Another week of avoiding the book I’m currently reading for treats that managed to find their way through my mail slot in spite of the ongoing Canada Post rotating strike action (solidarity with CP workers, btw). And it seems that after over 45 years the editorial staff has finally broken down and done the dreaded summary of contents all over the cover image. It brings back memories of being managing editor meeting with Mr. Appropriation Prize Hal Niedzviecki who advocated contents-on-the-cover and haha no never. Not never, it seems, alas. But inside the Kim Goldberg poem is excellent, as is Danielle LaFrance and the Fred Wah / Rita Wong collaboration. Also pretty great is Colin Browne’s conversation with Ester Shalev-Gerz about her 24,000 concrete paver block installation The Shadow at the University of B.C. So in spite of the new cover art direction it’s a really great issue from new editor Fenn Stewart. So obviously it’s still in good hands. So here’s the shameless plug, as past managing editor and current and soon to be ongoing donor you should subscribe or consider a tax-deductible donation.
Knee is beginning to finally feel better though it not quite better yet. I gave taping another try but it didn’t help much at all, but I’ve run twice in the Bracelayer compression tights that I picked up at the Victoria Marathon expo and I really like them and now wish that I had picked up a couple pairs at the price they were at the expo. Anyway, this was a good week and I had some fun mixing in sprints with my runs and I’m really looking forward to racing the Moustache Miler 5 KM coming up on this Saturday, November 24. I’ve supported a lot of fundraising runs in the past but this is the first time that I have attempted fundraising myself. The event supports the Movember Foundation, which seems like a worthwhile cause. So if perhaps you want to support me support them and get a tax receipt to boot, follow this link to my donation page. And next week I’ll let you know how it goes.
I haven’t read a lot this past week because, well, moving. It’s time consuming. But the other day, I got to kick off my runners and sit in a park on a blanket and sip La Croix lime and I grabbed a book of poems to read and the book I grabbed was a bunch of poems about two-stroke engines and some other stuff. I didn’t know Peter Culley but knew him. I was managing editor when The Capilano Review published a trio of poems he wrote with Elisa Ferrari in the “Languages” issue in 2014. I recall the shock to the Canlit community with his sudden passing in 2015. And I’m reminded of all of this because earlier this week (August 15) was his birthday and it’s weird to have friends of social media that are not longer alive but social media carries on as if they are. It is not an easy collection of poems, but it is great.
I ran a fair bit but not as far as I would have liked because, well, moving. It’s exhausting. I did not expect to long run this week, but I did have goals to run five-of-seven days and work on marathon pace. Check off five-of-seven days. Pacing focus was a pretty big X. Saturday morning was 10 miles at marathon pace that ended up being 17 KM too quick. It felt really great though. This evening I wanted to run for two hours at goal marathon pace, but after a week of packing and hauling, especially these past two days I am simply out of gas. I managed to get in 14 KM at marathon pace with a 1 KM warm up but I wasn’t going to keep that up any farther, so I tapped out. If there’s one silver lining it’s that hauling crates has forced me to do all the arm and core stuff that I normally avoid. Maybe in the new place I can forge a new routine. I already run in giant circles for hours. Picking stuff up and putting it back down doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.
I left the house for something other than running and ended up at the Paper Hound bookstore for a poetry reading hosted by Amy De’ath featuring Jeff Derksen, Danielle LaFrance, Juliane Okot Bitek and Tim Atkins, and along with Anne Carson’s behemoth chapbook collection Float and some really fantastic bits and pieces Tim brought from Crater Press I also picked up a cheap copy of The Hatred of Poetry because it was a poetry reading after all. It was also a part of the too short farewell tour for Amy and her partner Sean O’Brien as both prepared to evacuate Vancouver at the end of April. I regret not getting to know both of them better. I knew [of] Amy from publishing her work in The Capilano Review, but I actually met Sean first. He and Amy hosted a lit gathering of sorts one September evening. I remember it well as Colin Smith had just approved the final typesetting and design I’d done for Multiple Bippies and gave to go ahead to send to press. Donato Mancini, CUE Books’ guest editor for the collection, suggested we go celebrate at a friend’s place nearby mine in the West End. Sean answered the door. Donato did his best tidsoptimist impression. A couple years later, and Vancouver’s loss. Such is life.
