Running and Writing


On the eve of my half marathon I return to the inspiring essay by Joyce Carol Oates, “Running and Writing.” I will re-read it tonight and think of it during the 2.5 hours that I will be running along the streets of Kiawah Island tomorrow, hopefully free from pain.

She writes, “Both running and writing are highly addictive activities; both are, for me, inextricably bound up with consciousness. I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t running, and I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t writing.”

Oates grew up in Upstate New York and writes of exploring the woods and how that time developed her storytelling. I grew up in the deep woods of Vermont and spent my afternoons after the school bus dropped me off walking up the dirt road toward home. To entertain myself I told stories in my head. Oates writes “of running or hiking in our pear and apple orchards, through fields of wind-rustling corn towering over my head, along farmers’ lanes and on bluffs above the Tonawanda Creek. Through childhood I hiked, roamed, tirelessly explored the countryside: neighboring farms, a treasure trove of old barns, abandoned houses and forbidden properties of all kinds, some of them presumably dangerous, like cisterns and wells covered with loose boards.” and says that these activities are intimately bound up with storytelling and I wholeheartedly agree.

I will not be alone on those 13.1 miles tomorrow, I will be filled with the stories in my head because like Oates says, “Running is a meditation.”


Wego Health Day 8, a Conversation with my Son

Prompt: Best conversation I had this week. Try writing script-style (or with dialogue) today to recap an awesome conversation you had this week.

Reid, my 2 year old, sits in the jogger and I stand behind him. We’re at the front entrance of his brother’s elementary school waiting for Miles, my 7 year old to walk out the front door. Will, my 10 year old stands beside me. He stayed home sick again today with a cold, but I made him walk with me to get some fresh air. The sun is shining, it’s a warm, spring afternoon, but I’m grouchy. My blood sugar has been low all day, and both Reid and Will have been sick with colds–coughing and runny noses, low grade fevers. I haven’t been able to get any work done. Instead, I’ve spent all day with a cranky toddler shadowing my every move and Will, leaving a trail of tissues in his wake. I am feeling suffocated by this life with my children. The hours pass slowly and meaninglessly and I am short tempered with the boys. I feel like an animal at the zoo, boxed in.

“Hi Mom!” Miles walks toward us. Miles with his wild, thick, blonde, too long hair and his bright blue eyes. My beautiful, unpredictable boy.

“How was your day? I ask.

“Good. Mrs. Musci said I don’t have to do homework today because I beat my MAP score.”

“That’s great.” (One less thing to stress about, I think.) We walk past the car riders line and I can tell my blood sugar is dropping (again!) so I reach down into the jogger to grab the bottle of glucose tabs. The Kalediscope kids, the ones who stay after school until 5pm, are loud on the playground as we walk past and I sigh deeply. Tired.

“Mom,” Miles starts.

“Yes Miles,” I say, preparing myself for one of his long stories. He is looking at the trees. I wait.

“Mom,” he says again.

“What!?!” Will steals a glance at me, I can feel it. He knows I’m irritated, I’ve been that way all day. I didn’t believe that he was sick and pushed him to go to school. When he cried and whimpered I said, “Fine, stay home!” and he did. And I made him pay for all day with my grouchiness.

“You couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to go to Kalediscope after school.”

“Oh yeah?” I said, not really listening.

“You couldn’t pay me all the money in the whole, wide world. All the toys, all the Skylanders, all the 3DS or wii games. You wanna know why?”


“Because I want to stay home with you.”

“Really?” My heart was in my throat.

“Yes, really!”

You have no idea how much I needed to hear that,” I said. And it was all okay. We walked home together.

Wego Health Challenge Day 4

I write about my health because

it helps me feel less alone. This is the slightly edited intro from my book, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes, which spells out why I write about my health:

Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 14 years old, the cusp of adolescence, changed my life forever. Insulin injections, a “diabetic diet” and the ever present fear of complications were suddenly added to the typical teenage fixations of boys, clothes, and being popular. Instead of speaking in the 1980’s valley girl slang, I had to learn a medical dialect, the language of old age. Instead of experimenting with changing hormones and a budding sexuality, I had to learn how to read my body’s signals to determine if I was ‘high’ or ‘low,’ or whether I needed sugar, or if I needed to go for a walk to bring my sugar down. And all this time I felt like I was alone, like I was the only one in the world with this dreadful disease.


I didn’t realize when I started writing this book five years ago that I would was embarking on a journey both emotional and physical. Listening to nearly one hundred women has allowed me to see that I am not alone. Listening to the stories of women living with diabetes, women who were different from me in age and personality, women who lived in different parts of the country and even across the world, women who were athletes, doctors, educators, mothers and writers, women who were married, single and widowed, has taught me that I am not alone. We all share diabetes.

That’s why I write about my health.

Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge

My plate is already too full, but I couldn’t pass up this challenge. Check it out:

I will be writing a post a day for all 30 days in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. I hope you’ll join me in writing every day about health. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’d love to see what you have to say about each of the topics, too.

All you have to do to join is sign up here, and you’ll be able to start posting once April rolls around. Looking forward to writing with you!