You might have seen my essay on Bell’s Palsy on Longreads. If you sat and read all 4k+ words of it, thank you. I know it’s hard to sit at a screen and read anything longer than a tweet or twenty million (or maybe I’m the only one with a Twitter problem?). If you didn’t read it, it was long, it was personal and I was proud that Longreads published it because I’ve never read anything I didn’t love on that site. That experience, which included random strangers reaching out from random corners of the internet to thank me for telling my story would have been sufficiently awesome even if it didn’t lead to me getting my picture on PEOPLE FUCKING MAGAZINE’S WEBSITE. Yes, THE People Magazine.
The actual day after my essay went live on Longreads, friends were blowing up my phone like “OMG did you see Angelina Jolie announced she had Bell’s Palsy!? You’re going to be famous/besties with Angelina!!” And I was like, “Talk about serendipity.” AND THEN A REPORTER FROM PEOPLE MAGAZINE EMAILED ME LIKE CAN I INTERVIEW YOU? And I was like YES HOW SOON? We chatted for a good half hour, and I obsessed the whole rest of the day about all the things I shouldn’t have said and all the things I should have said instead and when Dan asked me why I didn’t prepare more, I said I didn’t think I needed to because she was going to be asking me about me, which is a topic I’m basically an expert on even without any flash cards or cliffs notes or anything. I consoled myself by reminding myself that when I interview someone for a story, it’s in everyone’s best interest to make that person sound as smart as possible and then I tried to chill out and avoid compulsively refreshing my email waiting for the reporter to send me the link to the story. (I was not successful in either venture.)
The story is here. (It did not make me appear to be a blathering idiot, as I’d feared.)
It wouldn’t truly have been a few minutes of fame without some obligatory hate mail lurking in my inbox. Or my Instagram comments. Same diff. Confession: I used to be jealous of people who complained about hateful words being hurled at them from across the interwebs because I thought someone hating you meant you made someone feel something, which is always a writer’s goal, isn’t it? And if no one is hating you, mustn’t that mean no one is reading you? I still think being hated is kind of cool in the theoretical but now that I’ve experienced it, I can say that in the actual, it’s about as cool as being stuck in the driest of dry spells when you see your ex-boyfriend with another woman who is prettier than you, thinner than you, and in possession of perfect ponytail full of flowing, honey blonde hair, and they are laughing and carrying on like they’re in a Prozac ad and your stomach lurches, your face gets prickly hot, and you look down while walking away quickly, hoping they didn’t see you and when you reach for your car keys five minutes later you notice your hand is trembling. So, not fun at all.
I was invited to a friend’s book club as the guest of honor! It was really fun to answer questions about my book, There’s No Room for Fear in a Burley Trailer, and to hang out and drink a Bloody Mary (with homemade pickled green beans!) with a group of cool women. If you want me to come to your book club, whether in person or virtually, just let me know.
I am not going to re-invent the wheel… Here are my Instagram posts of a couple of my recent faves. I post everything I read to Goodreads, but only my favorites make it onto my Instagram feed.
No Apparent Distress was beautifully written and kept me turning the pages way past my bedtime. The author was vulnerable without being overly confessional. The book was in a lot of ways just as political as it was personal, without ever hitting you over the head with its message. That said, I wish everyone who feels healthcare is a privilege, not a basic human right, would read this book. #amreading #noapparentdistress #rachelpearsonmd #memoir #medicine #healthcare #healthcareforall
Those were two amazing books. I have a few book crushes (e.g. books I am DYING to get my hands on). They are Celeste Ng’s new one, Little Fires Everywhere and two by Elizabeth Crane. I don’t know how she published two books (a book of short stories, Turf and a novel, The History of Great Things) before I knew anything about it but apparently, she did. I know, you’re like “dying to get your hands on them, Pam? There is this thing called Amazon which makes it possible for you to have them in 48 hours or instantly on your Kindle.” I have Amazon Prime. I know. I also have a stack full of books that I have owned for an embarrassingly long time and still haven’t read because of all the books I put on hold at the library, and then they become available, inevitably all at the same time, which means I am in a constant mad rush to finish my library books before they’re due, which means I never get to read the books I actually own, which means I feel too guilty to buy more books, or at this point, to even request more from the library. Fellow reading addicts do you feel me??
