Friday, August 18, 2006

I like these stories

about people publishing their first novels later in life. I am so fond of novels that really I think anyone who has any urge whatsoever should have the experience of writing one! (Nonfiction is good too.)

It's like long-distance running, there is of course a great difference between the people who really do it very seriously and well and the people who run a marathon once or twice just so they can feel that they have done it and yet it still seems to me good that the latter exist and that it has become so democratic. I read two books recently about training to run a marathon and it was comical what different approaches they took (differences that informed everything right down to the physical artifact of the book, it was most interesting--this one's the hard-core guy and this one's the softie--not recommended, it is one of those non-books that I would never have bought in an actual bookstore, it's a bit of a lesson about ordering things online...).

My Cambridge friend A. excitingly persuaded me earlier in the summer that I should run the half-marathon with her in Miami at the end of January, and I am determined to do it. I'm taking a running class that I am hoping will magically transform me from, you know, the slowest runner in the world to something more like a very steady slow runner who has no problem running thirteen miles. I actually think this is totally feasible, I have been running 4-5 miles on the treadmill and feeling at the end like I could keep on doing it for quite a while longer. I had a mildly harrowing outdoor run yesterday in Riverside Park, the actual running part was good though rather hot but I ignored a confusing detour sign and found myself cowering in fear of death (I am only slightly exaggerating--there was no actual danger, but it was one of those reptile-brain-type situations where your ancestors on the savannah would have been dropping to their stomachs and crawling along the ground and praying) about 2 inches from the right-hand lane of the West Side Highway with only the tiniest of barriers between, and then on the way back I also sort of got confused about how to navigate the switch back up to my part of the park and it was not good! This guy has a wonderfully obsessive running site with maps and routes and distances, I am going to have to plan my trip better in advance next time. Expect occasional updates here in any case on the running thing, it gives me accountability now that I have told hundreds of people that I am going to do it.

Also at the FT: a tantalizing review of Claire Messud. If I can read the, you know, five other books I most particularly have to read by tomorrow evening, perhaps I will have late-night Messud reading as a reward....

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