week twenty two — 67
To date: 1,065 KM
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.