Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Book-giveaway Winner and Running Almost Barefoot (actually not) with Andre

Thanks to all you new blog followers/subscribers/commenters and to Julie for sending most of you my way.

Congratulations to Sylvia, who is the blog contest winner! You now own a signed copy of The Dark Divine and a matching bottle of official Dark Divine purplish (or pinkish - my family disagrees about the actual color) nail polish.

Email me at with your address so I know where to send it.

For everybody else, I'll be giving free books away about once a month this year, so keep checking back. Also, you can find The Dark Divine by Bree Despain at Borders, Barnes and Noble, The King's English Bookstore, Amazon, and elsewhere online. Ask at your local library, too, and maybe they'll order it for you if they don't have it already.


My advice for the week: NEVER RUN BAREFOOT ON A TREADMILL.

Friction burns. Duh.

Didn't think of that before I took off my running shoes at the gym and stepped on that moving belt.

Another revelation: running inside isn't inspiring. Not like running barefoot in the grass. Which puzzles me a little, since most of my writing ideas happen during exercise sessions. My favorite Albert Einstein quote on Relativity: "I thought of that while riding my bike."But I'll bet he wasn't riding a stationary bike at the gym. What is it about that environment? Too smelly? No mountains? I guess I'm not ready to move to a Wall-e-style space-shuttle world. I need my nature.

After reading Born to Run (see my review under "book reviews" in the column to the right) and running barefoot in the grass all last October, I'm a barefoot-running convert. I'm happy to bear testimony to the orthopedic benefits of barefoot running. But it's not fun in the snow.

Really. Not.

There's a reason most hard-core barefooters are Californians.

I can hear all you shoe-wearers saying to yourselves, "If God wanted us to go barefoot, he wouldn't have given us Nike."

But anyway.

So yesterday I went for a run outside in zero-drop shoes. I will explain. I took a perfectly good pair of expensive running shoes to the shoe-repair store and paid twenty bucks to have them slice out a wedge of padding on the back part of the sole, throw it away, and then glue the hacked-apart pieces back together.

The result?

Almost as good as barefoot: a five-mile run with my dog, Andre the Giant, and NO INJURIES, which is a small miracle for someone like me. Knees good, heels good, arch good, previously-injured top of foot good. Maybe that marathon is in sight after all.

 Here's the Giant:

Except Andre tripped me and I ended up sprawled on the road at one point. At least I think that's what happened. I don't think I'm that clumsy. It's all kind of a blur.

But I got my Eureka! as well: I came home and wrote about 20 pages in my poetry novel and had a brilliant revelation about how the story should progress. And it's even January, one of the most uninspiring months of the year. A miracle.

So nature inspires me. Running with the dog, too. Also, strangely, I like to write in bed. Encourages the subconscious, I guess.

What inspires your writing?


  1. Inspiration for my writing comes from watching a documentary, or going to a museum, or a gallery - when I learn something new, and I'm trying to relate it to what I already know. That's when all kinds of interesting connections and tensions emerge.

  2. I'm sorry that you got tripped up or fell or however that ended up but I'm THRILLED that you were inspired. I think it's great that you modified your shoes for something you don't just believe in but something that helps you. Way to go, Elena!

  3. Hey, I did not know that you had your shoes zero-ed out. Karl and I talked about that but have not been able to actually been able to 'sacrifice' any shoes. I am glad it works for because yes, I hate the gym too. But with the air we have been's better than nothing. I heard from Brenda that you signed up for WoS. I am really excited to be racing with lots of friends. It should be lots of fun. Oh, and my boys had a ton of fun with your kids. Tell them thanks again! Oh, and I miss the blue background. I loved that blue.

  4. Matt: I wish I could say I've ever been inspired to write a story by any one of those admirable, intellectually-stimulating things, but I'm afraid it's not true. Usually it's overhearing something somebody said at the pool that strikes me odd or funny, or listening to teenagers talk. They're such interesting creatures. But it's not exactly lofty stuff.

    L.T.: Thanks for the sympathy. I felt really stupid. Right in front of the elementary school, too.

    Sarah: they weren't very new shoes, but they're the only ones I like, so it was a bit scary. And I figure inside air has to come the from outside anyway, right?
    The kids loved coming over. They always like playing with Noah and Max. :)
    Sorry about the white background, but, well, it's January, and I need light.


Blog Archive