I am not a runner, but a few years I got it in my head that I should run a half marathon. The thing that I remember most vividly about the event happened at Mile 9, which was more than half way through the race but not nearly close enough to the end. The course veered onto the freeway, first through a long tunnel and then up onto an elevated road. I was alone, after encouraging my quicker running partner to increase her pace. I found myself out of gas, with no food and no strategy in my pocket. But at the same time, what was my alternative? Lie down on the freeway and wait for the wagon that sweeps up failure at the end of the race? It seemed that all I could do was go forward, keep running (or, more accurately, shuffling). And sure enough, I did finish that race (AFTER a 91 year old woman, but whatever…).
I call upon that Mile 9 moment whenever I’m stuck in a difficult place. At one time or another, we all find ourselves without fuel or strategy or hope, but with lots of distance ahead. And the thing is, all you can do is keep going forward. Lying down on the freeway is rarely a good option.
Not to overdramatize, but reading Purity by Jonathan Franzen was a two week Mile 9 odyssey for me. It was a seemingly endless, uphill reading accomplishment that was frustrating and rewarding in equal measure. And no matter how much time I put into it, there always seemed to be 300 pages left. I’ll put up a full review later this week, but I wanted to let you know that I blame Jonathan Franzen for my lack of blogging.
I finished the book at 10 p.m. yesterday, and I still feel hungover. Today I need to turn my attention to The Boys in the Boat, which my book club will be discussing in 3 days. Compared to the nearly 600 page Franzen, The Boys in the Boat seems like a pamphlet.
That’s all I’m promising this week. My literary feet are still bleeding from all that effort.
P.S. I'm so excited to join the It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? crew once again. It's hosted by Book Journey.