It’s 79 degrees outside, and I’m one happy puppy. I just got back from a run, and it feels so good. I run during cold weather, but I don’t really enjoy it. It’s like running in a sleeping bag, while pulling barbed wire through your throat. And I don’t even live in Boston anymore. I’ve become a weather wuss.
All that padding slowed me down. I was running a lot of miles, but very slowly. I couldn’t move that fast, so I never really got to the point of pain. I didn’t go running, I went trudging. A lot of effort, not a lot of accomplishment.
Last week I put on the running shorts and switched out my heavy winter running sneaks for a pair of minimal shoes. I was flying. There was only one problem.The shoes I ran in during the winter had thick soles and lots of padding. I wore heavy socks. So, the calluses I’d built up throughout the year were gone. My Minimus shoes are a sole and some shoelaces. By the time I’d reached a mile, my feet were already sporting blisters. By the time I’d reached two, my left foot was bleeding.
I love my minimal shoes. I feel every change in terrain, the stones, the heaved up pavement, the curves and ridges along the path. My feet spread out to grip the ground, and my stride is even and natural. It’s not always a comfortable run, but it feels so much better than the slow trudge. It’s all about choosing the right path and not mistaking discomfort for pain. This morning I slapped a band-aid on my foot. I just finished four miles.
My writing experience has been similar. A few months ago, I was writing every moment. I had content enough to post every day and still have words left unsaid. I was submitting stories and poems almost weekly. I had momentum. I got rejections and moved on, knowing, as they say, that it was one step closer to yes. I got acceptances and began to embrace that my future as a writer might not be as impossible as I’d thought.
Winter came, I focused on editing my novel and I guess I got wrapped up in it. I began posting less frequently and writing less material. The steady stream of words became a trickle. I haven’t submitted anything of late, either. I’m not feeling secure in the work. It feels forced, the truth muffled behind a lot of words. I kept my writing close, so it could be both protected and protective.
Now, it is spring again, and I feel the urge to write returning. I’m shedding the layers, but it’s painful. I’m feeling the rocks and twigs and tree roots under the soil, but my footing is more secure. My writer’s soul is raw and exposed. The raw soul is where truth resides.
So I get up tomorrow, put a band-aid on it and move on. It’s cool. I have a bunch of Superman band-aids left, and Dude won’t wear them anymore. I just hope they are ouchless. Taking those suckers off hurts.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph “Minimalist Running Shoe” by Patrick Maloney © 2011 Creative Commons