This comes to mind today because a friend of ours has decided to train for an ultramarathon. Actually, when he first brought this up, he called it an “ultra”. We didn’t know what he meant. Ultra soft? Ultra delicious? Finally, we were forced to turn to one of our top level internet resources (Wikipedia) and discovered this: “An ultramarathon (also called ultra distance) is any sporting event involving running and walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres.”
42.195 kilometres = 26.2188 miles. Double those numbers and you'll see how far our chum wants to race. Call it, ultra x 2.
We found this whole thing fascinating because our friend is on the high end of middle-aged and didn’t appear particularly suicidal until now. For the next six months, our buddy shared on Facebook and, thus, the world, he plans to sacrifice a good portion of his free time to preparing for the event. If his heart doesn’t explode, he then plans to go into the mountains, motor along on his own legs for 52 miles, and see if he survives.
What’s more, he’s looking for people to do this with him.
His request came to us in a roundabout way. When it did, we didn’t actually say, “Hahahahahahaha!” but each of us thought it. If our friend happens to directly ask us if we’re interested in training with him, we’ll tell him we’re much too busy writing. We’ll imply that we have to finish our latest novel(s) before we ascend over a mile above sea level and get eaten by bears.
Just between you and us, a writer's secret: Sometimes, when a wordsmith just wants to be left alone to eat chocolate pudding and watch Ripper Street, the writer will tell people she has to focus to get back to working on her latest novel.
So how is our writing coming along?, you might ask. Well, since it’s you, we’ll tell you true: We’re pacing ourselves. All the great ones do.
Except for Cassandra Parkin. Since C.P. was wonderfully supportive of us and The Atheist’s Daughter (when much of the world flinched whenever we said the title), we always think of her fondly. We also keep half an eye on her writing career. Which is how we learned that
she’s been quite prolific. In the last eighteen months or so, she’s written a collection of themed stories, New World Fairy Tales, won the Scott Prize, wrote three hilarious reader guides to the 50 Shades trilogy, and -- just recently -- mentioned that her newest novel, The Summer We All Ran Away, will be released shortly by Legend Press.
You'd think she'd have sent us a free copy but no, so, without reading it, we assume her story will be life-affirming and meaningful and touching and wonderful. Or possibly dark and depressing but still touching and wonderful. We mean this sincerely. Her New World collection is terrifically good, and her reader guides are really funny, so we know her newest novel will be amazing. We suspect the storyline won't involve werewolves or vampires, angels or shape-shifting garage mechanics, so it may struggle to find an audience… but the good guys win on occasion so we have our fingers crossed for her.
Won't we be surprised if we discover the new novel is all about shape-shifting werewolf angels who want nasty sex with garage mechanics?
Because of her prodigious output, we suspect that C.P. is becoming another Stephen King or Isaac Asimov, unable to get through the day without drumming out a quick 15,000 words on the word processor. If so, good luck to her and we'll continue to follow her career. Our average literary output? 500-1000 words on a good day. On a really good day, 1500 words. We haven’t had any really good days of late.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to get back to working on our latest novel.