Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Long time no see...

I think I abandoned this space when I discovered Facebook. The time track seems about right. And isn't that a sorry excuse to abandon one's stated passion, one's raison d'etre for being on the planet in the first place?

But the hoary truth is that the blog - the daily write - the communing on page with whoever might be out there, never took hold in my soul, past the first few weeks of being newly retired.

Lacking any deadline other than elastic self-imposed and easily forgotten ones, I gave up on me, and quickly became satisfied with firing off fiery or truculent comments in the WaPo or NYT. I condensed my passion into short paragraphs (but not quite tweets) that may have been succinct but were rarely a stretch of my writing chops.

And one excuse I will provide is, I wasn't reading much in the way of good writing, and wasn't doing much besides entertaining myself online. The creative well was pretty parched so the subjects didn't arise or inspire.

I would like to change that.

The glimmer of hope that buoys me is that I am once again reading good writing, thanks in no small measure to the BTBabes book club. Agreeing to join the book club last winter meant I actually had to READ books, rather than merely buy them and let them gather dust on the bedside table. And since my ability to focus on one thing for more than 20 minutes seems to get harder with each advancing month, I decided to incorporate audiobooks into the mix, so I could "read" while on my daily walks. In a sense, audiobooks have saved my writing or literary life, since they have enabled me to hear and follow along what I am reading on a printed (or iPadded) page. An enormous weight lifted with that realization, since one of the planned joys of retirement was the opportunity to read more.

And walk more. Six years almost to the day of having retired, and I'm just now getting with the program. I began walking in earnest last Fall, to coincide with getting serious about weight loss. Listening to music while walking was a good start, as I could calibrate my pace to beats-per-minute high-energy tunes (thanks to iTunes) and get my heart rate elevated beyond what is required sitting in this chair in front of this 27" inertia control panel.

For me, walking really is a moving meditation. It gets me at once out of the house and out of my head, and insists I deal with the world as it comes at me, birds tweeting, cars passing, skies waiting to be admired. And once I got accustomed to hustling around the 'hood to the music at a fast clip, substituting audiobooks became a welcome intellectual change of pace. I traded Rihanna and Beyonce for Roseann Cash, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Kathryn Stockett and Jeannette Walls. They made more than worthy walking partners!

And so, I hope to be a more deliberate (daily???) partner here, once my walk has invigorated my body and my books have planted seeds of wonder or revelation in my mind.


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