Dem Bones, or the Anatomy of a Writer/Runner

Posted on November 8, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Courtesy of the Jersey Shore Running Club

Courtesy of the Jersey Shore Running Club

Mrs. Morgan, my eighth grade music teacher, loved to sing songs that required us to move.  Tap a foot, sway, snap our fingers, something, anything to keep us from standing still.  I love music, but not necessarily that music. The sad part is, I remember most of the songs, particularly the anatomy song, “Dem Bones.”  Everyone knows it, even if they don’t know they do:

The foot bone connected to the leg bone.

The leg bone connected to the knee bone.

Etc., etc.

Yeah, that song.

Turns out, they missed a link, the one that connects the runner to…well, to everything else:  thought, creativity, productivity, organizational skills, and, for me, the ability to write.  No running, no writing.  It’s that simple.

Now I know this to be true—I do my best writing in my head during a run, starting around mile 3—but I sometimes forget the connection.  Until it’s lost. Like during my recent 5 weeks of not running.  No running, no writing.  Lord knows I tried.  I sat in front of my computer staring at a blank screen, and simply cried. I can’t do it, I thought. It’s just too hard. Maybe I’m fooling myself and am not really a writer after all.

But then the miraculous happened—again—the week I started running.  Day 2, mile 3, and I’m rounding the little hill in the middle of a cul-de-sac where I usually slow down to count deer, and it occurs to me that I’m not running slower, I’m running faster.  And I’m not looking for deer, I’m not looking for anything. My eyes are turned inward, and I’ve been writing, in my head, for the last mile. Not just half-baked thoughts but complete sentences, full paragraphs, developed ideas unfurling with the dawn.  And I smile, relieved, and think thank God, thank you God, the connection is reestablished. Apparently laces are the missing link.

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