Danskin triathalon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hello everyone!
Well, here's team Firefly on the day of the big Danskin triathalon. That's Emily on the left (she was the team swimmer, who started the whole thing), Lisa (the bicyclist) in the middle, and yours truly, the runner, on the right.
How many of you have been to your local Danskin triathalon? I had never been to Seattle's before, and I'm thrilled to be able to tell you all about it. First of all, like a lot of triathalons, the Danskin is a charitable endeavor. All of our entry fees on Sunday helped out our local foodbank and--one of my favorites--Susan G. Komen. The money raising is fabulous and makes it all that much easier to donate one's time. I have to tell you, though, it may have been the connection to Susan G. Komen that got me to run, but once I got there, it was about something unexpected. Girl Power.
I can hardly find the words to describe how moving and powerful this event was. There were five thousand women competing in the triathalon--which was a half mile swim in open water, a twelve mile bike ride, and a 5k run. Some, like us, divided the work and formed a team, and some brave souls did it all by themselves.
Here's what was so amazing and moving. During my run, there were always women in front of me. (No jokes about it being a reflection of my speed). We all started at different times---whenever the bike ride was done, the runner started--so it wasn't really a head on competition with any other woman. It was really a personal thing. You against the clock, the weather, the fear, the hope, everything. All along the route, there were people cheering you on, clapping, telling you to keep trying. Anyway, the point I was going to make was about the women in front of me. Time and time again I found myself looking at the back of a pink t-shirt that read: The miracle is not that I finished...the miracle is that I began.
I kept staring at those words, all day. I saw the t-shirt on young women, old women...women wearing large sized t-shirts and ones so tiny I couldn't have worn them at twelve. We "triathletes" came in all sizes and shapes, all levels of fitness, all ages. There was even a blind woman running the course with me, using her cane. What we had in common was that we were all women, sharing this special day together, doing something that we believed in. We were probably all afraid that we weren't going to finish or that we were going to embarrass ourselves or let our teammates down, but we did it anyway. It was so amazingly empowering. I was so proud to be there, even if I wasn't doing the "whole" thing and even though my time was hard competitive (I came in at #1600). The point was, ultimately, exactly as the t-shirt said: I began, therefore I won.
It's an important life lesson, that's for sure. The miracle is not that we finish something that scares us; the point is that we begin it. So that's my little soapbox for the day. It's never too late to try something new, to reach out and embrace a challenge.
And speaking of challenges, I am thrilled to tell you all that on Friday, I started the book for 2012. I wrote five pages. That probably doesn't sound like much, and in the great scheme of things, it certainly isn't. Over the course of writing and re-writing a novel, I usually rack up at least 1500 pages. I write, delete, edit, prune, re-do, move around. There is endless putting together of words. And five pages is a drop in the bucket.
Except for the first five pages. Those are a triumph somehow. I don't know if other authors feel like I do, but every time I set out to start a new novel, I wonder if I will be able to do it again, if in some way I have been lucky before, divinely gifted, and now the real world will settle heavily down on my shoulders and trap me. I wonder if I have the ability to tell the story that's in my head...or worse yet, I discover that there is no story in my head. I panic and flail and pray for inspiration, and when it comes, it is slow and unsteady and uncertain. I research and write synopses and pray some more. I obsess and bother my girlfriends, pitching endless story ideas, until one by one they throw up their hands and say "I give up."
And then, one day, it is just there. The seedling. I nurture it and baby it and draw it out of the dark ground until finally I can see the whole thing. But even so, it is scary to begin. I pace and avoid and do laundry and run. Then I remember that my deadline is approaching and I throw in the towel. I get out my yellow legal pad, my favorite pen, and I write the first sentence. By the end of the first page, I am myself again. Words are an extension of my soul, and as they flow, I find myself smiling; happy, hopeful. I realize that I CAN do it again. At least this once.
That's worth a mai tai on the beach, don't you think?
Now, I have a question for you guys. I have been wondering how many of you are also on facebook. It's obviously a lot less personal than the blog, but it's also a lot more interactive. So which is it, ladies? What is your favorite way to stay in touch with your favorite authors?
Well, that's it for me today. But I will tell you all to check back to the blog--or facebook--in the next few days, because I'm going to post the cover of my new book. But just for you, here's a sneak peek: the title is NIGHT ROAD. What do you think?


Blogger princessapr said...

Congratulations regarding the triathalon! That's quite an accomplishment.

I can't wait to see the new cover. You've been quite fortunate with your covers. The title sounds interesting, can't wait to read more - or the whole thing! Wow, 2012, that's crazy.

