Photo: Simone Pellegrini
It takes 80,000 words to make a novel, about 10,000 words to be fluent in another language, and 52 kilometres of running to complete a marathon.
These are daunting figures in their own right, but perhaps less intimidating when viewed from this perspective: writing 250 words, learning one sentence, and running for 15 minutes each day.
Photo: Priscilla Du Preez
It seems as if my life’s just about making one blunder after another.
Things have took a turn for the better compared to ten years ago, but the mistakes keep coming. I still have issues to work on, wounds to heal, and a life to improve, yet I often mess them up by doing the wrong things.
Looking back, I wish I’d studied harder, worked harder, and didn’t waste so much time just loafing around. Who knows what I might’ve become had I applied myself much earlier in life?
Photo: Nicolas Ladino Silva
“Yeah, it took me two tries to quit smoking.”
That’s my usual reply to: “You used to smoke? You?”
And what leads up to this is other people talking about smoking. The best cigarette is always the first one of the day, they’d say. The next best times are after a meal, or while taking a dump.
Photo: Trent Szmolnik
I know, I know. Enough of ‘just write’ articles. If you’re a writer worth your salt, you’ve probably procrastinated more than five times the amount you actually work, so I’m sure you’ve come across your share of similar articles during these times of ‘creative rest’.
I’ll be upfront and say that this article is probably not for you—no wait don’t close the browser. What I meant to say was, I had a rough time piecing this story together and I almost sent this draft to the trash, but I’d recently made a decision to increase my writing output, and part of that commitment involves finishing my shit.
Photo: Jean Wimmerlin
There are times when life kicks you in the butt, and then there are times when it really gives you a shafting. You know, those times when you metaphorically feel like you’re getting drawn and quartered after you’ve had ten inches shaved off your height at the guillotine.
At these junctures in life, the problems will seem like they’ll never end, like the eternal crash of waves on the seashore. You’ll curse the heavens and call on anyone who’d listen to your plight. How could the world be so cruel? Can’t the gods see the injustice? Only once the initial anger passes will you see the truth: The universe doesn’t give a damn about you.
Photo: Simon Rae
So for some reason I’d decided to give meditation a go. I’m usually not one for spirituality, or even sitting still for that matter, but there was scientific evidence backing the benefits of meditation, so I figured at least I’d come out of this with some sort of benefit.
A quick Google search resulted in a host of alleged superpowers to be gained from this practice, such as increased creativity and lowered anxiety. That was enough to swipe it off the land of woo-woo and into me signing up for whatever it entailed.
Photo: Oscar Keys
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” —Robert Brault
You may or may not have heard about that introduction quote. Which means it may or may not be a cliché by now. Writers are often told to avoid clichés because their meaning tends to be downplayed by their popularity, but sometimes there is a reason behind said popularity. And one of the reasons for anything being popular is because they’re true most of the time, being relevant even during boring times, like my occasional runs.
I like running because I can figuratively run away from my problems and sometimes even make the leap to the literal. It helps me meditate on my life’s troubles without having to deal with the brunt of the pain, being distracted by shortness of breath and all. These thoughts never seem to end: the perils of my future, my ill-spent days zooming by, never achieving greatness in my craft, fear of death—the usual.