Recent Races in Manhattan and Brooklyn Illustrate My Quest
By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft
I look at anybody who runs with awe.
I made a New York City marathon runner laugh after the race this year by saying, "A marathon is 26.2 miles, and you ran all of those miles. I can run about .2 miles. And by the end of that I want to die."
In another way, though, I've been a very long distance runner.
This post is for anyone who has been working toward making their dream come true for a very long time. In my case, it's been a three-decade road race, and I still don't consider my dream to be realized.
Of course, I have a tendency to move the finish line. Or the finish line moves itself.
I've defined success as achieving critical and popular acclaim for my writing.
I could not have made my road race any more difficult. I could not have set the bar any higher. Sheesh!
And the second part is to get at least six books I've written onto my shelf before I die. That's how many novels Jane Austen finished, plus some miscellaneous writings, before she died in so untimely a way at the age of 41.
So many writers these days have dozens of books to their credit. I'm insanely jealous. They were blessed by early success that freed them to write fulltime. I craved that freedom too, from the very beginning of my novel-writing efforts three decades ago.
That didn't seem to be God's plan for me. I had two small children to raise on my own and to support, and I had to juggle a corporate communications job, a daily commute to NYC (1.5 hours each way), my desire to write, and the need to pour myself into loving my children to make up for the fact that their father and I were divorced.
By the way, the list in the previous paragraph is not in order of my priority. The children were my first priority.
The juggling was tough. It's still tough. The only time I didn't have to juggle was July 2014 to July 2015. I had a small windfall and used it to give myself a creative writing sabbatical in Paris. How that came about is described in my blog here, in the July posts of my blog.
I'm beginning to receive the critical acclaim that makes up the first part of my dream. Writers Digest, a big magazine for writers, recently said The Paris Writers Circle (written during that sabbatical in Paris) was "Delightful!" and "Captivating!" They rated the story "Outstanding in plot, story appeal, character appeal, and character development."
This is very exciting to me. I can feel, even for a small while, before I resume the race, that I've been on the right course, that I've passed this test of endurance, at least so far.
I will have to wait to see if popular acclaim follows. The long, long road race is not over, not until the fat lady sings, I suppose.
There was no fat ladies in sight at the NYC marathon in early November, nor in Brooklyn on December 1, during a 5K race. Here are pics from those events:
Triumphant finisher, wrapped up.
Lots of finishers.
some people preferred these lighter wraps.
They didn't even look tired, these runners. They looked jolly good, like they can do another 26.2 miles.
segue to Brooklyn's Prospect Park and a 5K road race there.
Christmas was the theme.
Elfin green tutus.
Mr. and Mr.s Claus.
Lots of Santas.
I like her reindeer sunglasses. Most people also had bells on that jingled as they ran. How about you? Done a 5K lately? Comment below!