Monday, April 18, 2016

Fifty Years of Women Running the Boston Marathon

It's been fifty years since the first woman ran in the Boston Marathon. I always knew that Bobbi Gibb had a tough time when she ran, that some men weren't happy with her being there, but I had no idea just how hard it was for her. She had written to the marathon officials asking for an application, but their reply was that women were not physiologically capable of running a marathon. So she hid in the bushes near the start, wearing a hoodie as a disguise, and joined the crowd when they started. She worried she might be arrested. Can you imagine?

Physiologically capable
Running is such a basic part of human nature. Running means escaping danger, chasing food, rushing to help someone in need, or that you're having fun. Most little kids love to run. They chase each other, have impromptu races, or run just to enjoy the speed or the feeling of the wind against their skin and in their hair, or simply because it feels good to move. I have a good run when I invoke those childhood sensations, when I think, "Hey, this is fun!" I can't imagine being told, "You're not meant to do this thing that brings you joy."

This past weekend I ran a 5K. It was my first race in inclement weather. It was cold and windy, and it started sprinkling right before we started. When the clouds parted later that day, there was snow on the mountains. Despite the wind and the stinging rain, I had a great time. Despite the fact that I was still getting over being sick, I improved upon my pace. There's something wonderfully primitive about running in a large group. It's like being part of a pack. There's a sense of safety, of camaraderie, of friendly competition. We ran through some fields near the Rio Grande River. I spotted geese and ducks in a field that was being flooded, and a couple of horses. I got to run through a neighborhood I'd never been in before. I finished the race and had a delicious slice of cinnamon swirl raisin bread and chocolate milk as I trekked back to my car. It was great.

I cannot imagine being told 'no' to something like that. I'm glad that the running world, and the world in general, has changed its attitude toward women. I'm glad that Bobbi Gibb had the guts to sneak into a race. The world needs people who refuse to take 'no' for an answer.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I'm a Spelling Bee Failure

Nearly every person has a hard time spelling certain words. There's one in particular that crops up for me from time to time as I'm making my grocery list. Deodorant. Somehow I keep wanting to write it as deoderant. I keep forgetting that 'odor' is a key part of that word. Doh! Fortunately, I'm much better at remembering to put the stuff on than I am at remembering how to spell it when I'm making my list of necessities.

Thank goodness for editors
And what's up with fuchsia??? Somebody screwed up the three letters in the middle there. I always want to put the 's' in front of the 'ch.' A quick jaunt over to the dictionary tells me that the word comes from modern Latin and was named in honor of a German botanist by the name of Leonhard Fuchs. Okay, I have a dirty mind, but tell me you can't say that name aloud and not giggle. Now every time your kid pulls that crayon out of the box, you're going to laugh because your mind is as entrenched in the gutter as mine.

And one other thing I always screw up isn't necessarily spelling, but... hyphens throw me for a loop. I either leave them out when they need to be there, or I stick them where they have no business existing. I worked with an excellent editor for my urban fantasy trilogy The Necromancer's Inheritance, and he dinged me on hyphens. A lot. I am hyphen challenged. That should probably actually be hyphen-challenged. But I have no idea because I am horrible at knowing when to use them. I mean, the word hyphenated does not have a hyphen. But the word non-hyphenated does. It's amazing people can communicate in English at all.

Monday, April 4, 2016

It's the Little Things

"I don't have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields."
                                                                                                                              -- Queen Latifah


Queen Latifah, she's wise.

One of my happy places
I've blogged before about keeping a tiny journal where you write a sentence or two a day. I tend to keep it focused on the positive, although some days I just need to put down the awful things that happened. I've been writing in it for over a year, and now I get to look back at last year's posts as I add new ones. I've gotten better at noticing the little things that make my day brighter, and I often think, "This is what I'll put in my journal tonight." And while it's great to take big trips (I sure wouldn't turn down some time on a yacht in the Mediterranean), those things are few and far between. I think it's important to find happiness whenever you can. So I wanted to share some of the little things that make me happy. Indulge me as I make a list:

Coffee in the morning when there's no rush to go anywhere
Gardening/getting my hands in dirt
A good run
My son's laughter and his smile (that's really the best thing in the world)
Reading a good book
Planning a vacation
When I come up with a really good line while writing (I feel so smart! It makes up for the other times when I bang my head against the desk because I can't find the right words.)
Being outside
A nice sunset
Reaching traffic lights at just the right moment
Browsing through a bookstore

Focusing on the little things that make me happy keep the nasty inner voices away. Sometimes I'm wracked with doubt as a writer or a parent or even as a human being trying to navigate the world. Sometimes I'm depressed. That's when the voices are the worst. But writing down the good things, thinking about the good things, reliving them all serve to keep those voices silent. I encourage you to go make a list of the little things that make you happy, especially if you're having a rough day.


"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important."

                                                                                                         -- Arthur Conan Doyle