Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Revising My Stance


I’ve made the executive decision to rewrite my book.  What book?  I have been writing a book about my forgone obsession with doing the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race.  Looking back at it now with some temporal distance it seems to me to be less than cohesive and little more than a collection of disjointed blog posts.
I still like the story I’ve told with it, but I want it to be stronger and more relevant to the audience.  I also want to weave in some of the threads of thought I have had in the past year.  A year gone from the race has given me—what I feel anyway—a very unique and relevant perspective of the entire journey from “I could never do that” to rolling across the red carpet in downtown Leadville.  The afterword is in some ways as compelling as the race.
It’s not easy to go back and interject those observations in any kind of meaningful way without interrupting the tenuous flow I previously had. But this rewrite isn’t as much about adding new content as shoring up the whole saga and giving it a better framework and polish.  I guess I knew this effort was a possibility when I began, and had hoped I could get away without putting in so much work, but now I’m staring it in the face.  I risk losing some important things I previously wrote, but I think it’s time to murder my babies and start over.
The whole book has too much Debbie Downer tonality and I want it to be uplifting and inspiring.  There are some incontrovertible Debbie Downer moments that are important to the story, but they shouldn’t set the tone for the whole book.  I think the story would be stronger if I can show the ups and downs more equitably but with better focus on the bright times and featuring more prominently all of the reasons I feel like anyone could benefit from going down a similar path.
Most days I feel as if I’m surrounded by a host of dragons all bent on burning me away to nothing.  There is the Dragon of Self-Doubt, the Dragon of Inattention, and the Dragon of Depression.  There are so many smaller and fierce dragons nipping at me constantly.  While this is a tumultuous way to live, I have developed so many coping mechanisms and strategies to maintain my position against all of them.  I’ve recently touched on that here.  I feel as if I do have something to offer to those who are struggling with the same kinds of daily battles I go through myself.  Maybe they don’t need a how-to guide to mediocre mountain bike race results, but there are still lessons to be learned and guideposts to be maintained that can be a benefit to those seeking outlets and answers.
It is highly unlikely I’ll ever inspire anyone with my athletic feats of greatness.  I don’t win races.  I don’t break records.  Most of my adventures are contrived and often my suffering could easily be avoided with a phone call or simply stopping the activity I’m in.  So what if I don’t give up on a solo trail run?  Does anyone else in the world care if I ran fifteen or only thirteen miles the other day?  Nope.  But if I set a goal and reach the goal there is value.  What kind of goals am I setting and for what purpose?  Do those goals benefit me, and am I focused on gleaning the right type of benefits?  Beyond that do my ambitions benefit anyone else?  Do any of the benefits outweigh the costs?
I guess these are the questions I have really tried to ask and answer in my book, but I don’t feel like I have done so effectively.  That’s what I want to go back and do.
Doing research for my book

4 comments:

  1. As Brian Koppleman says, be ruthless in your editing. I know where you are coming from and I am struggling with the same rewriting/editing my own novel. Mine is semi-autobiographical but still fictional. I know exactly what you mean when you say you want to focus on the bright times but sill show the ups and downs. I think you will be much happier with the final result and you will inspire those of us who are middle or back of the pack. :) I can't wait to read it when you are done, but don't rush it, give it the time and attention it deserves.

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    1. Thanks Daniel! I appreciate the encouraging words!

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  2. Chris, Send it over to me if you want me to read it again. No problem......

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    1. Will do! I'm shooting to have it rewritten by the end of September

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