The weather in New England is mild this morning, cool and a little overcast. This is great news for the runners gathered in Hopkinton, Massachusetts for the beginning of the Boston Marathon. Many are decked out in funny or outrageous costumes that will add to the burden of running 26.2 miles. Some run in memory of a loved one, others to raise money for a cause. A few will try because they have nothing better to do and they want to be part of the fun, maybe get on TV. Tens of thousands will start. A few thousand will finish. Only one will win, but they will all make an effort.
Why do they do it? Why do so many sign up to run 26.2 miles, knowing they can’t possibly win? For most, running the Boston Marathon is not about winning the laurel wreath. It is about making the attempt, setting a goal, achieving your personal best, and doing so in front of your peers. An athletic friend of mine says there is nothing to compare with running those last few miles to the finish line. Crowds lining both sides of the streets cheer and clap as you jog, walk or limp past. You can hear them shouting encouragement, blowing whistles or horns, and yelling as though the winner hadn’t passed by hours before. They are applauding the effort. They acknowledge that you have made the journey.
Life is a lot like that, I think. Two years ago, on another Patriots’ Day, I made my first blog entry. Although I was very consumed with a day job, family, friends, and other obligations, I certainly did not think it would be a year until the next one! The story I described then, about two young men caught up in events leading up to the American Revolution, is called The Lookout. It is a novel for middle grade readers that began as my last assignment for the “Writing for Children and Teenagers” course at the Institute for Children’s Literature. I completed the course, worked out some plot issues, and then began seriously digging into that period of history which I find soooo fascinating. As result, The Lookout is still a work in progress. I will finish it though. This story is my marathon.
I hope those of you who tried to follow me then will accept my apologies. Going forward I intend to participate regularly. Though I haven’t been posting, I’ve been following a lot of your excellent blogs, and yes, I too want to talk about books, writing and anything connected to them, such as reviewing, publishing, and selling. I’ll probably delve into history and current events as well, because I just can’t seem to help myself. Since my last entry, I’ve been reading some of the “classics” of children’s literature, for example, Treasure Island, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Right now my candidate for best of all time is Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Please let me know if you agree!