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?

Playing High and Dry with Sourdough

Lately I've been playing with dough. It's become a sort of a compulsion. Maybe because I'm tired of driving all the way to som...