Does It Ever Get Any Easier?


Image by ElvertBarnes via Flickr

This morning I completed the last of my four weekly runs—4.2 miles according to Nike+.  I took the same route I’ve been following for six months—about a third of it uphill, the rest a mix of flat and gentle grades.  I mention this not because it’s such a feat; there are lots of runners in my neighborhood who are every bit as old as I (older even!) and much faster—distance runners to boot!  Rather, I’m blogging about it today because I’m struck by the fact that, in all this time, completing the distance hasn’t gotten any easier for me.  Not one whit.

Rather like completing a work of fiction, if you ask me.

Speaking of which, I’ve cranked out four short stories since moving to Florida from the San Francisco Bay Area 18 months ago, and though one of the stories jogged onto the page at a fairly steady, reliable pace, the other three were slow uphill slogs from beginning to end—the task of completing them a numbing exercise in annoying false-starts, frustrating detours, and numerous rough-going re-writes.  And yet, as achingly uncomfortable as all that was (as it usually has been for ‘lo, these many decades), there is still the drive to get up and try the course again.  There is still the impetus, sometimes put off for several days (okay, sometimes for several weeks), to get on the course again in the hope that I’ll find myself more capable, better able to meet the challenges of the route, less likely to stumble into the same old potholes.  I go on hoping that if I just keep at it, just keep running at the task of writing my stories, then the going will get easier.  Eventually.  That said, there is still the same, nagging question—one I suspect many writers ponder: Does it ever get any easier?

About jaurquhart

Jack Andrew Urquhart was born in the American South. Following undergraduate work at the University of Florida, Gainesville, he taught in Florida's public schools. He earned a Master of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was the winner of the Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Award for Fiction (1991). His work has appeared online at Clapboard House Literary Journal, Crazyhorse Literary Journal, and Standards: The International Journal of Multicultural Studies. He is the author of So They Say, a collection of self-contained, inter-connected stories and the short story, They Say You Can Stop Yourself Breathing. Formerly a writing instructor at the University of Colorado’s Writing Program, Mr. Urquhart was, until 2010, a senior analyst for the Judicial Branch of California. He resides in Washington State.
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2 Responses to Does It Ever Get Any Easier?

  1. Miss Mary says:

    Nice blog you have here. Looks like a lovely place to hang out while watching you run. (I’ll be the one in the green chair to the left, smug and smiling as you huff past.) For the record, I really wish it writing (and running) got easier with practice, but I guess that would take the fun out of it, the thrill of the effort and all.

    I’ll be back.

    • jaurquhart says:

      Thank you, Miss Mary. I’ll hope you’ll hang out more often–when you’ve time and the inclination. It’s not as pretty here as your lovely blog (I’ll have to work on that). As for the running/writing, don’t know about the ‘fun’ angle you propose. Wish it was more ‘fun’ for me. But it certainly does provide, every now and then, moments of real satisfaction. That’s worth a lot, right?

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