierce on The Page: Become the Writer You Were Meant to Be and Succeed on Your Own Terms,” Sage Cohen asks: “Who can you count on for feedback that helps move your work ahead?”

My answer is more important than it first seems: I can count on the Inner City Writers Workshop, a group of disparate writers whose only commonalities are dreams of fame and fortune; at least a modicum of talent (all eight of us are about equal, possessing quite some skills and rough edges); a work ethic within the chaos of life; humor; quick minds. We meet fortnightly. We read and critique. We support, we suggest, we yearn for each other.

Writing those words unearths the real significance of ICWW: no one else in my life always “moves my work forward.” Let me ensure I dig in for the crew.

Writing Big Year: Slave to research

I’m not drafting, back in the 40s and 50s, I’m taking research notes, forward into the 60s and 70s and even later. I know drafting words is the key for me, right now, so why detour into research? Well, if I don’t keep research ahead of wordsmithing, I’ll get swamped sometime down the track. Instinctively, a couple of weeks on this guff is the right thing to do, right now. Am I right? Who knows.

Overcoming a hoodoo jog

A rigid routine: 4 jogs each week on set days, each on a different route. All 4 routes are 10 kms, so the only practical differences are the amounts of ascent, in layman’s terms how bloody hilly they are! It turns out my toughest route, North Loop, climbs 80 metres; I feel every metre and I run it at about 6:15 mins/km (with a fastest pace of 6:05). The easiest route, West & Back, only has around 60 metres and I’m clocking it at about 6:05 (fastest being 5:58). You can see that less hills means easier, means faster.

Another route, East Loop, lies in between the extremes. The ascent is about the same as the easiest route, around 60 metres, but the climb comes in the form of one daunting, steeper hill. Accordingly, I do this route at around 6:10, in between the others. (My fastest is 5:59).

But my hoodoo route, North & Back, also involves 60 metres of ascent, but I’m travelling at 6:15 and I’ve never run it faster than 6:10. It occurred to me over the weekend to question why this is so. There is a tough pinch, up to Yarra Boulevard, but the key factor seems to be that very little is dead flat. This route undulates and I don’t like it.

So a few days ago, I jumped at the hoodoo route. I set off at a decent pace, then focused on surging up all the slight inclines, and over the tough pinches, I put extra grunt into my strides. I was wrung out by the end, but not, funnily enough, more than usual, and my pace came in at 6:01.

Hoodoo conquered! But nothing comes for free: my right ankle is slightly suspect, and my left arch, cured now for two months, twinges once more. Sigh . . .