Enjoying What You Do

Why am I doing this?

And by that, I mean the blog—not any of the deeper philosophical/existential questions one might want to ask.

There are a few reasons, which I’ll get to, but despite the last sentence I’d like to start with the most existentially important.

Julia Child

This is not Meryl Streep.

I recently finished the book Julie & Julia, which is about a woman (Juile’s) quest to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and along the way find meaning in her life, become famous, learn important life lessons, blah blah blah. As you may be able to tell, I didn’t love it.*

But the book did end really well. And that’s not a sarcastic, “the best part of the book was the ending because it meant that I could stop reading the damn thing” statement. I genuinely did like one of her final passages, about how joy is the foundation that nice things like confidence and good luck are built on.**

I’m in the early phases of working on a series of posts about science, information, and inspiration, the primary thrust of which is that just about everything that anyone says is utter bullshit. And even I have to admit that’s a fairly bleak sentiment. (In my defense, I will also ruminate on the remarkable coping mechanisms we humans have, so it’s not all a death march through a woodworking trade show in Atlanta in August.***) But well before I get to that, I want to make clear: I’m writing about obstacle course racing because I like it.

I mean, I’m also a writer—both professionally and in the sense that writing about things is sometimes how I process them—and I would be pretty stoked if this blog turned into a book or something else that I could earn some cash off of****, but if that doesn’t happen I won’t be too bothered. I’m a writer who doesn’t enjoy writing, mostly, but I have enjoyed writing the blog. It’s a subject I’m interested in, and there’s nobody who’s going to yell at me over some detail that ticks off some high mucky-muck, and I can write to amuse myself (and hopefully others) with absurdist flights of fancy or perpetual footnoting***** or piles of clauses that nevertheless still parse.

That first point, liking the subject, is the most important.

Jack Dee

Famous dour person Jack Dee. Twitter thinks I’m British, but I’m not. I just watch a lot of British television.

When I get dour here—and I assume I will, since it’s kind of a default setting for me in 3DNonCyberSpace—I hope that you’ll remember that I am writing the blog to celebrate obstacle course racing, not denigrate it.

It’s a joyous place, the OCR world. At least for me, so far. It’s early days, but it may even turn out that I’ve done found my tribe.******* Even if not, I’m really happy with the obstacle course races I’ve done, and I’m really excited about the ones that are coming up. And that, more than the prospect of riches that I’m sure the inspirational book I spotted that led me to start this blog******** would generate, is why I keep doing it.

So, thanks. Is that really the conclusion to the post? I guess so. But do read through the footnotes. I’m pleased with them.


* Admittedly, I wasn’t coming into the book with a clean slate. A former boss interviewed the author after her second book came out, which he described roughly as the story of how now that she was famous she decided to cheat on her husband and he decided to be okay with it since she was famous now, all while she was learning to be a butcher. He also said that the speech she made at the event prior to said interview was as self-absorbed and dull as I, erm, think I found her book to be. I’ll stop beating up on this woman’s work now, since creating things is always a far superior act to spewing forth about how terrible those things are (unless you’re Adam Sandler), but a nice complaint session does feel good once in a while.

** I don’t completely buy that Julia Child taught her that. I think we all sense something like that innately, and we also find it nigh-on impossible to keep in mind when life treats you like shit, and I think she felt the revelation more because she needed an inspiring revelation to end the book with than because of anything that she actually felt, but it’s still a nice passage.

*** Yes, I do have personal experience. Although technically, the “death march” took place before the show, rather than during it.

**** Not at all unlike Julie & Julia, which—in addition to the fact that I had placed the maximum number of ebook holds at my library and it was available for immediate checkout—was the reason I read it.

***** R.I.P. Terry Prachett******

Terry Pratchett's sword with meteorite in it

Terry Pratchett’s meteorite-infused sword, via Discworld News (http://www.paulkidby.com/news/apr2010.html)

****** Hey, WordPress: How about a “Pratchett” theme that incorporates handy built-in footnoting, and is also made out of a meteorite?

******* Is “find your tribe” played out yet? I kind of hope so, but I’m not sure what phrasing will replace it.

******** I haven’t found it again, which is a bit of a bummer—I’d like to at least give the author credit.


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Filed under Funny, Metapost, Obstacle Course Racing

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