The perfect couple

perfect couple

Running and Writing sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g,

First comes love, then comes marriage,

Then comes baby in the baby carriage.

I may be a little biased, but running and writing are the perfect couple. They rarely fight or argue. The weakness of one is the strength of the other.

Writing requires a lot of butt in chair time, fingers whirling over keys, and brain checking off plot points and character arcs. Butt in chair, adds up to a lot of butt. That’s where running comes in, to work off the butt. Running does a lot more for writing than just working off all the crap you shove in your face while you agonize over what’s happening in your character’s lives.

Running increases creativity and problem solving through clearing stress and flooding your brain with oxygen. Writers block? Lace up and head out the door for five miles. Let go of the writing and let your mind wander. You could see something that will get your muse back to work or something may just pop into your head. Running also helps with sleeping, as writers sleep is the time when we do our best work.

Running can take you physically and emotionally to places you have never experienced. It teaches you to dig deep, stick to a schedule, and build slowly, which are important lessons for writers who sometimes think they can only write when they feel like it. As a runner, there are days when you would rather stay in bed than go out in the cold and run 800-meter repeats (which suck if you’ve never had the experience).

Writers have the tendency to hole up and not socialize much and running with a group or training for a race can get you out the door and around people who don’t inhabit your head. Runners come from diverse backgrounds and their stories of running adventures may fuel your next novel.

All right, so how does writing help running? Runners by their nature like to push themselves to their limits. This is a good thing, when that’s what is on the training schedule, but rest is equally important. Sitting in front of a computer or pad of paper is excellent rest.

 

Courage and Empathy of Writers

antagonist love

It is my theory that writers have a deeper understanding of human motivation and behavior than others in the general population. They may not have the expert terminology of a neurologist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, but their comprehension of what goes on in our heads is significant.

In order to write three-dimensional characters, writers must become students of human behavior. We need to be able to show how a victim of a rape would respond to police and their own thoughts. We need to show how a child would react when their orange balloon is popped by a dead bird falling from the sky.

We may have experienced a few or similar situations to what we put our characters in, but I certainly hope that most of us have not had to live through the torture we exact upon our characters.

Pushing, pulling, and fractured the prior life of a character moves beneath the surface of the story.  Writers understand that experiences and present circumstances motivate actions and thoughts. As we discover our character’s backstory and their present role in our novel, we know that these flow into and around one another.

People in the real world are no different. The difficulty in predicting their behavior and decisions is that we don’t know their backstory and we may not have a full understanding of the present circumstances and pressures from the environment, which will influence the ultimate outcome.

I wonder, are writers more empathetic and accepting of other people’s faults because they know even the most heinous villain could change if they were presented with the right “plot points” in their life?

Writers are also more courageous than your average Joe on the street. They look into the eyes of the worst types of people and still love them on a deep level. You cannot effectively communicate who your antagonist is if you don’t love them, and the reader will be unable to suspend their disbelief regarding the antagonist’s motivation, decisions, and actions.

Not only do writers stare pure evil and insanity in the face, they also destroy what is pure and innocent in the world. Some writers may not want to admit to loving their antagonist, sometimes not even to themselves. No one wants others to cast judgment upon them for the devilry committed by a character.

Just because you understand and empathize with your character doesn’t mean that you are evil or would commit any acts committed by your characters. We all have evil, awful, destructive, lustful thoughts.  Anyone who says they don’t, is lying. Writers are just brave enough to put them out there for the world to see.

Perhaps, writers are less likely to commit heinous acts because they have expressed them rather than holding them in and bottling them up.

How You See Me

kids on the street

Seeking eyes and whirling thoughts piece together who I am.

Despite my many faces, my eyes have never changed.

A brief once over tells me if you want to open me up or forget we passed within a breath.

Your suns shine cold on my skin, as the storm clouds wrap me in warmth.

Hold me steady while I skitter and dart toward the trees.

Flitter like a butterfly as I strip you bare.

Covered with dark, they still tickle my skin crawling with one hundred legs beneath my veil.

Draw your curtains closed, but the remnants of who I am remain.

Spread your wings and glide on currents toward the ground beneath my feet.

Search my mirrors lost in your own design.

Dive into the depths and lose yourself in dreams.

What’s it all about?

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Fighting for a Chance to Dream is my life’s premise and theme. I began fighting for my chance to dream when I was seventeen years old. My archenemy was myself as is the case for many of us. My newborn son was the inciting event, which caused me to drastically change my life’s course from what you see above. That’s my brother and me. I’m 13 years old in that picture.

Homelessness, major depression, suicidal ideation, delusional, cults membership, a rape victim, a domestic violence victim, a drug addict, criminal, high school dropout, pregnant teen, and teen mom, all of these labels have hung from my neck. In the past, I have allowed other people’s beliefs and my experiences to define who I was and what my abilities were.

I chose to fight back once I realized that the sun still rose over the mountains despite my belief that I was not worthy to walk in its warmth. I decided that I didn’t want to be a victim anymore, especially the victim of myself.

My prior experiences still color who I am and the decisions I make. They always will, but they no longer define me. Rather than allowing them to weigh me down, I have climbed on top of them using them to reach for the sky. Currently, I am a single mom, attorney, ultrarunner, and writer.

True freedom is the combination of the ability to dream and the courage to fight for your dreams. Acceptance, belonging, and hope begin and end within yourself.

Here you will find posts containing my writing, writing tips, thoughts on children with mental health issues, parenting children with mental health issues, advocacy issues, and frustrations of mine with the world as a whole. You will also find inspiration and hope.

This blog will have no boundaries. It will contain all facets of me to some extent. However, my running advice, experience, and musings will be posted primarily on my blog Ultrarunningmom.com, but I’m sure some of it will leak into a few blogs here. So, if you only want to read about running you can go here.