August 18, 2010 at 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Kristin C., Mesa, AZ said...

What an awesome accomplishment and experience for you and all the women who began. I've been thinking that I'd like to participate in a 5k or something... just haven't committed.

I think somewhere on the blog or Facebook you recommended The Passage. Just finished it. Excellent. And I want more...

I like facebook because I follow you and other favorite authors and artists AND my friends.

Eagerly anticipating your 2011 book!! You had me at 'new book' but I do like the title!

August 18, 2010 at 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was so happy reading your latest blog. I am an aspiring writer and feel the same way you do about can I do this again, not having any ideas, and then part of the story develops and slowly over time it grows. I have often wondered if I am good enough to be a writer, but hearing that your process is similar to mine gives me hope. I am wondering, how to you come up with your titles? I have a hard time choosing something creative. I can't wait to read Night Road!
A true fan, Michelle Hunt

August 18, 2010 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

Congratulations on running the triathalon! You're still high from the event! What wonderful messages you had to deliver about women and the event.

Although, I found it interesting how quickly your tone changed when you mentioned writing the first five pages of your 2012 book. What happened to -- "The miracle is not that I finished...the miracle is that I began." Sorry, couldn't resist! You're nurturing your seedling and I think it's exciting you've begun. I enjoy listening to your excitement, frustration and joy as you write.

Can't wait to see the cover of your 2011 book -- Night Road leaves a lot to my imagination. I'm clueless to what your next novel is about.

I really hate to see you give up the blog -- there is an intimacy and sisterhood among the Fireflies that isn't there on facebook. We have all laughed, supported and prayed for each other over time. I love the link to the charity and the tribute page. There is substance in this little nook that is lost on facebook. Yes, you have a larger fan following and that may be more worth your time and energy. However, there are relationships here on your blog, and I would feel sad to lose them. I respond occasionally on your facebook, but really doubt my entry is read.

Know your time is valuable and you'll have to do what you feel is best for you. I do know I will continue to read your books as I have done since your began.



August 18, 2010 at 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Thanks Kristin! Love you so much! "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it." What an inspiration!

OOOh, Night Road. Now that'll be really cool.

August 18, 2010 at 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Jo said...

Given my seasoned Road Tripper status and fascination with all things spooky- Night Road sounds like my kind of book! =)

I can't tell you how many times I've told myself I was going to try running. I have every confidence that were I to ever actually get moving it would become something I love. But every time I tell myself yeah you can do it!- the doubts start creeping in and the excuses start piling up. I don't have anything to wear, it's crazy hot outside, who has time, I'll look like an idiot and most paralyzing of all: I'll never make it the whole way.

It never occured to me till today that I don't have to. Who says I have to run a whole mile the first time out? I don't even have to run around the whole block! I just have to get started and see what happens. I can definitely do that!

Now.. where did I put those tennis shoes?? =)

August 19, 2010 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

April---It is amazing to be working for 2012, isn't it? I'm just glad to be working on a new book!!! What do you think of the NIGHT ROAD cover?

August 19, 2010 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Glad to see you on both pages!! I'm glad you loved the Passage, too. Can't wait for the sequel!

August 19, 2010 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


All writers face the same traumas--sometimes it's hard to come up with ideas, sometimes it's hard to actually write it, and sometimes it's so great it's like flying. Those are the days that keep us going. So if you believe in it and in yourself, you have what it takes. Good luck! BTW, as to titles, I am actually not very good at them. Fortunately I have good friends and a great editor. Together, we usualy come around to something...hopefully its perfect. I do, however, really love the title NIGHT ROAD. I think it's really evocative. As is the gorgeous cover. Thanks for weighing in...

August 19, 2010 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


LOL!!! Way to recognize the theme in the blog piece that I didn't even notice. You're absolutely correct that beginning is the most important moment of the whole journey. And yes, it IS a miracle to simply start down the road.

And I thank you for your comments about facebook vs. the blog. I know a lot of people are worried that I'm going to quit blogging because facebook is faster and easier and for me, as for everyone, life is moving at super sonice speed. WORRY NOT. This blog introduced me to all of you and to the internet--and I'm in for the long haul. I LOVE talking to all of you, and the blog is really a place for developing deeper conversations and relationships. Keep reading and I'll keep writing!

August 19, 2010 at 11:59 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I am so with you, girl. I started running about four years ago--at 46. The first day was an absolute HORRORFEST. I could hardly get to my own mailbox--and it is not that far away.

