11.29.2010

Time and Effort

Pushing off, so to speak, from Mr. Pond's post on oranges and grass... because we're still not arguing

Click to view full-size. My entire life resembles this graph...


Twenty-seven hours and forty-nine minutes of NaNoWriMo remain to me. I have 1,651 words left to write. Not being a marathoner myself, I can't say for sure, but my guess is that when you get to the last mile, you're pretty confident you'll make it. You might want to die one step beyond the finish line, but you will. get. there. Or else.

It's definitely true of this great November write-a-thon. And I might even work on my novel a little further tonight. Maybe I'll try for the win on the early side. A little certainty makes life easier.

Honestly... I'm ready to be finished. If September and October hadn't been a revision marathon, November might not have been so exhausting, but the thought of writing without a deadline sounds lovely right about now.

Says Mr. Pond:

I do run.

The first few months were miserable. You can’t breathe, for one thing. You can’t really run very far without having to walk, for another. Physically, you have a sensation like the musical experience of listening to someone almost play the violin. Even when it starts getting easier, it doesn’t really.

Now I love running. Not the thrill of having run, or being able to call myself a runner, but the act of running itself.... Because this—not that—is the joy of running. The freedom and rhythm of body, breath, and movement. The ability to move effortlessly for even part of the time, the lightness of pace and rhythm. The subtle teasing sense when walking that you could start running if you wanted. The fluidity of movement.

Of course, he goes on to say, running still has its painful life-hating moments of pushing yourself farther or faster than you thought you could go. Those, however, are moments. And he compares all that to writing. The words come painfully, especially at first. With time and practice, you experience things like ease of motion, freedom, the joy of the work.

Couldn't have said it better myself. As a writer, I live for those times of sheer absorption in the beauty of good phrasing, of powerful scenes, of words that fit and flow together till they vanish—like the clear, clean glass of a window—into the vision they are put in place to convey.

Times like that happen more in the daily run than in the marathon. Now is the time to grit my teeth and put the remaining strength of every muscle into finishing strong. Come December 1, I can pause for breath, take a day or two off, and go back to the routine jog along the bay.

For now, I have twenty-six hours and thirty-three minutes to get in those other sixteen hundred-odd words. I'm off to work on it.

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