Even if I never enter a pool again, I will always be a swimmer. I dabbled in triathlons and marathons though “running” still remains an overstatement of what actually happens. I have been seen inside yoga and pilates studios and most recently there was a venture into cross-fit. I see the benefits of all of these and enjoy the variety but they all work toward the same goal: to make me a better swimmer. To strengthen what I already am.
This week I began a new type of cross-training. I am enrolled in a personal essay class for the duration of the summer. I am smack in the middle of this learning-to-be-a-novelist business. Would I have chosen to detour and try a new form so different from my young-adult-fantasy larger work? Probably not, but I understand why the wise instructors at Stanford suggested it. I need to work other mental muscles. It will help me strengthen what I already am: a writer. I may have sauntered into this new environment thinking I could handle it easily, after all, I have been knee deep in novel writing for years now. How hard could this be?
Just like when I cruise through swimming a mile with no problem and I think: How hard could it be to run a mile?
I am reminded just how hard when I have to walk after the first song on my playlist. I am reminded again when the cramp in my side flares, and then when the throbbing from an old injury reminds me that I am not only a swimmer and I should go back to the pool but that I am also old enough to have old injuries. I slog along because it will make me a better runner and it will make me a better swimmer (and a happier person, and a healthier person…the list goes on).
So here I go, embarking on the quest of the personal essay. Because I am curious, because I would like to become a better blogger, because I wonder what I will uncover in myself, but ultimately because I will do anything and everything in my power to become a better writer.