What motivates us? I ask this of my undergrad novelists-to-be, as I find ways to motivate them towards a 50,000-word draft goal. Not all our motivations are virtuous or attractive, I say. We might be motivated by doing a job well, or by the shame of failing a class. Or both.
As a writer, I admit my motivations are usually both pretty and petty, at once open-hearted and full of fangs. A story or chapter can spring from these two forces equally, as in:
a) Neat! A new idea!(Oooh, shiny overheard conversation! Or, let’s solve this structure puzzle!) and
b) Screw you, buddy (I could totally write that book better than [imaginary nemesis], and I could totally win that contest).
As a runner, I’m not much different. I tell people what motivates me is getting outside, feeling strong, and listening to podcasts or audiobooks while, at the same time, being away from my family.
For the record, I love my family. Most people, even people who aren’t in my family, would agree: they are the best family ever. But sometimes I need to be radically unavailable. Running is usually how I do that—and because I can cover 3-10 miles while learning about, say, Cleopatra or the invention of forensic science, I can feel virtuous about being totally out of contact for 30-180 minutes.
However, by January of any year, I’ve become invertebrate, having last run in November. At the same time, once the semester ends, I’m as heat-seeking as one of my house cats. My usual motivations (virtue, unavailability, getting outside, feeling strong) are wadded up like a blanket on my couch. Hell, I’m wadded up like a blanket on my couch.
So, with this journal, I turn to those other motivations. The darker motivations of vanity, pride, public praise, accountability, and taking a lot of pictures. Including selfies. Running selfies. “#Relfies,” if you will.
Welcome to Runity: a journal of my running motivated by vanity, honesty, and accountability. In this journal, I will combine my love of taking pictures of the glorious flora and fauna on my runs [including me & my wardrobe, amirite?!] with what I’m listening to, what I wore for the weather, and anything else both you and I could possibly find interesting. In terms of speed, I’m a slow, semi-pathetic runner, so if I share my time & distance, that’s a dose of honesty.
Let’s do this thing, okay?
Yours in Runity,