Pays au dela

"As to the natural parts I have, of which this is the essay, I find them to bow under the burden; my fancy and judgment do but grope in the dark, tripping and stumbling [wobbling] in the way, and when I have gone as far as I can, I am in no degree satisfied; I discover still a new and greater extent of land before me, with a troubled and imperfect sight and wrapped up in clouds, that I am not able to penetrate." Montaigne-"On the Education of Children"

My domain name, "Pais au dela," is the original French translated here as "extent of land before me." My goal for this page will be to explore, in an ambling way at times, the great land before me hoping to find clarity as I advance. I will focus centrally though not exclusively on mental health issues in my stumbling march forward.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Triptych Series 1: Running in Snapshots

I call myself a wobbler and post pictures suggesting I need to climb up on stilts to figure out where I'm going. But the snapshot of the stumbling, directionless fool does not encompass or really even neatly summarize who I am. I contradict myself with the pictures Montaigne drew. And I can't very well approach the clarity I'm seeking without acknowledging incongruity here. Physically, I do not wobble, not right now at least. I run--eyes up the road, elbows at 90-- knowing where I'm going and how to get there. People have complemented my writing for a similar stylistic focus. As an undergrad English major, I suffered through Richard Lanham's Revising Prose. Lanham's style manual is nauseatingly formulaic. He  teaches students to use this god-awful equation to calculate the "lard factor" in their writing. I had to revise a C paper with the formula to bring my grade up to a B-. And now a decade later from the looks of the Amazon page, Revising Prose comes with software to help students perform statistical analysis of their writing. As annoying as the book was to read though, it is filled with good editing guidelines for removing unnecessary words. I've incorporated much of Lanham's advice into my own writing and editing process. When I reread my work, I focus primarily on ways to communicate more succinctly. I like writing this way but I also want to become more comfortable at times with Montaigne's looser meandering approach. Slicing straight through to where I want to be or ambling in the backwoods a while to find out what I do not know.

As runners we have all kinds of strategies for focusing on the most efficient and enjoyable way to run successfully. Process and outcome and what have you. In my distance runs recently, I've worked to conceptualize time in ways that motivate me, and I've developed a visualization technique. I try to see three moments in my mind as if they were all happening at once: where I've been, where I am, where I am going.

The Trails that I Adore

The World Before Me

The Metro Platform I Hated

Alpha, Omega, and Whatever Letter Comes in the Middle all at once.