In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Do you have any favorite quotes
* If you aren’t a subscriber
* I’m a fortunate guy — thoughts on walking
* I didn’t write yesterday
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“Don’t let people drive you crazy when you know it’s in walking distance.” Author Unknown
“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.” G.M. Trevelyan
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Henry David Thoreau
“It is not easy to walk alone in the country without musing upon something.” Charles Dickens
“If you seek creative ideas go walking.
Angels whisper to a man when he goes for
a walk. Raymond I. Myers
“Look I probably should have told you this before but you see… well… insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.” Mortimer Brewster (played by Cary Grant) in the film Arsenic and Old Lace (Thanks to the Passive Guy for this one.)
Do you have any favorite quotes on walking and creativity? If so, share them with me in the comments.
If you aren’t a subscriber to the Atlas Obscura (FREE) newsletter, I strongly recommend subscribing. Again, it’s free, and story ideas abound. You can subscribe by scrolling to the bottom of the page at https://www.atlasobscura.com/.
I’m a fortunate guy. I’m one of those who can drop weight just by walking. Not everyone can, depending on how well their various glands, etc. are working. As a bonus, walking seems to have a cumulative effect of easing the pain of arthritis in my lower spine. (Pain is too strong a word; as we do with all such problems, we get used to it.)
I’m also fortunate to have a clear walking path east of my house.
On that path, a former pasture access road that meanders eventually to and past the former town playground and park and then past the local volunteer fire station, I can walk a circuit of a little over 2 miles. The penultimate 1/2 mile or so of that particular course lies along a fairly quiet state road.
But I haven’t walked that circuit yet because I don’t like changing surfaces as I walk (soft dirt to unforgiving asphalt and back). Doing so can cause shin splints. I learned that back when I ran instead of walked and reveled in the ignorance of a bullet-proof youth.
Or I can turn around at a gate just shy of the local fire station, which is located outside of town along a country lane. If I turn around there, I’ll log an out-and-back of right at 3.1 miles (5k).
As I leave my house and walk east/northeast along the pasture access road, a range of rocky mud hills lies to the south and parallels my route. To the north and east is open desert, very sparsely populated with scrub mesquite, acacia, creosote and the occasion barrel or jumping cholla or pencil cholla cactus.
On the slopes of the hills, the scrub brush is thicker and punctuated occasionally with juniper and, less often, cedar trees.
I’ve walked the hills before too, but not at this time of year. At this time of year (spring, summer, fall) there’s too great a chance of encountering a rattlesnake. And really, what self-respecting rattler doesn’t mind a human stomping cluelessly through his living room? What self-respecting rattler wouldn’t defend his home?
So if I walked through that brush and got fanged, I wouldn’t have a valid complaint except against my own stupidity. Like a swimmer who goes into the ocean and then complains when he loses a limb to shark. So I don’t walk the hills at this time of year, and I never swim in the ocean.
Despite the out-and-back aspect of most of my walks, the path is interesting enough that I don’t get bored. Chiefly because I can wander off the path at any point into the open desert and explore. As I said, the vegetation is very sparse.
As long as I’m headed east/northeast, there’s a gentle upward slope to the terrain. The elevation increases about 80 feet over about 9/10ths of a mile. (I haven’t done the math to figure out the grade yet.) The slope is just enough to make me lean into the walk on the way out. So it’s a great workout going out, and I can relax my way back to the house once I turn around.
I’m blessed. I walk in the pre-dawn cool of the morning, a benefit of autumn in the high desert, so most often I get to witness a different sunrise every morning. That among the sweet blossoms of acacia and, if it’s rained recently or the humidity is up, the fresh scent of creosote.
And when I reach whatever turnaround point I’ve selected for the day, I’m doubly blessed with a view of the blue Whetstone mountains to the west, the Rincons (near Tucson) to the northwest, and the Huachuca (Thunder) mountains near Sierra Vista to the southwest.
It’s a great life.
And yes, among many other things, I think about stories or possibilities for stories as I walk. Some writers “wait” for inspiration. I’m surrounded by it.
I didn’t write yesterday for various reasons. The walk, really, was the only good part of the day. I’ll write again today.
Talk with you again when I can.
See “Wildfire Archaeology” at https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/wildfire-archaeology-american-west. The article blames “federal wildfire suppression policies,” but state governors bear most of the blame. When the feds suggest or even mandate conducting preventative controlled burns to deplete fuel and the governors ignore them, well, there y’go. To avoid getting into politics, I won’t name particular states.
See “Woodpecker Wars” at https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/acrorn-woodpecker-wars. Story ideas abound.
Like magic? See “Exclusive Magic Show” at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/atlas-obscura-fan-favorites-camera-tricks-with-ben-seidman-tickets-117448227811.
See “Dream Job” at https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/eternal-employment-in-gothenburg-sweden.
See “23 Years Ago” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/23-years-ago/.
See “Top Ten Tips on Formatting eBooks from MS Word” at https://killzoneblog.com/2020/09/top-ten-tips-on-formatting-ebooks-from-ms-word.html.
See “Samuel L. Jackson – celebrity voice for Alexa” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/samuel-l-jackson-celebrity-voice-for-alexa/. I don’t (and won’t) have Alexa, but if I did I think I’d use this.
See “Doubling down on climate change and censorship” at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/doubling-down-on-climate-change-and-censorship. Censorship — what an ugly, ugly word.
The Journal…………………………………… 980 words
Writing of Body on the Beach (novel, working title)
Day 1…… 1135 words. Total words to date…… 1135
Day 1…… 1409 words. Total words to date…… 2544
Total fiction words for the month……… 7817
Total fiction words for the year………… 323100
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7160
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 144730
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 467830
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 50
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31