Running and Writing and Cups of Tea

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A few years ago, I was on Fripp, a barrier island in South Carolina. (I was there with great friends on a writing retreat.) I got up early one morning and went running — and happened upon a magical scene…

As the mist hung over the marsh, the sun was just rising, a fisherman in a yellow coat was on a bridge, fishing in the creek. A snowy white egret was perched beside him. A blue heron stood watching them from the distance.

How beautiful I thought. I should like to write a story that is beautiful like that, I announced to myself. Yes, it shall be all poetic lovely. Yes, I decided, it shall be lyrical and it shall be about a creek and a riverbank.

Well, you know how far I got with that idea. And if you don’t, you can find out here. All that to say a big fish leaped out of the water into the story and took over. (Her name is Doreen by the way.)

But writing and running go very well together. Like writing and making cups of tea do. Or gardening. Or—for some strange people like my friend Richard Peck—cleaning. (I tell him all the time to come over and let me help him with his writing by cleaning for me. I’m nice that way.)

Keeping your body occupied and busy, seems to release your mind–and your imagination is freed. (I think it’s because the editor/ critic is so focused on the important job of ensuring you don’t pour boiling water all over yourself, that he doesn’t notice when your imagination comes and asks you to sneak off and play.)

About now, someone is thinking, OK you do realize you sound crazy? Yes. But this is not news. Anyway, why not try it? Next time you need to get out of a stuck place, get up, put the kettle on and make a cup of tea.

Or go running or cycling – or even cleaning (if that’s your cup of tea).

SLJ.

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