Whenever I race, I try to find one moment where I can feel true gratitude for the pleasure of being in this race on this day with this body. I really am a lucky person. I have done a good job with what I have, I think. I don’t have a perfect, athletic body to begin with. But I have a good, functional body.

A race is hard. I don’t mean to say it’s not. But it is possible for me. And it isn’t possible for everyone.

If I am puking my guts out. If I am bleeding because of a crash, if I am sorrowful because I am not getting the time I want to, I can always be grateful for the fact that I am out there, doing what I love.

I can be grateful for the weather, for the incredible scenery, for the incredible bike that I have the pleasure of riding on. I can be grateful for the aid stations and the volunteers at them, for other racers who cheer me on or encourage me.

Gratitude isn’t something that comes easily. You can’t just snap your fingers and be grateful. You train yourself to feel gratitude in difficult times the same way that you train for anything else, with practice. And while it doesn’t change the bad things that happened, it gives them a little more balance. It makes it possible to move forward without the same weight of the past, because you know that there will be something good ahead.

From Life Lessons in Triathlon

"Twilight has problems with misogyny and with abusive relationships. I don’t want to sugar-coat that. But if you, dear reader, are going around saying that Twilight is proof that girls are all stupid-heads who want a brooding vampire to stalk and abuse them, then you are being misogynistic.

In all my years of life, I have never heard anyone seriously speculate that the popularity of femme fatales in fiction means that all men secretly yearn for an abusive relationship; yet in the time since Twilight was released, I have heard the meme that all girls wish to be abused more times than I can count. This is a failure of understanding the difference between fantasy and reality, and it is a “failure” that conveniently props up existing misogynistic narratives about how women who stay with abusers stay because they secretly want to be abused rather than because they are groomed (by both their abuser and the larger society) to stay with their abuser, and because society does not empower them to leave. This is a comforting lie we tell ourselves because it’s easier to blame abuse victims than acknowledge that we are failing them."

Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings: Twilight: Abuse and Attention (via michaelblume)

(via seananmcguire)

The Bishop’s Wife

"Mormon bishop’s wife isn’t an official calling. “Bishop’s wife” isn’t a position listed on ward documents; there’s no ceremonial laying-on of hands or pronounced blessings from on high. But if the bishop is the father of the ward, the bishop’s wife is the mother, and that meant there were five hundred people who were under my care. I was used to the phone calls in the middle of the night, to the doorbell ringing far too late and far too early. I was used to being looked past, because I was never the person that they were there to see."

The Bishop’s Wife is available for preorder here:

The Grief-Bearer

She opened the door a crack, and then wider.

She had been warned.

She knew of the Pain-Bearer

And the Fear-Bearer

And the Hate-Bearer.

They had never tempted her.

“It won’t cost a thing the first time.”

The voice was pleasant, no pressure.

The face was familiar, seen everywhere,

But no one’s friend.

The bearers weren’t friends.

Not even with each other.

They did not bear for free,

Except the first time.

“Just this once,” she said, and stepped back.

The Grief-Bearer stepped in.

There was a moment then when she reconsidered.

She thought of the consequences.

But she was alone.

Her husband was asleep.

The chatty neighbors had left her a meal to warm.

It stood on the table, cold and unappealing.

Why did they think she could eat?

They did not know grief.

“What do I do?” she asked.

“Sit.  And think.  And breathe.  That is all.

I will hold your pain for you.

I will feel it as deeply as you would feel it.

I will give honor to the one lost,

And I will remember the futures you wished for,

And planned for, and expected,

And did not receive.”

A Friend In Need

Most of the marathons that I have done, I have found someone the last few miles to “hook up with.” We are total strangers, but in this one desperate moment in life, we need each other. We talk about anything, everything. Sometimes we talk about the running we’re doing, sometimes we try to talk about anything but the running.
A friend in need, as they say, is a friend in deed. I don’t even know if I would remember the names of those who have helped me through these hard times, but I remember their help.
This is one of the great lessons of triathlon to me. When we are going through life, there are people around us who are in the same desperate straits that we are in. If we can find them, they can help us through. They understand what we are going through. We may not realize who the right people are, but I think it’s possible to find them. If you tell the truth about your pain, you will find people who nod in understanding. They are your friends in need. Seek them out privately and pour your heart out.

Character Leads to Plot—part 3

Bad things must happen to good characters.

Think of what the worst thing is that would happen to your character. Then make that thing happen. Seeing how someone reacts under the worst possible conditions is why readers read. Either that’s Schadenfreude or a real desire to see courage, I don’t know which.

But beware that the worst thing for one character will not be the worst thing for another character. Each character’s worst thing is individual and unique. Build into your character the fear of the worst thing, and then when it happens, the plot feels inevitable.

And don’t forget the bad things we do to ourselves. We sabotage our own successes, because we are afraid of them.

We are ignorant and have our ignorances revealed to us.

We are overconfident and fail precisely because of that.

All our virtues crumble into flaws just as we are learning to lean on and depend on them.

Analyze, Don’t Criticize

Criticism says, “You weren’t good enough.”
Analysis says, “You could have done better with a few changes.”
I have found this is a useful thing to bring to my own view of myself in life. The more I tell myself kind things, with a bit of advice for the future, the less I feel like I want to avoid trying new things because I am fearful of the results.
The kinder I am to myself, the kinder other people seem to be around me, in part because I can listen to the kind things they say more easily, and in part because I suspect I hold myself differently and act differently and others follow my lead.
Analysis is a great way to look holistically at both the good and bad in your life. But if you are going to do a true analysis, spend as much time thinking about what you did right as what you did wrong.

Character Leads to Plot—Part 2

What does your character absolutely know to be true? And what happens when your character finds out that it’s false? This is plot.

What is your character’s primary identity and what happens when someone challenges that identity? This is plot.

What will your character NOT do to get what she wants? And how do you design a plot that forces a dilemma that shows what happens when want and moral values are at odds?

What does your character hate about himself? How will that change by the end of the book? This is plot.

What secrets does your character want to keep hidden? How will those secrets be revealed anyway? This is plot.

What things does your character avoid from the past because of the wounds they have caused? How will your character be forced to stop avoiding the past? This is plot.

What emotional patterns does your character fall into? How will this change? This is plot.

"If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever that is. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me if I do? You’re a human being, with a unique story to tell, and you have every right. If you speak with passion, many of us will listen. We need stories to live, all of us. We live by story. Yours enlarges the circle."


This is 100% me right now with this book I am writing, I do not feel like I can do this book correctly and what right do I have to tell these stories.

(via geardrops)

(via seananmcguire)

(Source: dismoithelma, via ecmock)