So I wrote a political post, then I disappeared. I generally stopped all of the social media stuff for a good long while. I mean I was still on Facebook because, well, I am not crazy and cold turkey doesn’t suit me, but I did no posting and little in the way of other social media.
This is going to be long. This is going to be serious. This is going to have nothing to do with reading or running. And before I go one word further this is not an opening for political debate. Because if you think for one minute that your right to own dangerous firearms trumps others’ right to live free of fear, you are wrong. I will not debate you on this point. There is no reason whatsoever that will move me on this.
I have spent the last few days vacillating between sobbing grief and furious anger over the events in Florida. I have generally held my tongue and not replied to the insensitive jerks who within hours began to politicize this act and beat their chests about second amendment rights and terrorism. I tried to focus on the tragedy and then the outpouring of love in the form of actions that occurred in Florida.
There are a few social media themes that struck me since then. The first was this idea that this is the new norm. Sadly, this is correct. In the 2 days since Orlando, there have been 5 more mass shootings resulting in 1 more death and 22 more injuries. In June alone there have been 20 mass shootings. So, yes, this is the new norm. So much so that it has to reach a critical mass before the national media will even bother to bring it up.
Another theme was how people lamented that if guns laws did not change after Sandy Hook then they never would. After a gunman killed babies! But here is the thing–I think we were complacent after Sandy Hook because it never occurred to us that our lawmakers and gun manufactures would ignore babies; surely they had to act.
But they did not. They proved that their bottom line and the gun lobby are more important than children. They proved thatscientific research would not sway them.
While watching yet another talk show host bemoan the loss of life in Orlando, I was struck. It was Stephen Colbert, and he made a powerful point.
Love is a verb. It is action. So in order for love to win we have to do something. And I am not using the royal we. I am not using the amorphous we. I am talking about me and you and everyone who has had enough. I will not stand by and watch more children, more of my brothers and sisters, more human beings for fuck sake die because someone was full of self-loathing and anger and had easy access to guns.
Perhaps it is naïve to think that maybe just maybe some people don’t know what to do, but it could be that is the case.
For me a huge part of this is to no longer assume that my elected officials have any (ANY) soul that can’t be bought and sold. That they have any (ANY) vote that is not easily available to the highest bidder. And that means funding organizations so that the gun control lobby becomes as strong as and more funded than the NRA. We need to stop thinking there are morals and virtue in government and work to ensure that our lobby is richer and can outbid anyone. It is a place to start and here are some places that can do good things with your money.
Money is not it. There are so many other things you can do. But it is the doing that is important. In the minute it takes you to repost the pithy tweet you could look at what one of these organizations asks you to do to help. And then, damn it, just do it.
And just in case you are not paying attention, Obama is not coming for your guns but know this: I am.
Today is not really about you, but I do love you if you are stopping by here to read. OK, I also love some folks who are not reading, but I love you more. The actual theme is “10 things I love about ‘x'”, where x=thing I love. Since I am trying to focus on both running and read you’ll get 5 about each love.
“The Zone” – I know you know what I mean. That place where you don’t want to put down the book, where the story is everything, where hours fly by and suddenly you realize you have missed meals and phone calls and texts.
“Signings” – I have not been to many but I have discovered I am willing to drive a ridiculous distance to listen to a favorite author speak/read and get a copy of a favorite book signed.
“Sharing recommendations” – “Wait have you read this one?” “You need to borrow this one!” “I love this book and I know you will too.”
“Escape” – Whether it is Narnia, Brakebills, Hogwarts, Pern or 100 other worlds, I get to be there for a little while. Sometimes for much too short a period of time. Sometimes I get to visit over and over. But those worlds are always beckoning me.
“The Library” – I have been going to the same library now for about 15 years. I love the people and the events and the way that is smells and looks and the calm that exists in the place where I find community and books and laughter.
“Sleep” – When I run I sleep. When I don’t run I don’t sleep much. This has a huge impact on my life. Sleep is good. As Jim Butcher says in Death Masks “Sleep is God. Go worship.”
“Accomplishment” – I ran .25 miles more today. I got a PR. I ran for longer without stopping. There are very tangible achievements in running. If the rest of my day sucked often I can say but at least I ran.
“Other Runners” – From the runners at races to the ones who help me find shoes that helped me run better to the ones online who answer 700 dumb questions a month. From the ones who run a 17 minute pace to the ones that run a 7 minute pace. I have yet to meet an unfriendly, unhelpful runner.
& 5. “Zombies, Run” – This is the thing I love the most. I love the app. I love the company. I love the developers. I am so in debt to this thing and those people who make it. I am Runner 5 and I have saved Abel Township. I have laughed, cried, yelled and punched the air while running all because the world is so immersive. Now add to this a group of people online who I love more and more every day as they share my love for the app and I am discovering mutual support and encouragement and tons of love for each other. Yup this deserves two spots on the list.
Since it is almost June I thought I would start this week off with a bit of a mid-year update. It is not a happy one. I had a long-term goal to be out of the obese BMI category by the time I turned 50. And I was well on my way last Fall. I had lost 70 pounds and was running 5-10K everyday. But than Winter arrived and I knew that my streak would slow and so would my weight loss. What I didn’t know what that I would get injured and from November until now I would gain 57% of that weight back. This has been devastating for me. I was supposed to be close to run a half marathon at this point but now I am excited to be running 3K at a time in an AlterG® ANTI-GRAVITY TREADMILL set at 65%. I am trying very hard to see that I am healing but I am so very frustrated that I have lost so much ground.
I am on track for some of the reading challenges but need to post the backlog of reviews. I have decided that I need to focus on one thing at a time and now have my books one my tablet, on my phone and physically (when I can). I can’t think of how many time lately I have wanted to keep reading but the book is in a form or on an unavailable device. I will let you know in a few weeks if this helps me out of my slump. Or you will see it a in bunch of new reviews.
To add to the stress of not running, I am looking at applying for jobs after a number of years home. Sadly I have yet to find one that will pay me to read and run. But fingers crossed that something comes along soon.
I am still not running. I am more than ever disappointed in my regression and inability to make progress. For a long time that has been my mantra when things have been going poorly; “Seek progress, not perfection.” But what do we do when progress is not even attainable? How can we be motivated when the thing that motivates us is forbidden? How can we practice patience when the one thing that granted an equilibrium and bolstered our ability to be patient is still not allowed?
Most of these will lean heavily toward science fiction or fantasy. In other life I was a sociology professor who taught at a mid-sized university. My dream course, the one I never got to teach, was one called Sociology through science fiction. We were going to include books, movies and TV as a way to explore sociological concepts. There have been a few books I would add to list I had back then but here are my top ten and one of the concepts illustrated in the story.