I have a tendency to over-think simple questions and ordinary social interactions.
If someone asks ‘How’s it going?,’ I’m likely to give the question way more thought than it deserves and then launch into a meandering answer that leaves the questioner stirring their coffee nervously. It’s not that I’m under any illusion that ‘how it’s going’ for me is particularly interesting to others, it’s just that for some reason I’ve never mastered the formula for giving the right amount of information when asked a simple question.
I thought about this as I pondered the number of times people have asked me “what’s up with the blog?” It’s been a couple of years since I abruptly stopped writing my NNHS blog, but I’m always running into disgruntled readers waiting for the next installment. I really wished I had a simple. coherent answer, but it was complicated. I was sick, and when I got better, I found that my priorities had shifted. I was putting all my extra time into starting a Track and Field program at Concord Academy. I was confused about whether I was supposed to be an amateur journalist covering H.S. running, or an amateur runner keeping an online journal. I ran out of things to say. I was dissatisfied with the quality of my writing. All of these are true, to some extent, and all of them probably contributed to my hiatus.
“So what’s up with the blog?” I still don’t have a simple answer. I’m not sure what comes next, or even how long this will last. I’ve never been good about answering questions about my future plans.
That reminds me that one of my most embarrassing public moments occurred when I botched an answer to that very question. It was back in high school, and I was one of several students from Amherst Regional chosen to compete as a team on a TV quiz show. The idea was to have teams from different schools vie with each other answering general knowledge questions. At the start of every show, the host would introduce each of the kids, and ask them their plans for the future. This would prompt responses like:
- “I’m a senior and I’ll be attending Georgetown University next year.”
- “I’m a junior and I’d like to pursue a degree in Fine Arts from a four-year college.”
- “I’m a senior and I’ve been accepted at Amherst College where I hope to study modern languages.
Simple, right? A pat formula for giving the audience a good feeling about these promising young academics.
But when it was my turn tell the world about my shining plans for the future, I didn’t stick to the formula and I blurted out “I’m interested in Slavic Studies.”
Now, I don’t know to this day why I said that. It was true I was taking Russian at the time, and I had read a few works by Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky, but I actually had no interest in Slavic Studies or any other kind of studies at that point. I wasn’t even planning to go to college, but I just wanted to say something that sounded erudite and plausible — something that would not invite any follow-up questions. Unfortunately, my lack of conviction (and practice) led me to stumble on the words as they came out, and instead of moving on to the next student, the host raised his voice in challenge. “What?!” he cried out in a voice much more agitated than his usual urbane patter. “‘Sloppy Clergy?!!'”
But I digress.
I don’t know where this will lead. All I know is that I like to write about goes through my head before, during, and after a run. I like to write about the changes that take place in a person’s life when they commit themselves to training. I like to write about what I feel when I watch runners strive for their goals.
My intention is to offer up a new blog post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I hope that frequency strikes the right balance between actually having something to say, and having enough time to put it into words properly. We’ll see.
In the meantime, thank you for your patience. I appreciate having people who take the time to read what I write. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be exploring, and whether it will include Slavic Studies, or for that matter sloppy clergy, but I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I plan to enjoy writing about it.