Saturday, 21 January 2017

I Come 358th

I am awaiting the results for my 9th parkrun.  It's due to land in my inbox in about half an hour.  I suspect my time will be slower than my last run, a fortnight ago, because there were at least three minutes today when I was running without thinking about it.  I was thinking about hunting dragons instead.

A fortnight ago, I came 358th out of 437 runners, and I was the 126th female.  But I couldn't care less.  I mean, I could a bit - I'm glad for my sons' sake that I wasn't last.

The not minding about coming in quite far back is not bravado.  When I see people running ahead of me, way ahead, lapping me, I think, "It's okay. I can write poetry!" I guess that could be a form of defensiveness, but what this phrase seems to do is to help me to stay with myself, going steady, and starting to enjoy, yes enjoy, the feeling of running.

And, you see, I have a new perspective since I came 1st in a poetry competition, and that mattered to me very much.  It mattered to me so much I danced around my living room when I heard.  I said things like, "I've won!" and "I'm so happy."  My eldest son looked on, bemused.

The winning of the Café Writers Competition 2016 doesn't prove anything in particular (how can poems be judged against each other, as Ian McMillan said at the TS Eliot readings last Sunday evening in the Royal Festival Hall.  "It's like," he said, "comparing a Grapefruit with a Trombone.").  Coming 1st is more to do with the affirmation of having written something that speaks to someone I trust and whose writing I admire deeply for its courage, beauty and truthfulness.

Coming first in something that matters to me has made this new year start in the best way possible.  Since receiving the news, I've had a buzzing energy coursing around my creative zones.  These zones have spread beyond my mind, heart and notebook to include my bedroom floor on which books, pencils, scraps of paper and, of course, clothes, are scattered.

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