At the beginning of the December, I found myself worrying about finding a way to regularly keep active during the winter, a time in our part of the world when the sun seems to set shortly after noon. I joined a group of hearty (translated – foolish) souls in Portland and for the past three months, I have been running on the roads of Saco, Biddeford, and Portland.
Along the way, something strange, but not entirely unexpected happened. I became addicted.
“It’s a sickness, but a good sickness,” my friend Dave said to me when I began to complain a bit about the increasing importance I was placing on these near-daily excursions outdoors.
Nearly three months ago I put my beloved bicycle in the cellar and wondered what I was going to substitute for my all but irrational fondness for all things cycling. I hadn’t really been a runner for a number of years, but I’d managed to lose some weight and I wanted to do something. This seemed like a good idea.
One of the most beneficial aspects of cycling is the way it allows me to almost miraculously work out issues with my writing. I am not sure if it is the fresh air, the increased blood flow to the brain, or the chance to step away from things for a period of time, but as sure as one foot tends to follow the other, it happens.
There were no guarantees, but I hoped the same would be true as I plodded along the streets and trails of southern Maine. Three months later, the simple answer is, yes.
Now, each time I collect my running gear, I think about the novel I am working on, and I replay the last few chapters I’ve written and think about the lives of the characters that exist in the world I’ve created. I wonder what will happen next, where the connections will take place, and who will be the people they meet. How will I get to the end of the current chapter?
One mile, two miles, three miles, maybe more, but by the time I declare myself finished, it has happened.
I’ve learned to carry my trusty smartphone with me as I run and after I roll into my all-too-utilitarian Volkswagen and wait for my breathing to return to normal, I dictate the notes and ideas that have become part of the story.
I smile to myself, hope no one has noticed, and I wonder when I’ll get to run again.
It’s a sickness – I know.
Stay tuned – as always, if I think it’s interesting, I’ll write about it.
Thanks again for reading my stories and as always, you may purchase my novel, Homecoming: A Soldier’s Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption at your local, independent bookstore or online: DavidArenstam.com, BrysonTaylorPublishing.com, or Amazon.com
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