Why I Run
A rainy, cold Monday. 4pm. This is what I am thinking:
I can’t do it I can’t think of anything to write but I have a deadline and it’s late and why am I always late and why can’t I be better and more organized and do my book proposal and why can’t I think straight and why do I feel so black and I can’t do it and people don’t like my book and just to prove it I’ll go to goodreads and amazon and read people’s reviews and look I knew it here’s one that says it’s “scrappy” and here’s another that says it’s wrong and here’s one that prefers a similar book by a young man and they say I have errors in my book but I don’t or not the ones they say but maybe I do and shit people hate it and why are reviewers so sodding mean and I feel crap and a failure and look it’s 4pm and I’ve done nothing today but waste time and I’m supposed to have made an important call but I don’t have the energy to do it it’s like something black and viscous, like tar, is pulling my soul down into my boots and when the tar is pulling me down I can’t pick up a phone, picking up a phone seems like an impossible thing to do and really all I want to do is weep and shit here’s another reviewer who says the book is awful and all over the place and you see I know that’s actually true because I found giving the book some narrative logic so difficult that I probably didn’t manage it and even though my publisher has sent through the images of a new edition of The Big Necessity and even though there is a quote on the cover from the New York Times calling it one of the best non-fiction books of the new millennium that has no effect on the black tar because I feel sad and gloomy and awful and I’m going to go home and see my cats and when I do all they want is food and to play with string and though they are lovely they don’t help because the blackness is so so black and I know I have to go running and I’m supposed to do eight miles but I also know I’m supposed to make that phone call and I haven’t and oh shit what can I do to feel better I’ll sit on the floor by my radiator and read this new running magazine and that’s soothing for a few minutes and now it’s 6pm and it’s dark and the black tar is not letting me find the energy to get up and get running clothes on and get out of the door and run because I feel drained and tired like my soul is tired and everything is wrong everything the world is awful and I’m alone and will never be otherwise and people hate my book and they think it has mistakes in it and now it’s 6.15 and I think I’ll go to club training instead but no I don’t want to run for 7 miles doing sociable run chat with people because the club is full of new January members and I can’t be bothered to be curious or it’s worse than that, I do not have any curiosity, I only have blankness, but then again if I don’t go I won’t run and maybe running will dissolve the tar it’s the only thing I know that can and it’s that or a sleeping pill and somehow at 6.20pm I stand up and I move upstairs and I get my running kit on and I feed the cats and I leave the house and I drive and I know my mood is awful because when it’s awful I can’t bear the radio and now I switch off the radio because it’s Just a Minute and I don’t like that even when I have the strength of a good mood but I keep driving and I keep going and I get to the leisure centre and I go inside and I go into the lounge/pool viewing area where we meet and I still feel black but I say hello and I sit and I wait for us to set off and I find some social veneer that lets me be jollier than I feel and I wait to run and we set off to run and we get up the hill and I keep going and it’s black and cold and a bit wet but there are 20 or so of us, just running through dark streets on a miserable Monday night and then something happens and
I feel better.
Only the night is black now.
Everything is fine.