I’m not a runner…

My office took part in the Brisbane Marathon yesterday to raise money for a charity. The plan had been for all of us to compete in the 21.1km half marathon however, in the final days before the race, all but three switched over to the 10km event.

I, was stupid enough to continue in the 21.1 km event, despite my usual exercise being the 5km walk I attempt each day during my lunch break. Well, I am glad to say that I did complete the full “half” marathon and even got a medal at the end. I walked for large portions of it but switched it up to a jog whenever I was growing too bored or in amongst a group. Overall, my time was 3 hours 30 which I was happy with and am sure I could have reduced if I hadn’t decided to stop at times to take some pictures, like those above. It isn’t every day that I get to see my city in the early morning light – hell, I don’t recognise that there is in fact two different 4 o’clocks in a day so it was a rude shock to the body when my alarm went off at  4 am and woke me with a fright.

I am not an athletic person and it was rather crazy to take part in this event given it was 20 days before my wedding, however, being for charity – how could I say no?

Things I learnt:

  • When trying to avoid running into the edge of the door when leaving bedroom in total darkness, also avoid the opposite wall and the fan switch (I have a nice round bruise on my arm).

 

  • Blister pads (usually decided for when you already have a blister) are brilliant at preventing them as well. I was wearing some old Kmart sneakers so put some of those bad boys on my ankles. Victory – not a blister in sight.

 

  • Some people will run fast, some will run slow, some will look more like a zombie shuffling on and some will be walking. Encourage all the people who you pass. It is gruelling and you don’t know what the other person is going through. Congratulate them for taking part.

 

  • Toilet break before the race is essential. I didn’t pass ANY decent loos on the way and my bladder was hating me BIG TIME by the end of the race.

 

  • Try to have fun. Yes you may look like a complete fool and your running style could do with some fine tuning but pfft… at least you are trying.

 

  • Eat something before you begin.

 

  • Stretch. I was planning on doing more running and only the tiniest bit of jogging. Didn’t turn out that way. Being a fool, I didn’t stretch before hand and now, the day after am paying for that mistake big time. My waddle makes me look like I’ve been in the saddle all day.

 

  • You can do anything you set your mind to.

 

  • Headphones are essential if you aren’t a “serious” competitor. I didn’t have headphones on me and get a bit bored with the voices in my head by the end of it. I did manage to keep myself partially amused by: Swearing that hills were part of the course (on the map it looks pretty flat), swearing that stairs were part of the course (turns out they weren’t, some were just bailing on the course), cursing the team member who came up with the idea of the marathon and asking for a lighter medal at the end since the standard one of too heavy for my tired body – and no, I didn’t get a lighter one.
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Straphanger Chronicles Vol. 9

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The trains are as crazy as always. I have been getting a slightly later train than my usual and it has been stuffed to the brim. I think the only way more people could fit in the carriage is if we were to be stacked horizontally.

Of course, I am not altogether opposed to this if it will stop the regular assault on my person from people’s bags and elbows. It doesn’t seem as if a day has gone by without a handbag to the head. I try to cop it pretty calmly, however it can become difficult to grit my teeth and bear it when the zip on the strangers handbag catches hair and I end up risking a bald patch as well as a sore head.

I have encountered a number of  train conductors who have attempted to lighten the sardine situation by injecting some humour into the commute. Yesterday evening, the Conductor, a rather chatty guy was on the loud-speaker asking for a show of hands from those happy to be going home – and then threatening to chuck everyone who didn’t participate off the train at the next station so they could make their way back to the city and work. A few chuckles were shared and eye contact was made between strangers – always awkward.

I was forced to move seats at one time to place some distance between my ears and the loud conversation coming from a guy who seemed to have a dead parrot shoved on his head thanks to his colourful hair. After sitting through his opinions of organised religion and hearing about how he would never have any “Christian” tattoos on him, and hearing of the last time he got stoned, I got sick of the sound of his voice and retreated towards the quieter end of the carriage to continue to be absorbed in the book I was reading.

