Zephyr 98 Archive

Hop on Pop

Posted on: June 13, 2009

Run run run Flap slap flap
Running feet go flap slap flap
Why do feet go flap slap flap?
I don’t know, go ask your pap

Yesterday afternoon, just before a little typhoon struck and washed away part of the Rose Festival Fun Center (huzzah!), my employer held its first annual side-walk-a-thon to raise money for the Oregon Food Bank. We each circled a large park block in front of the office for up to an hour (not crossing the street avoided the need for a permit and people to hold our hands), some of us running or jogging, some walking, one unicycling, and three–for their last lap–skipping. I ran, slowly, at my 10 minute pace, not intending to stop except for quick water breaks.

If you run, you know that some days your feet roll and knees compress slightly like the well oiled hydraulic machines you imagine them to be (speed of cheetah! gait of gazelle!). Other days you know what it feels like to run like a duck. I ran a few laps like a sleepy gazelle, then the rest like a heavy bottomed duck. That’s how it goes somedays. But I didn’t stop. Sometimes I drafted faster, more athletic participants. Sometimes I ran with others and we talked while we ran. Most laps I ran alone.

Writing is a bit like this. We take the most important step—we show up for a good cause. 90% is showing up—for some people, this is the easy part, and the remaining 10% is a grind. For others, it’s the hard part, but once you’re there, the rest just flows. Some days, it’s all hard, but if you don’t do it, just like people who don’t get food, you starve.

Days when the writing flows like the motion of the ocean, like the gait of a gazelle—they’re rare for me. Most days, my brain flaps and slaps, and I wonder what the hell I showed up for. So I set a goal—word count, hours at the pen or keyboard, and I keep going, no matter what.

There’s no conclusion. Just show up. My daughter’s crying in her sleep–bad dream. Maybe she’s running from something. Time for me to show up.

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