Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What I Did on My Weekend Vacation

I traveled 800 miles last weekend to attend a college track meet. I know that some folks think track meets are about as exciting as oh… watching paint dry. But that’s because they don’t have a dog in the race so to speak. I had a son in the race and it was the most exciting day I’ve had in years.

Last December I wrote about #2 son's journey as a runner.

Last weekend was his swan song as a collegiate runner and he ended his college track career with a bang. He earned a third consecutive individual outdoor championship in the 1500 meter run, placed third in the 800 meter run ninety minutes later and in an absolutely amazing show of talent, skill and just plain guts, he finished fourth in the 5000 meter run just an hour after running the 800.

His coach asked him to run the 5000 because the team needed the points. He didn’t have to win; he only had to beat the four runners from the only team with a chance at taking the point lead. After one lap, he was in last place. But one by one, he used runners as shields against the wind on the front side of the track, and then picked them off on the backside. He finished to a standing ovation from not only his proud parents and teammates, but to other spectators who were awed by his performance. By the way, he beat those four runners.

The coaches were also awed by his performance and voted him as the Most Valuable Performer for the meet. I’d say he ended his college career in style.

He will graduate this Saturday and I'll get all blubbery and then we'll have a wonderful family celebration dinner with 8 family members and 2 guests present.

So… what does this have to do with writing? Maybe not a whole lot but I’m running in circles this week and it’s easy for me to write about #2 son and running.

On the other hand, maybe it has a lot to do with writing. Writers need to believe, they need a support system, they need a plan and a dream and goals. A trophy or a t-shirt every once in a while makes you feel pretty good and a pat on the back and recognition from your peers is an unbelievable feeling.

Runners are classified as sprinters, middle distance and long distance. Writers are the same. A good coach will play to each runner’s strength and have him or her in the event that showcases that strength. Writers should do the same. Write to your strength. Write what you love be it poetry, short stories or novels, comedy, romance or suspense.

Sometimes you win and score all the points. Sometimes you just don’t finish last and you think “Hey, I’m not so bad after all, am I?” Sometimes you just gut it up, keep putting one word after another on the page until you cross the finish line and type “The End.” And that will always get you a standing ovation from the Playground gang. We understand the importance of that feat.

Here’s a photo of #2 son crossing the finish line in his second race of the day. During the first race I was still figuring out how to use the new digital camera. By the third race I was a blubbering mess.

Back in that December blog I wrote
I've had a few minor successes as a writer -- some online magazines and blogs, a regular feature piece on an author's website and an article picked up by a couple RWA newsletters. That sense of achievement keeps me going because I don't want to be eighty and singing that old Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is."

I believe I am a writer.

I had a nice surprise waiting in my mailbox when I returned from the track meet. It was my third contract from True Confessions magazine. This one is for a story called "Wedding Belle Blues" and it's tentatively set for the July issue.

Ya know -- I'm beginning to believe I might be a writer after all.

How about you? Do you believe?

P.S. I had an orthodontic adjustment today and if it accomplishes what it's supposed to, these braces will come off on June 6th! Yippee!


Smarty Pants said...

Congrats to you and your son, PM!

Kathy said...

Congratulations, PM, on your son's wonderful track achievements, the good picture, his graduation, your celebration, and your 3rd article for True Confessions! I read your last issue and was greatly impressed. (Your story gave me goosebumps, BTW!)

Like runners, writers have their own speed and style. As long as we finish the race, it shouldn't matter how long it takes us to get there, right? But oh, how frustrating it is when you want to get there faster and your legs can't carry you fast enough.


Playground Monitor said...

You bought the issue? Oh wow! Would you like it autographed? :D

There actually was a man -- an attorney -- who killed himself over his woes with the IRS and that was the inspiration for this story. I added in a little personal experience (lending money to a family member) and apparently it worked.

Kathy said...

You did a great job, PM! And yes, you can autograph my copy if you'd like. :)

Problem Child said...

Congrats to #2 son. He's a cutie--great legs!