Monday, June 25, 2007

This was my first day of either being unemployed or a full-time writer. (Perspective is everything.) And on this day, I received my first payment for a piece of fiction. $25 from the groovy Joseph Levens at The Summerset Review. Thanks, Joseph.

I wore a wetsuit for tonight's swim; no screwing around with hypothermia like on Saturday. I wore it for the San Diego International Tri yesterday, too. Bryan and I swim-buddied and were happy to have a layer of neoprene. Swimming slowly alongside an unsure athlete sucks your body heat into the water. Congrats to Tom, Becky, and Pam on great races.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Carpe Diem

(Photos by Bryan O'Neill)

Tom, Greg, Bryan L, Pam, and I braved the 67-degree ocean this morning (no wetsuits, only weenies wear wetsuits in open-water swims) for the 2.5k Pier-to-Cove swim put on by the fine La Jolla Cove Swim Club. Here's my race report: it was cold. It was cold and I can't sight for shit. But it was fun.

When you're by yourself for an hour, you think about things. I thought about how Jim was always encouraging people interested in triathlon to give it a try. You've never swum in the ocean? We want you. The only bike you've ridden had training wheels? We want you. You're overweight? We want you. And we don't just want you to show up and complete the workouts or finish the races. We want you to find what you can do to help others. We want you to take those ideas you've been kicking around and make them happen.

So I swam the race with thoughts of Jim. It was a beautiful day.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sonic Boom

I heard the shuttle return home today. I was on my way to lunch with Veronika when the boom resounded through campus. All of southern California knew the shuttle had returned.

But things and people come and go all the time. And their movements are rarely accompanied by a signal flare.

There's a lot of snatching going on. People are whisked away. They slip out.

TCSD attracts all types. Some of us are tri geeks, others are casual athletes. Some dream about durace casettes, others are happy with a cleansing Friday Cove swim. But we all love this sport. And Jim wanted us to be a part of it. Every *single* one of us. He knew it would make us more confident, more physically fit, reduce our stress, provide direction and goals, distract us from work, give us utter joy. And most of all, we would find great friends.


This was my last day at work. Another ending and the possibility of a newness with another beginning. You use what's passed to propel you up the next hill. You use the legacy of someone to effect those still with you.
Club Website
Triathlete Magazine
San Diego Union-Tribune Forum
Competitor Magazine
TCSD Ironman Interview

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The Tri Club's president passed away yesterday. Perhaps I'll have some perspective on this soon, but for now I'm simply numb. This is a huge loss for everyone who knew him and the local triathlon community.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Good, Bad, and Good of Human Interaction

My dad called this afternoon. He'd read yesterday's entry and wanted to know if his phone call would make it onto the blog like Patchen's. He said he thinks blogs are interesting because readers can gauge the pritorities of the writer. That man is so incisive. Anyhow Dad, of course you made it here.

Riding home from work, a passenger shouted something while his truck was passing me. I'm sure it was obscene, but I honestly have no idea what he said. Come on, misogynistic men of the world; if you're going to insult women on bicycles, please make your words audible! I like to know what people find so wrong about me riding along, mind my own business and sticking to the bike lane, sparing the world some CO2.

I returned this evening to a short story. On Saturday my writing workshop gave comments, and these have proved enormously helpful. In the rest of our lives we are incredibly different. But once a month we gather to talk about stories and poems, to give our thoughts and suggestions. This is going on all over the world, in the smallest cities and among all types of people. Thanks, ladies.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Insert Your Own Title Here

I ducked out of work for a couple hours this afternoon for my book club. This month was "favorite children's stories" and the girls shared books they'd bought for their newborns on a recent trip to a bookstore. We had an interesting discussion on whether children should be exposed to fairy tales and other "lies" like the Tooth Fairy. Most of the girls thought it was fine, but some believed it would only delude the child about the harsh realities of life. These girls have gone through hell in their short lives, but I don't always realize the profound effects of such a trauma. It was only a couple minutes into the discussion that I realized I'd been holding my breath.

After work I jetted over to Shores for a swim. It was my first Monday swim of the year without a wetsuit. The water was 67, which is just on the cusp of being comfortable for me. As Pam and I waded in, we looked at each other and wondered what we'd gotten ourselves into. Nearly everyone else was covered in neoprene. But the water was fine once I got going. Stopping at the halfway buoy, though, was another issue. Swim, swim, swim, and I'm fine. Stop for one second and I'm instantly cold, kicking a mean eggbeater and sculling to try and stay warm. Its effects were only marginal and I swam double-time back to the shore. Still, it was a great swim, and a bit liberating being without a wetsuit.

I emerged from the sea to a voicemail from my good friend Patchen. A couple months ago, I'd asked him to give a reading at my wedding (something related to love or life or some equally serendiptious thing). He'd called to say he may not be able to make it because of work. Which makes me sad but I completely understand. The best part of his phone call was the declaration that "I've been writing 500 words every day. It doesn't matter if they're good words because I'm doing it consistently." This made me so happy. Juggling a pay-the-bills job with an artistic pursuit is difficult. Especially with the complications of rent, health insurance, the approval of family, the salary raises of friends and feeling like you don't measure up. But Patchen is capable of some really fine writing and although we can get distracted, you always return to a stasis of what you should be doing.

Opening Day

With a bag of peanuts slung across my shoulder and a wad of singles for change, I'm ready for business. This blog has come about for an upcoming trip to the New York State Summer Writer's Institute, where I'll spend a month working on a novel.