I found this on the Internet today. There is a TJ's about two miles from my house. I go there at least 3 times a week. I am drawn to it like Odysseus was to Aeaea. I talk to the cashiers about the miracle of the Frozen Mahi-Mahi Burger. When they carve open my bloated dead corpse Wasabi Flavored Almonds will spill out like the contents of a smug white pinata.
Cells are elastic. They have to be, of course, otherwise we'd resemble a character from an old 8-bit video game. They stretch and compress and revert. They remember what they are. As do they, so do all of your other living parts. That's where I start. Distance, time, speed, those will come later.
The bones: feel like they're filled with concrete. I used to have the bones of a bird, hollow, titanium-strong.
The muscles: atrophied from long days at the desk, victims of an Alzheimer's of my own making. (A curable one, though. There's that. The remedy: a cocktail of squats, stretches, hills and deep, dry sand.)
The blood: it moves through the veins like strawberry preserves, thick, clotted, muscles squeezing blue and red tubes like toothpaste containers, pushing the viscous stuff towards the heart. That's the first thing I remember as I bang down the trail: how it sang, how it ran like quicksilver.
The heart is trying to push its way through my ribcage.
The lungs: newborn. Like balloons straight from the packaging, tight, resistant, averse to inflation. The breaths are quick and shallow and each is accompanied by a word from the chant in my head: there. is. only. one. finish. line.
I've had my work blatantly ripped off, and I've been called a bully for defending it.
I've been lumped in with shills and sycophants, had my name spoken in the same breath as the names of these pretenders who are vying for a throne that doesn't. Fucking. Exist.
I've watched as friends have achieved the writing success that they've so richly earned, and I've also watched as hacks and charlatans have achieved the writing success that they haven't. Regarding "success", it's an abstraction, but that hasn't stopped others from publicly attacking me simply because they're bitter that they haven't achieved it. Whatever "it" is. If "it" even exists at all.
I've thrown away all semblance of a normal life. I get up in the morning before the sun and write, I work my day job, then come home and write, sometimes into the next morning. My writing - my fixation on it - has overtaken and consumed much of what I loved to write about - my family, surfing, arts, movies, TV, music, travel, food, politics. Writing's been about writing, and not the stuff that life is actually about.
The head is eating the tail.
So what I did was, I wrote the above and saved it as a draft. This was about a month ago. It sat in the dark and grew mushrooms. Meanwhile, I decided that I needed to get off my lazy ass and do something about it. A bunch of somethings. One something: running. There was a goal: a few years back, I ran half marathons. 13.1 mile races. There was a target. There's a race coming up in November and I intend to finish it and finish it well. I'll run. Run run run run run. Put some headphones on and play loud music to drown out the stitch in my side. Wash the past few months clean with sweat and Gatorade. Put some miles between me and that guy.