Literary 5K’s

I’ve always envied those people who can run. The ones that sign up for 5 K’s, the ones who casually mention how they morning runs go, and the ones that put more miles on their sneakers that I do on my car in a given week. 

The closest thing I do to running, is write. From my conversations with runner friends, there are some parallels, and since this will the closest I’ll ever get to putting a 10k sticker on my car, I’m going to run (ha, sorry, the pun was too easy) with it.

Running is addictive. People that run say that they grow cranky when they haven’t been able to fit a run in their schedule, and that nothing beats that “runner’s high” after a successful venture. Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the high that I get after I complete a piece. But each time that I take up an assignment or sit down at my computer to compose, I inwardly groan and wonder why in the world I submitted myself to this torture. Like the first few miles, the first line (ugh, I HATE working on the first line) is the hardest, but once it starts, I lose myself in the flow, the pace picks up, and the miles and word count start rising. Next thing I know, I’m an hour in and I’ve hit my goal for the day. 

When I’m writing, my body secrets this bizarre pheromone, much like a runner sweats. But the only people that can smell it are my children. The deeper I get into a train of thought, and the faster my fingers fly over the keyboard, the stronger and stronger this scent wafts across the house. And the little boogers smell it, and it tells them to begin interrupting me. A lot. It also ignites something in the dark recesses of their sinful souls and causes them to do horrible things involving knives, Sharpies, 5 lb bags of rice, and unlocked back doors. 

For the sake of my home and the safety of my children, I’m still writing, but in very small increments. I tell you what, adding that third child? Game-changer. Shoot. We’re in the “she’ll either go to jail or run a Fortune 500 company” stage, and for the sake of the general public, I’m wondering if jail might be a better option. 

Since I haven’t been able to post any creative content on here for awhile, I thought I’d share links to some of my favorite pieces I’ve written over the past year… kind of like literary mile stickers on the back of my car. – A piece for Parents and Kids Magazine about head banging. Addie has been head banging at night since she was six months old, so it was a fun topic to dive deeper into. – Another piece for Parents and Kids, and another example of the “write what you know” strategy. I have turned into a stereotype: the van-driving, tennis-playing SAHM. But I’m not ashamed of it, because the endorphins I get from a round of tennis help with my mental health. Plus, there’s nothing better than taking out a day’s worth of parenting frustrations on a neon yellow ball floating through the air as you slam the perfect overhead. – I have spent almost two years working on educating mothers about the harmful policies of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. The work of the Fed is Best Foundation and Jody Segrave Daly has helped me tremendously and I was so honored to be able to share my story several times on their blog. I was able to present information about the BFHI to the auxiliary wing of my local hospital two weeks ago and I’m hoping some change will happen locally, if not nationally. – I entered the Erma Bombeck Humorist in Residence contest. The application involved a writing sample and a pitch for a project you’d work on while staying at a hotel for several weeks in Ohio (glamorous, I know) following the largest humor writing workshop in the US. This year’s judges were Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, and Mike Reiss, who wrote for the Simpsons for 30 years. I didn’t win (pretty sure Asa was relieved, as he didn’t have to figure out how to take care of the girls for 2 1/2 weeks), but I was selected as a finalist. Entering was a leap of faith for me, as humor writing is one of my deepest loves but it’s also one of my biggest insecurities. So I’m tickled that I made it as far as I did in this contest.

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