Why Remembering Can Lead to Winning

I wanted to be a famous athlete. Not for the recognition but because of what it represents, winning.

Today is Saturday, long run day. Typically, I run two or three shorter runs in the week, early morning runs on the trails around my home. It's a training schedule I've stuck with more or less consistently for thirty years.

Back then, runners on the roads of North Wales were a rare sight. Cars would slow down, sometimes a moron would shout lewd suggestions out of a window wound all the way down. Sometimes they'd turn the car around for a second pass. Sometimes they'd pull off the road up ahead and wait for me to run by. Once, a man leaned out of his car to slap me as I passed.

I haven't won a race yet. I've never placed last either, this is the real miracle. I wanted to win, and for a long time, I tried hard to place higher. Speed work took me so far, ageing into another category should one day get me the rest of the way.

Today, I was in a rare mood. You might recognise it; I felt strong, intentional. I can't create this feeling, it just happens. It feels like I've reached out and touched a moment.

When I run, my mind drifts from this thing to that, chores, kids, work. Not so much today. Today was for asking questions and for answering, well.

Will I win?

Twenty years ago, it was hard to imagine I'd ever run again. My family was told to come to the ICU where I'd been since my emergency surgery. I was too out of it to know the worry I was putting them through, and for a long time, they didn't tell me about the phone call from the hospital.

I remember the anaesthesiologist stopping by with some excellent drugs for my nausea. He asked me what I was doing, I said stretching as best I could. Three weeks later I went out for a short run with the dog.

All running is winning. That's the truth, my truth.

This week in Writer of Things, I wrote a post on the power of asking, and, why the Fear of the Pain of Failure is Like Having A School Bully Camped On Your Shoulder, and why it doesn’t have to be that way.

I don't know how you found Writer of Things. Signposting? Referral? Luck? However you got here, you have arrived at what is a pretty useful resource for writers. It's probably not the most useful, but then again how many of those publications are written by runners? Writers need to move otherwise we die, young. Let me help you avoid that, subscribe to Writer of Things. Thank you.


Dog shit seems to be the theme, and one great share makes reading to the end, worthwhile.

Hello from the edge-land of a small town in Yorkshire where I am in a conversation which earlier contained the phrase, I'm fine, there's nothing wrong, ill befitting a person who has read Brave but about right for a breakfast-skipping, carb addict. I'll head to the shop later; along the street then along the next street and through the ginnel onto the main road all the while scanning for dog shit. It's impossible not to think about all the horrible things in the world when you have to move through the world with your head down. 

Otherwise, it's an interesting route. There's the woman I often pass on my walk, she uses a frame on wheels to get about and is hypervigilant because of the precarious state of her being upright while navigating all the do-do. Born between the wars, she has one of the movie star names common to her generation, she is Jean, and we must never let her own a gun. And the in-bloom buddleia, lousy with peacock and red admiral butterflies, and the red kites hovering above it all shitposting us with their clean air antics.

The Coop is the closest shop to my home that sells half-decent bread. It's new. It was a pub for a long time, before that it was another pub. It worked as a pub, the building itself I mean; neatly located between residential areas and the town centre. But it didn't thrive. There were rumours a councillor conducted his business from the pub rather than within the formal, more accountable setting of the community surgery. I don't know. I've lived here for twelve years, and my county representative has visited me once, his local equivalent, twice. Perhaps they've found a new pub to frequent. Perhaps they're worried about walking the streets because of the threat-level dog shit.

I told Charlie, the other participant in this morning's conversation, that I would be going out to buy bread. I asked him if he wanted anything fetching, he said, "not now that they've stopped selling doughnuts". The shop does sell doughnuts, but not the kind he likes, which is fine by me because he has a tendency to eat the lot over a day and that's too much fat and sugar for anyone. "Don't worry," he said, misinterpreting my frown. I asked him, "what if your doughnuts never come back?" He said, "there's always Sainsbury's." And there it was, my misplaced pique, dulled.

The practice of cleaning is powerful, Buddhists weave a compelling narrative of wellbeing and harmony around it. Dog owners should give it a try, or, only Buddhists can own dogs. I don't mind which, either way, the council notices threatening fines won't get the job done, but if she was twenty years younger, I suspect Jean might.

Big Thief has me excited. I love discovering new music, and Scot McClanahan recommends this singer and this song in an online interview I came across recently but can't now find. Sorry. Thanks for reading.

The First


Hello from the edge-land of a small town in Yorkshire where I am wrapping up changes to a website I made for my ex-employers because they are good people and I owe them nothing.

Is it possible to write about writing without complaint? No, not for me, not this week. Mood is from this week’s daily writing practice, a place where I give myself room to avoid working on my third unfinished novel, and indulge any passing interest or, well, mood. Next time in writing exercises, the dying art of the hand-job as evidenced in almost every tv show released this season and last. Not really, but sex sells, even when the behaviour alluded to is guaranteed to be a turn-off.

And I’m out. Birds to feed, product photo’s to take for Instagram (I take them with an iPhone and high-key the shit out of them), and there’s lunch to make from a courgette, carrots and an orange, or, I could walk down to Aldi.

Mood. If I told you I left on time for a networking, brunch affair, realised I’d forgotten my phone and wallet, turned around, couldn’t find the wallet, searched for a minute which felt like ten, then, locking the door, a slip, bounced my phone off the concrete step shattering the screen, I think you’d agree, vexing. And now I was late, Lizzo-amped vibe evaporating, poof, gone, like the phone.

I thought about not going. Got back in the car. Sat at the end of the road and waited for the traffic flow to break long enough to turn right, across lanes. Tictoc. A sign? Not too late, the better drivers of the A59 slowed enough to let me out. 

This is smart, I thought. Hum, hum, hair toss, parked up, checked my nails, not too chewed, baby how you doin’? As the juice flows.

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