Yesterday I was writing to deadline, pulling together some notes on the context and writing of The Juliet Stories for the ebook version that will be published alongside the printed book. Ebooks offer flexibility, room for extra material, and mine will also include one of my character’s songs. The essay is a short piece with photos scattered throughout. Distillation was key. I think you’ll like it.
But this morning I came across a longer meditation on the same subject, written while I was in the middle of discovering this book’s potential to be what it has become. So if you’re interested in a more detailed, mid-process version, visit “Midwife to Stories.” (Interesting also that the story I was in the midst of writing did not make it into book; goes to show how much gets discarded along the way; and how important it is not to worry about whether or not it will be discarded when you’re working. You can’t get at the story any other way. It all matters.)
Yesterday evening, as promised, I went for a walk in the dark during soccer practice. I walked briskly for six kilometres, which took about an hour; I could run twice the distance in the same amount of time. The air was crisp and cool and more like mid-October than early February. I’d dressed differently than I would have for a run, and I regretted that; I was too cautious. When I go for another walk tomorrow, I will leave behind the heavy winter coat and the big boots. Both completely unnecessary. The good news is that I was able to march without pain; and that being outside had an excellent effect on my body and mind. I’m still finding acceptance difficult — accepting that I can’t run for now — but there are alternatives and the alternatives can be good, too. Different, but good. If I had to give up running, I decided last night, I would get a dog. I would hike in the woods. I would hike long distances. One way or another, I would cover the ground.
After the walk, I got to watch my Soccer Girl scrimmage for fifteen minutes. As you may remember, she was a rep goalkeeper last season, and will be again this summer. But if you’d happened across the field yesterday evening, you simply wouldn’t have believed it. She looked for all the world like a centre forward. She scored four goals, and came close to six. She handled the ball with such confidence, dribbling through defenders, keeping control, biding her time. She made lovely passes to teammates. She waited patiently, using the space on the field, knowing the ball would come to her. It was so fun to watch. Sometimes parenthood is sweeter than anything else on earth. (And it only takes a smidgen of sweetness to make up for the underlying anxiety and vicarious pain that is so much a part of parenthood too.)