I’m on the taper according to the schedule and it seems from the people that I follow on Strava that seem to be gearing up for the same event that I am I am the only one. It’s become difficult to trust the training plan but I’m doing my best. And I’ve been trying something new: yoga. Not really yoga. Stretching. I don’t ever stretch but I’ve started so now don’t ever is a lie. I did a Google search for yoga for runners and I found this article 5 Yoga Poses You Should Do After Every Run in Women’s Running and I’m pretty fine with gender neutrality plus I don’t think Utthan Pristhasana knows or cares if between my left and right hip flexors there is lady or dude stuff. Anyway, I like it. It hurts and I am the least flexible but it sure feels good afterwards. I ended my run today near the corner of West Pender and Bute near what will in one week be the finish line of the BMO Marathon. It also feels good. I think I’m ready.
this week — 34.21
to date — 515.63
Alright so I’m in a bad mood. I’ll get to that later. Anyway, Murakami. I think that the first thing that I heard about this book was, “Not his best work.” Suffice it to say that Murakami fans seem to dislike What I Talk About When I Talk About Running; however, I am not a Murakami fan. That sounds bad so let me qualify. I’m reminded of being much younger and person X asks me if I like band Y and I have never heard band Y and therefore I have no opinion of band Y so I reply, “No, I do not like them.” Which is then interpreted as I hate band Y when in fact I simply do not like band Y because I have never heard [of] band Y. I neither dislike nor like band Y. I have no opinion. But the question was, do you like band Y. To which the only answer is, “Nope, I do not like them.” So I digress. I cannot tell you much about Murakami, or if this book is any good within the context of his catalogue, but I can honestly say it is my favourite book of his that I’ve read. I will even go so far as to say that I found this book, not inspirational, but motivating, and I can see myself going back to it from time to time. I didn’t like all of it, for instance I found the bit in the last third or so where he posits some doubt about global warming and tries to imply that the scientific consensus on the matter is not really a consensus, and really, really makes himself look like an ignorant ass, a bit trying given his massive influence and readership. But there it is. Maybe that’s why it’s not his best work. I should read some more and decide for myself. As far as books about running go, it was pretty good. Yesterday on the bus and Skytrain I read The Hatch and then last night I went to the 2016 Talonbooks spring launch and last year Colin Brown headlines the launch with readings from The Hatch and all that is to say that it took me a year to get around to reading Brown’s book. I think I need to revisit it and explore more of the Surrealist themes, but I probably won’t because there’s a lot of other stuff to read. But I liked it. Brown is one of those interesting characters in my life. We all know people that we mostly only know from social media and seeing them in the real world is sometimes weird. I especially like to make it weird because I have zero qualms about saying hello and trying to have a conversation with someone that I “only” know on social media. The results vary. Brown is in a different category, though, because he is an active member of the board of The Capilano Review society for which I was the managing editor for over two years, and yet interacting with him outside of a Capilano Review context always seems to inspire the “social media friend” reaction. “Hi Colin.” But in all honesty it could just be that he has no idea who I am. His book is good though. You should read it.
So I mentioned that I’m in a bad mood and the reason I’m in a bad mood is because I went for a run today for what was supposed to be me last or second-to-last run before the BMO Half Marathon on Sunday and at around kilometre six my knee started saying, “Nope” and by seven-and-a-half it was definitively NOPE and for the first time since I started running seriously I had to stop and walk. I ended up walking about two kilometres of my 12.5 km route and I’m not happy and I’m really concerned that Sunday is going to be ruined by this stupid knee. So I’m in a bad mood. Oh but I broke 500 km so far this year this week.