The magic came when I went out the next day and the next and the next. Don't get me wrong. I don't run far, and I don't run fast. Somedays I get tired and I walk. The point is...you guessed it, to start. I tried to run one hundred yards more each day. That's it. So keeping looking for those tennis shoes and give it a try. We'll be pulling for you!

August 20, 2010 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

Wow, Patricia reflects practically all of the thoughts I had as I was reading this post! Thanks Patricia, maybe now I can be pithy!
I'm on facebook, but rarely post. I find it too impersonal. Maybe I'm just not hooked up with the right "friends" but it doesn't feel like people interact so much as call out where they're going as they run out the door. It's a good platform for pithy practice though.
Slightly off topic, I wanted to mention I went to the 'conclusion' party of Leatherby Library's Summer Reading program, and shy though I am, I actually found the courage to blurt out that my favorite book of the 9 I read was "Winter Garden". I even elaborated -- although very briefly (like I said, I'm shy). So, I mentioned on this blog a few of the books I was reading but let me just refresh you memory that this actually elevates you, Kristin, over Nathaniel Hawthorn, Edith Warton, and Henry James...even though I actually love those old fashioned classics!
Back to the subject(s) at hand, as you talk about beginning your 2012 book, Kristin, I'm reminded of the first time I drew something where I thought, "Wow, really? *I* did that? How did I do that?" There is something magically 'other worldly' about the creative process. I only tap it now and again. YOU, Kristin, on the other hand, are in constant contact!

August 25, 2010 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

Thanks Lynn -- I cheated. Very timely subject and I can tell it will be good.

Tracie -- Can't believe you read Edith Wharton. I don't know anyone who reads her. Have you read her collection of short stories -- particularly "Roman Fever?" My husband's uncle Robert Ward, is a well-known composer, of opera. He did a short opera based on Edith's story, "Roman Fever." He's most known for his opera, "The Crucible," based on the work of Arthur Miller. He won a Pulitzer for it. If you read Roman Fever, you might check out his opera, written for PBS. It's in English and quite good.


August 25, 2010 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

I might have to start this with the same words you did. "I cheated". The Wharton story I read was that, oh-so-short, "Ethan Frome". The book was cool though because it started with a prologue that was a letter written by her explaining how writing the story came about...then it was followed by letters to her friends and one to her publicist asking how they could have only sold 400 copies when all of her friends were reporting it no longer available--all copies had been bought up, and then letters from her friends, one of which was congratulatory--praising her success with Ethan from Henry James, which I thought was so cool since I'd just finished a book by him, and then articles and critiques of story and author. To be fair to her, I hope to read "Age of Innocence" for a better feel of her talent. I'd noticed within the first few pages of Ethan that she used terms that Nathaniel Hawthorn had in the Seven Gables and wondered if those were just words in common use at the turn of the 19th to 20th century...like a character's "mien" was referred to in both stories...but then when I got to the studies, she was being accused of being a Hawthorn impressionist.
Despite the kind of morbid plot, I loved her descriptions--her poetic depictions of landscapes & ability to describe characters minutely through their actions.
Now, I thought "Ward" was hubby's first name and that "T" of your moniker was the initial of your last name. But no? Is Ward his last name? I only ask because my Aunt married a Harry Ward (Newport Beach, CA)and wouldn't it be fun if they were related? He's passed on now though.
I vaguely remember the movie, "The Crucible", with Daniel Day-Lewis. At any rate, I think I'll have to read "Roman Fever" and then look for the opera!
Take care everyone--sorry I reverted to anti-pithy!

August 26, 2010 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

*shudder* I think I still have nightmares of Henry James. :) Each week, B&N has a different selection of free classics so I was going to pick up some as this was the first week I heard about it. Of course, I glory in the fact that I get to choose the literature instead of having to read it like in college. I majored in English so I could read my way through college. :)

August 27, 2010 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

I might have to start this the same way you did, Patricia, "I cheated". It was only that oh-so-short "Ethan Frome", but this particular version was very cool as it included letters to and from Edith and her publisher and friends, and several crrtiques then and now. The plot was a bit dire but I loved that her landscape and character depictions reminded me of the other two I'd just read; Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James. I'd wanted to read more for a better feel of her style and subject choices, so I'll have to look for that collection of short stories--and then the opera!
I remember that movie, "The Crucible" with Daniel Day-Lewis. That story wasn't too cheery either.
I'd thought your hubby's first name was Ward. It's his (your)last? I only ask because my Dad's sister was married to a Harry Ward (until he passed away), here in Newport Beach, CA. How fun if they'd been somehow related.
Sorry folks, that I reverted to anti-pithy.
Take care and blessings everyone,

August 27, 2010 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Patricia T. said...

