Monday, September 15, 2008

Quiet days of fall

Date: Sept. 12 and 13
Mileage: 31.8 and 32.0
September mileage: 334.9

There's a sameness to the air again as the sky sinks down and the clouds settle in for the long season. For many, fall is a season of color and change. In Juneau, our colors are subtle and often washed in gray. Change here is subtle as well; as autumn rain takes over, temperatures drop in undetectable increments until one day, you walk out the door and it's winter. When I lived farther south, fall was always my favorite time of year. I loved the vibrancy and crisp air and promise of new passion. But since I moved to Juneau, my experience with fall has been muted at best - as though the entire season passed in one drawn-out, gray day. If I was given the choice of two months to do away with here in Juneau, I would pick September and October, without regret.

That's why it's vital that I kick myself out the door once in a while, but I admit, my motivation has been flagging. My cycling has continued since I stopped training for Trans Utah, though on a less focused level. Because I recognize that I will lapse into a bad cycle if I don't do something I feel is productive, I have been working hard on my writing project again. Basically, what I am doing is drawing up some of my past experiences into literary essays of sorts. I wasn't always a blogger, so a lot of my experiences are being increasingly diluted in an ocean of memories. I wanted to get them down on paper (well, computer). Dredging my memory bank has been fun, but surprisingly exhausting. I am remembering all kinds of nearly forgotten details that really make the moments come alive for me again. At the same time, I'm not a tape recorder. I find myself taking some creative license with conversations in order to avoid being completely vague. So it's not journalism in its pure form, but there's no intentional fiction, either.

The project was unfocused at first, but has started to develop around the theme of "how did a scared little suburban girl from Salt Lake City end up on the Iditarod Trail." It's really not nearly as hokey as it sounds. Anyway, since it is September 2008, it just made sense to center the essays on the Iditarod race because that is my most recent and dramatic life experience. It's been really interesting to revisit that week through the lens of six months later, now that I have had more time to process different events and decide what it meant to me as a whole. Plus, I have a really great record of it already, so it hasn't been hard to fill in the gaps.

So that's what I've been up to this weekend: boring riding, but interesting writing - even if only to me. Last year, my grandmother published her memoirs and distributed them to her whole family. It's been a fun document to have - not only to learn more about my grandma's life, but to see how she views her own life. Writing about past experiences, good or bad, is a project I would recommend to anyone - it's a great way to learn a lot about yourself, and much cheaper than therapy.