1. The shallow breathing, counting 1-2-3 in, and 1-2-3-4 out, the sore hips and shins and feet. Settling in.
2. A creek runs along this trail. I pass behind a Japanese man standing along the edge of the slow-flowing water. His head is bowed. The water level is too low. Lack of rain.
3. Tsunami. The still photos in the NYT.
4. This photo, the warning of the Slippery Slope. I keep thinking about what it means, or doesn’t mean, or officially means, or means to me when I feel myself sliding down what very well may be one hell of a hill.
5. The red sketch of the tight-rope walker, a stick figure, on the jacket of LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN.
6. Our Book Club discussion of LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN. This may well be the book we’ve disliked (overall) the most. I finished it, and then wished I hadn’t bothered. I’m not even proud of myself for finishing it.
7. Just off the trail, a young mother has stopped with her double-wide stroller of twin toddlers and a fat black lab. She disconnects his leash and tosses a big stick. Lab sloshes through the shallow water, nabs the stick, and bounds back. Joy. One twin claps her hands and bounces in her seat. Her sister sleeps through it all.
8. I slow down to a stroll, catch my breath, hands on hips. Is this cheating?
9. It is the season of Writing Contests. I keep getting e-mails saying Time is running out! I got one this morning from Creative Nonfiction — 2 Days Left to Submit on ANGER AND REVENGE. I kid you not.
10. Time is running out. I pick up the pace. Sore hips and all.
11. I was reading a Tom Perrotta interview yesterday in the December issue of The Writer’s Chronicle (great interview). He talks about the film adaptation of his book LITTLE CHILDREN and how it came out too dreamlike, not at all like the dark suburban malaise he painted in his book. The reality of boredom. How dark. His main character reading MADAME BOVARY and thinking, “This is not me. Or is it?”
12. A recent CNN article asked: Are Whites Racially Oppressed? There’s a photo of a white man holding the flag and saluting. Are they fucking kidding? See the sign above.
13. I slow down, coming to the end, what was also the beginning. There’s the Japanese man, still there by the creek, but now he’s flanked on both sides by about a dozen geese rushing to the water, beating their wings, setting sail.