Peace and quiet can be hard to find on a packed train.

A picture says a 1000 words

A picture says a 1000 words has got to be a saying that just about everyone on the planet has heard at least once in their lives. For the most part, I have to agree with this saying. As a writer, I know that I can use as many or as few words as I want to describe a scene or a person, and yet those who pursue the visual arts are able to capture more than that from a single image.

I have always been jealous of photographers and those that can capture those perfect moments in time. My fiance loves to remind me that I have a knack for taking blurry pictures and I know I can only blame my phone’s camera for some of those images – and the rest I would love to blame on the blurs that are my nieces and nephews however others seem to be able to get snapshots of the kids without them being so out of focus they are nearly unrecognisable as people.

I spend quite a bit of my time on open source platforms like Pexels and am also impressed by the images that I see. A selection of today’s favourites are below.

 

 

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All of those lights are people and I wonder about their stories. Are they on the way home from the office? Driving towards something? Driving away from something?

 

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Who are the couple in this image? Is it a quiet moment that they didn’t realise was captured?

 

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This image has got to be one of my favourites of the week. The lone boat out on the sea reminds me of one of my all time favourite books, Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”

Do you have any images that speak to you? A picture that begs you to ask its story?

 

In the trash…

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I know it is probably the same for everyone who is engrossed in creating something, whether it is a work of fiction, a painting, a melody (hopefully not those creating life). We as humans tend to be our own worse critics.

Yes, I know that people exist who by outward appearances don’t admit that they’ve ever created anything sub-par. However, even those individuals must have that niggling thought in their mind. Am I any good? Is my work any good?

I have recently started approaching my novel again, with the goal of having the first draft completed before 2018 ticks over to 2019. This shouldn’t be that big a “thing” except that I have been alternating between working on, and ignoring this piece of work for over 6 years now. The fact that it has stuck in my mind after these years tells me that it holds some promise and I find myself getting excited when I sit at my laptop and the words start to flow unencumbered.

That is when it happens. That flicker of doubt. Am I wasting my time? Is what I, as a self diagnosed bookworm, thinking is rather decent for a first draft actually a steaming pile of fecal matter? It is said that Shakespeare (who ever he actually was) sent most of his work to the closest trash receptacle.

My fiance, and knight in shining armour, came to my rescue when I was in the midst of another bout of fear and angst.

His suggestion? Remove my head from my arse. Yes, I can always count on him to tell it as it is. Okay, so with my head as removed as I can achieve, I will persevere. After all, Nothing can’t be either good or bad, it is simply nothing. Before I or anyone else can judge something, it has to exist.

Since I was young, I have read books and thought: I can do that. I had an idea of the amount of work that went into writing a story, and have been published in the past, however that was Inkwells- of- days- gone- by. I am older and hopefully wiser now – and can hopefully produce far better work. Now is my time to prove it.

Wish me luck.

Not a very girly girl

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I don’t think many could accuse me of being a girly girl. Yes, I wear makeup during the week (most commonly on work days) however it takes me on average 4 minutes to apply this layer of war paint and I do so for equal parts, sun protection on my face and so I don’t scare the hell out of people.

I could probably spend less time with makeup application however my hand-eye coordination seems to go out the window when doing anything around my eyes so I spend that extra moment making sure I don’t poke my eyes out.

I have just started laser hair removal (got a great deal) and this is not because I want my armpits to look like the photo shopped wonders that are splashed across magazine pages, nope. I just hate having to shave all the time and cannot stand hairy pits. I don’t care if others want to be able to braid armpit hair, to each their own. I just don’t want to see it. I don’t think it is some ridiculous beauty standard, a couple of hundred years ago women liked to enforce a receding hairline through the use of plucking and tweezing so I think that by those standards we get off rather easily.

