Fall is edging into Mondoville. A few trees are coloring and the Japanese Camellia in out backyard is blooming. We’re looking at a cool and rainy week, but we may see some sun next weekend. Here’s hoping.
One of the things I’ve learned about my writing is that it goes where it wants to go. Sometimes it takes me further into my novel, but other days it takes me other places. I wrote a short story based on one of my dad’s drawings a couple of weeks ago, and have a strong avenue to a story based on one of his paintings at the moment.
Of course, my usual level of self-doubt leaves me thinking I haven’t done enough, that I’m wasting this gift of time. But on the other hand, given the weirdness of this semester and the usual intrusions of daily life and chores, I wonder if I would even have accomplished what little I may have done without the sabbatical. And it isn’t yet over, after all. Still, I worry.
On the upside, I’ve gotten back to walking in the past few weeks, and put in about four hours on the track at my local Y this week. There’s some satisfaction in that, and I hope I can find it within me to keep doing it when I’m back at my regularly scheduled work.
I’m feeling more zen about it than I was a few years ago. I was obsessing over speed and distances when I was on the treadmill — which helpfully provides users with exactly that sort of information (and things like calories burned as well.) As I’m just ambling around an indoor track these days, all I’m trying to do is keep alternating feet for some X amount of time. A typical walk for me seems to involve targeting, say, 45 minutes, but giving myself permission to quit after 30 if I choose. But by the time I make it to the half-hour, I’ve thus far felt like “Okay — I can do another 15.” And so I do. And Friday, I was even able to add 15 on top of that, because it would bring me to an even four hours on the week. I decided that was enough, and went back home when I was done.
Because we live in an age of measurement (and what they now call “assessment” in my line of work) and data, I again find myself wondering if what I’m doing is worthwhile — how will I know if I’m improving or regressing? But with a gimpy knee and my ever present clumsiness, I should probably just accept that doing it at all is a goal and an end in itself. That’s what I’ll try to keep in mind when I get back to the track tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll just listen to whatever song in playing in my earbuds and check the clock from time to time as I complete a lap.
And speaking of my clumsiness. . .
Last night, around 3 a.m., I got out of bed for the typical reason one does at that hour. But when I returned to bed and sat down in order to lie down. . . well, I missed the bed. I don’t know if I was misdirected by sleepiness or the darkness in the room, but I barely caught the corner at the bed’s foot (I sleep on the “driver’s side”), slipped off and landed on the floor on my back, making sure to bounce my right arm and shoulder off a footstool in the process.
It’s a heck of a note when I can’t even go to bed properly.
I can’t really think of a great deal to add to that, so let’s wrap things up with some music. I’ve mentioned my affection for the work of NYC-based songwriter P.T. Walkley. Because the music business is what it is (by which I mean dreadful), Walkley hasn’t received the critical praise and financial rewards I think he merits. In fact, he makes a living composing music for films, TV shows, and commercials — and good for him, because it’s still music. Still, I’d love to see his songs in wider circulation, because he’s a fine composer and remarkably clever lyricist, with a wry take on contemporary life and love.
I posted a live version of this on Twitter yesterday, but here’s the studio version, and it makes me smile, even when I’m walking.
See you soon!