Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Sunday, 08 April 2001

Things are looking much better on the writing front. Having figured out where my story is going to end, I've got a much better idea where it needs to start. I'm getting some words down with a lot less effort than yesterday.

There are a lot of reasons to keep a journal. I have at least three principle purposes with mine:

To put the day in perspective.
This is a big one for me. The fifteen or twenty minutes I spend on a typical journal entry is time that I need to spend anyway. Usually I write these just before bed. If I don't write one I still spend the time, I just spend it lying awake in bed instead of sitting at the computer.
To record the events of the day.
This is another biggie. Besides recording the events of the day for my own future interest, it is also a way to report on them to my friends, relatives, and other interested persons.
To capture descriptions.
I took a couple of creative writing classes when I was in high school. They wanted me to keep a journal. This was the purpose they had in mind. They probably described it just fine, although I never understood it at the time. I figured it out years later. One event that helped me see the value in it was making a written record after taking a trip to visit some caves. I wrote a description of it--the strong, steady breeze that blew through the whole cavern, the absolute dark when the lights were out, the cool air that pooled around the entrance, the way the heat hit me just a few steps from the exit. I can't do nearly as well now, from memory as I did then, but I do way better than I could if I hadn't made that record right after the event.

The story I'm writing now has a coral island with mangrove swamps. I've been to mangrove swamps and remember them okay, though I sure wish I had a diary that recorded more about how they sounded (Do the branches rub against one another and make creaking noises?) and smelled (Like a swamp? Like the sea?). I remember better what birds we saw--because I mentioned them on postcards.

It's not just spring, it's summer. It's 83 degrees and sunny. Tree buds have gone from dormant to bursting in about three days. The forsythia are in full bloom. The grass is all green. Since I like hot and humid, I'm completely in my element.

I ran again today (three days in a row!) and then Jackie and I lifted weights. I felt pretty good. The run is still pathetic, but not as bad as a week ago. To make progress lifting weights I need to lift three times a week, but I can maintain my strength lifting just twice a week. Both those numbers seem to be higher for running. I have to run three times a week just to hold onto what aerobic capacity I've got. To make progress I need to run four times a week. Bicycling can substitute for one of the runs, but I still need three runs a week to keep my legs adapted to running.

I added East Lansing to my Family Weather page.


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