Tag Archives: historical fiction

Running down a dream

Today, I ran my first half marathon. It has been a goal six years in the making. I came close in 2008, but then a stupid injury sidelined me. Illness, a couple of surgeries and pure laziness kept me from succeeding.

Last January, when I was on a trip to LA with my sister, I knew I had to make a big change in my life. My health had to become my priority.

After nine months of training (with a 2 month break because of travel and a mild case of laziness), I ran the Niagara International Half Marathon

After the run, with our hard earned medals.

After the run, with our hard earned medals.

with my husband, who has also been my awesome and patient coach. It was hard. My legs are not fully functional and probably won’t be for days. My head hurts. And I feel awesome.

I finally reached this goal because I had a plan: “do this much running on these days for this many weeks.” I had to start with a walking plan to build up my fitness. Then my running had to increase to be able to run 10 minutes and walk 1. And then my mileage had to build from 3 km all the way up to 20, and finally 21 km today. It meant running when I didn’t want to. There was a lot of swearing, I won’t lie. A bit of whining too. The couch would be calling, but Dave would be in his running gear and I knew I had to get my ass in gear.

At the beginning, I was scared that I would fail again. That it would continue to be this illusive goal. Right up until I went over the finish line, I was afraid I couldn’t do it.

Stickers helped me to celebrate my progress. Apparently, I'm 8 years old.

Stickers helped me to celebrate my progress. Apparently, I’m 8 years old.

But I did it.

And now I know I can apply the same approach to writing. I went back and re-read my notes and outline. I’m pretty happy with a lot of it, but I’ve also forgotten a lot of the direction I was heading. I’ve been intimidated by the historical research I need to do. Intimidated by the character sketches and plot points.

No more. It’s time to at start by walking, not just talking about it. So it will start with dividing the work I need to do into one month chunks, researching one key topic at a time, then developing character sketches, then moving on to those plot points.  I won’t do it if I allow the intimidation to stall me or if I try to do everything at once.

I know today won’t be my last half marathon (not quite ready to commit to a full marathon yet). I am thankful for how it has prepared me to go after the biggest goal of my life.



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Serafina has come to life (deadlines are beautiful)

I haven’t blogged in a month. There’s been a lot of distraction in my life. A lot of noise.

Despite the noise, I have some good news to share.  With 5 hours and 34 minutes to spare, I submitted my short story to the CBC Canada Writes short story competition.

This blog and the support of my friends and even strangers who have taken the time to follow me or hit the like button, help me to not give up. Each week that I didn’t write here, I felt disappointed. Mostly I took a break from blogging because I could not stand the idea of writing about how I wasn’t writing. That’s a one note song I was sick of sharing.

The block was getting me down, the calendar had flipped forward. I realized I had 2 weeks left to get the story done. The story of Serafina had become something huge. Actually sitting down and writing the story scared the hell out of me. The story is very loosely based on a story my mother’s mother being forced to give away her wedding band for Mussolini’s economic campaign. This story was precious to me. What if I got it wrong?

Then I took a trip to Washington, DC with my husband and my sister and brother-in-law. I had never been before. This trip and the Smithsonian Institute specifically, helped me to finally understand how deep a passion I have for history. Not sure why this came as such a surprise – I have a degree in history. At one point, I terrified my husband by saying I should go back to school to get my Masters in History.

He can relax. I’m not so much intrigued by the dates and the events. I came home inspired and motivated to want to learn more about the people behind the history. And, I want to tell their stories.

So with the deadline looming, I took my time and crafted Serafina’s story. It took me about 20 hours and 6 drafts and the editorial advice and encouragement of 4 people. My favourite tip: “My son is 5 years old and he is significantly taller than a rooster.”

In about six months, I’ll be able to share it with you. I don’t think it will win any awards, but it will tell the tale of a little girl, grief, a gold ring and the kindness and love of a stranger.

Now… I do believe a I have book to research.


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