I was musing the other day, as one does, that there are some useful parallels to be drawn between running and writing. And some less so. I was thinking about the relationship between joy and pain, mind vs duende and, obviously, shoes. Although I do not yet possess a pair of writing shoes. Thinking about it, I tend to write in socks. By which I do not mean that I am some sort of Jimmy Cricket / Mr Bean -style sock-labeller, but someone who wears socks while writing. Or to be precise, typing. I do wear shoes while I’m writing in Starbucks. Although I notice the little people consider shoes both optional and occasionally, nutritious. But I digress.
So, there I am. Water bottle in one hand, writing baton in the other, sanity in neither. When I started to think. You see, one of the problems of bimbling up and down the same bit of the Thames too often is that your mind starts wandering. No longer is the dirty greeny-grey sludge that passes for a river or the raucous seagulls out-mooding the local Eastern European hoodies enough for my poor head. No my mind tends to start pootling off down other avenues marked psychobabble and sociopathology. I said socioPATHology. Avenues. Oh, suit yourselves.
So my head, hot and shrunken (or for any americans in the audience, shrunked) by misdeeds. messed up feelings and missed thoughts (the ones that leak out of your head through tears in the night) occasionally rewards me with an insight or two. [Aside – of course insight has nothing to do with being able to see the inside of your head, that’s merely to prevent young chiddlers from turning their eyes back to front and spending too much time grossing themselves out. Plus they’d probably walk into things a lot. Which is bad for Elfin Safety. And anyone Britisher knows that Elfin Safety is the most important thing on the planet. Other than Muslim Warming and Global Idiocy. On, and Controlled Parking Zones.]
So, yes, where was I? Oh. Insight. I was thinking how running and writing were similar – in that both involve a certain mental discipline, bloody minded-ness and owning lots of Apple-related equipment. Ok, more seriously. I run, ok? I run most of the time comfortably within myself. And occasionally I race. And when I race it is a constant battle not to give up. Not to slow down. Not to be beaten by a womble / rhino / old man hopping / clydesdale (this last lot is a category of runner in the US – you have to be over 200lbs. A category I qualified for as soon as I discovered Strongbow. Well, I say ‘discovered’. More ‘meet, encounter, stumble on’ (thankyou Roget) or ‘stumble because’ (thankyou Roger).
Similarly, I write. I spend a lot of time emailing, or blogging, or (sigh) updating statuses that no-one will read or care about (unlike @jscarroll who comes up with some stonking links, if anyone’s interested). It doesn’t matter. It’s easy. It’s almost fun. And unlike when I’m running, I do not get barked at, honked at, spat at or um, squawked at. I can also not listen to Underworld or Ulrich Schnauss and other bands not beginning with U. But when I sit down to write, well, it’s all I can do to spend five minutes in the chair. It’s like having a second body inside me (not that I can see it, cf insight) that is constantly trying to escape. I find myself sitting at my desk slightly angled to my right because I constantly get up (heading left). Odd.
And I wonder if it’s the same little duende in my head that tells me to stop running and to escape the writing chair. Or is there a whole army of little duendes up in the noggin that each have specific negative jobs to do to try and screw up your life? Well, if you’ve made it this far in the post – what do you reckon?
Is there one anti-guardian angel, or several? Or to put it in schizophrenic’s terms, is it one voice with different accents, or lots of voices?