I received an advanced copy of Ayiti from Grove Press. It came out in 2011 but now Roxane Gay is a pretty big deal so Grove is rereleasing it with two additional stories, which begs the question whether it’s an advanced copy or not. Regardless it seemed as good a time as any to finally read Hunger. I’ve wanted and not wanted to read it since it came out, so it has just sat and stared at me as I pick up other books. I didn’t find it difficult to read but I do find it difficult to write about. It’s probably too cliché to quote Atticus Finch but I do feel like I took a jog in Roxane Gay’s point of view. The memoir explores her relationship with food as the result a way to deal with trauma from rape. It’s a heavy book, no pun intended. In early 2014 I went through my own trauma when my partner of a decade decided she’d rather be with another person, then a bit later told me. I can see how I could have eaten through it. Instead I drank through it. And started running through it. Hindsight is a funny thing. A question arose in my mind while reading Hunger, which was to wonder its fate if it had not been written by Roxane Gay. Perhaps another way to look at it is that Ayiti makes way for Hunger. Ayiti is Roxanne Gay’s debut short story collection featuring fifteen pieces, opening with “Motherfuckers” and never lost my attention. The writing is excellent, the stories humorous and tragic. This is an excellent debut that is worthy of reissue. I really like this collection and recommend it. Thanks to Grove Press for the advance copy.
Last week I wrote about travel running but I didn’t write about public toilets. Probably the first thing I learned about running, before “no, shoes are not all the same” and “don’t wear cotton” was that running can lead to needing to find a washroom. I flew home from Sweden yesterday after running nearly 130 KM (plus a 21.1 KM race) around Helsinki, Finland, Tallinn Estonia, and Stockholm, and one thing that I noticed is a dearth of public washrooms. Sometimes just noticing that there are ample facilities along the route is reassuring, whether they’re needed or not. On that note Helsinki was not so bad. Tallinn was not great. In Stockholm though, and this surprised me, the only public WC I saw was 200 metres from the flat I’d let. (Stockholm is also, incidentally, the only place I ended up having to, ahem, cut a run short.) This morning I ran just over 18 KM over a couple bridges and around Stanley Park and I passed eight washrooms (one twice). In fact, on the various routes that I run there are around 35 public washrooms. So I created a map in Google Maps and mapped them. I’m going to embed it on this blog somewhere, but in the meantime you can view/copy/share it here: Vancouver Washrooms.
20. Same Diff — Donato Mancini
21. Bad Feminist — Roxane Gay
week twenty six — 54 km
To date: 1,453 km
I’m trying to read 95 books this year and by 95 books what I mean is that I’m trying to read 62 books this year so that I can beat my 61/95 attempt from last year. And I’m not doing so well. At current pace I’m set to get through 42 books. Since this blog is about reading and running and I’ve spent a lot of time writing about running half and full marathons I feel the need to point out that the 2017 on pace to read and read so far numbers are coincidental. Honest. Anyway, at this point last year I had read 40 books, but I also read a lot at the beginning of 2016 and much less so towards the end of the year. So maybe the trend will reverse. It could happen. I didn’t know why it was called Same Diff instead of More Or Less I thought to myself while drinking a pint during Wednesday happy hour at the Three Brits (I’ve no shame) when like a lightening bolt from heaven I got it! and now I cannot remember. Probably because of the pints. Today I sat on a different patio in a different city drinking a different beer and also read Roxane Gay’s excerpt from her new (forthcoming?) book Hunger in the Guardian online and it was really good. I feel like I’m not allowed to read Roxane Gay (or Jessa Crispin or … ) in public for fear that people will think that I’m an MRA looking for ammo. Because I read social media and there are people that do. Both. Anyway, here are some numbers.
Books read: 21
Books needed to beat 2016: 41
By Not Straight White Dudes: 7
I’m trying to run 2,600 kilometres this year, which is 600 km more than last year. I have obviously done better than my reading. At this point last year I had run 917 km, which was a bit behind pace but I had a couple anomalies along the way. I hurt my knee, suffered a bought of macroscopic hematuria (the first time is the most terrifying), and I stupidly neglected to take my running stuff along on my spring sojourn in Spain. This year, knock wood, other than a nasty bought of a terrible chest cold, I’ve been rather footloose. I remember that cold. I’d never had a cold like that. As an ex-smoker I was pretty sure I was going to die. I’ve gotten to that age where every little weird but new problem I immediate think cancer. I blame the internet.
But I digress. So far this year I’ve ran 1,453 km and to be on pace I would need to be at 1,300 km. I’m over 150 km ahead of pace so now I’m contemplating going for 3,000 km. But maybe instead I should read a bit more instead. Numbers!
Runs so far: 109
Average distance: 13.3 km
Runs 21.1 or farther: 17
Birds shat on by: 1
Emergency WC stops sans TP: 1
At the end of last year I set a few other goals to go along with the running and the reading, including exercising above my waist (pretty pathetic), completing six evil needlepoints (to date: zero), and figure out why I’m sick all the time and fix it. I’ve made a lot of progress on that last one since paying attention to (though not strictly following) the FODMAP Food List. So that’s good but I still have work to do on the other two. Back to work.