My Blog Made Me Do It

Sunday 12/06/09

Holy Mackerel! A torrent of response to this blog has burst forth in the last couple of days. Nancy Friedman, Chief Wordworker at, publicized the blog in a couple of places and my email in-basket swelled with well-wishes. Responding to this outpouring causes me to realize a couple of things.

One discovery is that I very much enjoy writing about this mission ... quest ... thing. The writing compliments and inspires the physical training. Among the ideas that drift through my head during a long training swim are potential topics for a new blog entry. I’ll write and rewrite a sentence in my head for a half mile or more until a phrase erupts that makes me chuckle. Susan Sward, a professional writer of renown and member of the Dophin Club recently told me she believed that writing about the doing is mutually reinforcing. That's certainly been my experience.

The second thought that emerges is, “I can’t quit now.” It has gotten to the point that I feel I would be letting a lot of people down not to pursue this project to its logical denouement. What is perhaps more compelling is that I, too, want to find out what happens next and how the story ends. This evokes the image of a Hollywood script with plenty of room left for the actors’ improvisations. It’s a road trip, quest, and buddy story all rolled into one and chock full of drama, comedy, and mystery. Sometimes I feel as if I’m merely the chronicler.

I also like learning this new stuff. Researching various topics for blog entries gratifies my dormant inner student. Sharks in the English Channel. Nuances of tidal diamond interpretation. Hypothermia treatment protocols. All of these topics provide opportunities to put the vast resources of the internet to use. I intend to visit the library for the first time in thirty-five years to gain access to expensive scientific journals not available for free on the internet. This will give me source material for an informed essay on topics such as brown fat vs. white fat and swim-specific weight training. I hope not to find reason to research topics such as injuries to the shoulder due to repetitive use.

Anne Lamott penned a hysterically funny book about writing called, “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.” The humor embodies an ardent love letter to truth and beauty and the writing process. Lindsay gave me this book many years ago. Reading it kindled a desire to wrestle with words, paint pictures for the mind, and tell stories. In Ms. Lamott's book, she relentlessly advises the aspiring writer to simply sit down and write. Come to think of it, that’s a whole lot like the admonition to just shut up and swim. The writing and the doing are truly fraternal twins.

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