I do attempt to look decent when I go out, especially on date night and will obviously make an effort for my wedding day however I have found through years of experience that when I am forced to spend more than half and hour getting dressed and choosing the right outfit, makeup and accessories, the results are rather the same as if I’d crawled out of bed and dragged a brush through my hair and gotten dressed in the dark.

Why go to all the effort to look good for others. Unless you spend all day looking at yourself in the mirror, or checking out your reflection in someones glasses, the effort really isn’t worth it since you are not going to see much of the result anyway. I am not a slob but I am proud to not be a girly girl.

I am just me. Relatively low maintenance and more at home hanging out with the guys and telling someone crude jokes than being dragged around shopping centres and forced to wear ridiculous outfits while the “girls” pretend they are in Sex and the City (a show I NEVER watched by the way). I wouldn’t say I am a tomboy as I do like wearing a good wedge and am not that into sports. I think I should come up with my own label for those, like myself, who don’t fit into either category. Hmmm, that’s a thought.

 

Masks

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Each of us wear different masks throughout our lives. Some are off and on with frequency, set to protect us in social situations and work environments. Some masks, we struggle to remove.

I have discovered that I generally wear a number of masks on any given day, depending on the situation I am in and it is only those that I am closest to who get to view me without this added protection.

Now, I am not saying that I am being dishonest by wearing these masks. No, they are more to assist me with manoeuvring the social intricacies involved with each of my roles.

Masks may be situational, Emotional, or simply to hide identities.

One of the masks I hide behind, along with a lot of people, is a name. All you will ever know me as is Inkwell. Not only for the safety of my identity as well as the simple fact that I am not a fan of the name on my birth certificate.

The main thing to remember with these masks is not to hurt others or yourself. It is all well and good to hide but do not hide from your own truth. Pain lurks in the darkness of those that hide from their personal truths.

Hide all you want from others, but do not hide from yourself.

If you are a boss for instance, don’t get caught out hiding behind the mask of an all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful “Boss”. You are not the Wizard of Oz and even the great Oz was eventually able to admit that he did know actually know much at all.

No matter how many masks you wear, I hope that you find at least one person who can see you without them. Someone you trust enough to bare your soul to. It is something that many of us strive for and all too few of us seem to achieve.

 

Actually…

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I will be the first to admit that one of my all time favourite movies is that holiday favourite “Love Actually”. I love watching the interwoven stories unfold and yes, I do find myself screaming at the Telly every time a certain character is about to stray from his charming English wife – the friend basically stalking his best friends wife I am a bit less invested in…

Something strikes me each time that I watch this film or come across a particular word.

Actually.

Seems like a rather inconspicuous word to me.

According to the Oxford Dictionary: (Adverb)

  1. As the truth or facts of a situation; really.
  2. Used to emphasise something some has said or done is surprising.
  3. Used to introduce a new topic or to add information to a previous statement.

All seems rather simple enough, until you realise that it also means: Used when expressing a contradictory or unexpected opinion or correcting someone.

Yes, correcting someone. I can see how that can be rather negative (depending on the manner the correction is given). I know we are all guilty of correcting each other but have found that when someone uses the word “actually” they are really saying – “Actually, you are completely wrong dumb ass”.

As well as this, I have found that it is most commonly used, to give a negative tint to good ol’ Number 2 (no double entendre intended) . Used to emphasise that something someone has said or done is surprising can end up sounding like one of the most negative statements you can hear.

For example:

“Honey, you actually look really good in that”.

Does that mean I usually look like a piece of shite or you were certain that the outfit I chose was hideous and were simply too tired to be my wardrobe assistant for a couple of hours while “we” selected the perfect outfit?

“I actually really love the present you got me”

Hmmm, this could either be complete and utter BS to save face, or to save the other parties feelings (both quite understandable) or you are in fact in complete shock that this person actually knows you well enough to get something you like instead of something that you will attempt to return to the random shop it was purchased from, without a receipt.

Tell me. Am I just over thinking this word? What words do you find some what negative?