I got a job and this blog died. We moved and I really had no compelling reason to keep updating http://westwoodblog.org either. My life is pretty full but I do miss expressing myself and creating something here.
Partly, I’m also in transition. As we adjusted to a new rhythm of job, home, schools, etc. I dialed back to some of the personal things that mattered to me and found time for some more easily than others.
First, I started to read again. When I was working for myself or looking for a job, I don’t think I read anything of significance. Then, in January, faced with a cross-country airplane trip, I seized the opportunity (and my wife’s Kindle) and read The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. From there it was a short leap into fiction with The Help, The Kitchen House, and back to nonfiction with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
On this blog, I’ve written reviews of business and social nonfiction, but it was refreshing to read stories of lives that mattered rather than opinions of semi/self-important people. Last month, I finished John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and–perhaps in a different “class” of literature–the Hunger Games trilogy, but fundamentally, I found myself happy to have re-ignited my interest in the substance of great story. There’s a lot you can do with a 30-minute ride on the Orange Line every day.
Next, I got a bit more serious about running. Thanks to my weekly run with friends in Westwood, I have not let my conditioning totally slip, but I’ve found it hard to get out and do those runs except on Saturday morning. But soon after we moved, I was slogging through the Boston snow to manage a run around Jamaica Pond or up and down the many hills of Roslindale. Running remains one of the most accessible activities–and again, something I can do significantly in 30 minute increments.
I bought a pair of Vibram fivefingers and enjoy the sort of “protected barefoot running” these shoes allow. Running on grass is awesome–I literally feel like a sprinting gazelle. Running on pavement changes the way I run and benefits my feet by putting less impact on my heels. Running on gravel…not so great. The gravel tends to get between the toes and you do feel every sharp rock through the shoes.
So perhaps there is another marathon on the horizon this Fall. First 10 miles a week. Then 15. Then 20. If I have time.
Now that the snow if finally gone, I’ve started riding my bike again and carved out an awesome commute that takes me up and around the “emerald necklace” of Boston.
Today, I blasted home with a tailwind in 41 minutes. The days of 3-hour rides in the country are rescheduled for sometime after the kids are in college I think, but it is great to be back on the fixed gear bike riding around Jamaica Pond and along the Charles River in the morning.
So what about the writing? It will come. I think the commentary on social media and even community news projects is something I need to branch away from. Reading fiction and comparing to the nonfiction I consumed before convinces me there is more truth in the fiction. There are stories to be told with passion that can change the way people relate to one another and change the world more effectively than identifying and solving problems.
So for me the challenge is not to just return to blogging but to find the story that must be told and then time to write it. It’s not a 30-minute task. So in the meantime, I read, run and ride to connect with the flow of energy that will find its voice eventually.