I ran a 5k while we were on vacation in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Despite not having run much at all, I am a competitive asshole which means I rarely skip a chance to race at sea level. When I showed up to the start line, I was at turns baffled and impressed by how much school spirit the other runners had. Nearly everyone was wearing something or more than one thing adorned with the name of a college. I thought maybe I’d become so accustomed to Colorado, I’d forgotten how obsessed with prestigious institutions of higher learning us east coasters are wont to be. (That said, Dan doesn’t know which colleges are in the Ivy League and I have a hard time wrapping my head around this gaping hole in his knowledge). Me being me, I failed to understand that the fact that the race was called the College Day 5k had anything do with it until I did my cool-down jog.
Shortest race recap ever: I hadn’t been running because I’d been (and continue to be) going to Crossfit three to four times a week, teaching spin once a week, and running or biking or swimming one day per week. I wanted to see how well I could run on practically zero running, lots of weights, plenty of squats, and mostly HIIT (high-intensity interval training) for cardio. It turns out I actually need to run in order to run fast.
I started toward the front, noticed that my watch read 6:50-something as I passed the first mile mark and also that I was kind of dying, so I slowed down a few notches. While I struggled to establish a sustainable pace, it felt like the entire field was passing me. When I got to the turnaround, I could see that this was totally not the case, but my slowing pace was demoralizing nonetheless. I kept telling myself every race doesn’t have to be a PR and that I had no business coming here and thinking I’d be able to run my best on virtually no running. As we neared the three-mile mark, I found a pair of women running together, one of whom had the same shorts as me (twinsies!!!). I focused on them and only them. My breath was coming out in gasps and my legs were on fire but seeing that I was making up ground with every step, I resisted the urge to slow down, even just a hair. I pretended like I was relaxed and cool as I passed the slower of the two (they’d separated by the time I got to her) and forced myself to keep my legs turning over as I was still on the hunt for my shorts twin. As I passed her, I said, “Come with me,” but she was feeling rougher than I was apparently, so I passed her stayed in front of her through the finish line.
After I crossed the line I bent down and put my head between my knees and told Dan to please please please remember that if an hour from now I was ruminating on whether I’d truly given it my all, to remind me that I had, no question. Though it wasn’t my fastest 5k it was the best effort I could give on that day and I am proud of that. My time was 22:45, which put me at second in the 35-39 age group and tenth overall woman. (In comparison, last year, after months of consistently logging 20ish miles of running per week, albeit at a slow to moderate pace most of the time, I ran a flat, sea level 5k in a time of 21:59.)
And like I mentioned… I’ve been doing CrossFit (CrossFitting?) and I am loving it. It’s efficient, it’s different, and I’m always pushing myself in new ways. Running will still be there when I get the urge to run again, but I just haven’t felt like it. I love running but I’m not married to it, so a break feels right for the time being. Also, I have my eye on a totally non-running goal… pull-ups. Even a single pull-up would be a huge accomplishment for me.
5 thoughts on “Writing. Speaking. Reading. Running. (Late summer 2017 edition)”
This was such a great update. I DID read all 4000 words of the Longreads piece when it came out. Such an excellent piece of writing. And People!! 🙂
I just read your piece on Longreads and wanted to thank you – although I’m not going through the same thing, I’m in a somewhat similar situation and you made me feel better. Thanks for sharing this beautifully written piece. And congrats on People! 🙂
Thank you so much!! I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know I helped you feel better. That means a lot to me.
Nina, thank you! Something is up with my comments not coming to my email inbox so I just saw this.