April and Tracie-- Henry James was challenging -- I agree. I read him in college too.

Find it interesting that Henry James and Edith Wharton, were very close friends. Wharton definitely was challenging the mores of society. I liked "Age of Innocence." That was an interesting time period -- a pardigm shift for women. And, so much of what Wharton wrote reflected her own life and travels all over Europe. She was not conventional in her personal life -- she had affairs and divorced her husband. Their books make me reflect on the lives of my own grandparents (1890s).

Tracie -- My husband's middle name is Ward (his mother's maiden name.) He's always gone by Ward. Robert Ward is his uncle -- he will turn 93 on Sept. 13. He has always composed American contemporary operas and orchestral pieces. The Salem witch hunts were a dark period in our history. "The Crucible" won best contemporary opera in a major European competition in 2008 -- and he traveled with the cast and crew to Hungry. He is still composes.

The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra featured a piano concerto and symphony in March 2009. He came here for the performance and he talked to the audience, participated in rehersals, and did many interviews. He is so vital and always ends our conversations with , "Isn't life exciting."

Sorry, wrote a book again.


August 30, 2010 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Tracie Lynne Hall said...

Well don't *I* feel stupid?! When I hit "submit" on that August 26th post I got an error that said something like "your URL is too long" (I hadn't used one--not intentionally anyway) so I figured the post had been lost. I waited a day, hoping I was wrong and not sure if I could remember what I'd written. When it didn't show up in a day, it didn't occur to me that it might be because Kristin has a life outside of moderating the blog comments, and I wrote it again. Now it occurs to me that, more likely, I didn't see it because it wasn't the last post as I'd expected it to be. How stupid that the duplicate seems to be my response to April...like a record stuck in a grove--the proverbial "broken record".

Anyway, I enjoyed the one I read of Henry's. It was "Daisy Miller". I'd have preferred a happier ending, true, but I enjoy all that society stuff. I probably wouldn't like classics so much if I'd had to read them in school, because I've never been a speedy reader and in school everything always felt like it was in hyper-speed--but I'm kinda sad I missed class discussions on the life and times of these authors, their styles, etc.
What April? FREE classics??? I wonder if *my* B&N is doing that. I'll definitely be investigating!

Ahh, it all makes sense to me now (Ward's name)! He reminds me a bit of my Dad. Dad became 92 in July and he too appears to be prepared for several more laps and also all bubbly about life's joys. His father-in-law is 93, and the three of them (step mother is the third) just started taking some "potion" to increase longevty---but that's all another story....Besides the age, the music thing reminds me of him also, although Ward sounds much more accomplished.
I'd always thought Mom was the vocalist, having studied under Marguerite Haymes (Dick Haymes mother) and Dad was the pianist, but I just learned that Dad studied voice under Malvina Fox Dunn (a voice coach for MGM) and was on his way to his last lesson on December 7th, 1941, when a little radio announcement about Pearl Harbor preempted his launch into stardom (or so goes the assumption). I get these little gems of history on occasion, when something I've e-mailed him reminds him of them.
It's something close to sad how much I probably don't know at this late date that I might not be too far from losing forever, if that potion isn't effective.

Lunch is almost over. Lucky for you all, I gotta run.

Thanks for not calling me names for my duplicate posting mistake, and these lengthy ramblings!



August 31, 2010 at 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Diane Carney said...

Dear Kristen...I first discovered your writing when I picked up a copy of "Firefly Lane" because the idea of a story of long-time friends really appealed to me (my oldest long-time friendship began when we were 9 .. we are now 72!) Needless to say, I was not disappointed AND I was hooked! Of the 18 books listed in the front of my latest read (Winter Garden) I have read the last 12 plus Once in Every Life. I only wish I were as articulate as you so as to convey how deeply your stories affect me. No matter the subject, there is always SOMETHING in them that speaks to my soul. You have been blessed with an incredible gift and I, for one, am grateful that you said "Yes I will, Lord" and shared your gift with the world. Keep up the good work. I look forward with much anticipation to NIGHT ROAD...you have peaked my curiosity as to the subject matter. Thank you, sincerely, Diane Carney

September 7, 2010 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger LindsLovesMiles said...


I just finished Firefly Lane. What a wonderful story. I blog too and wrote about it today. (LindsLovesMiles.blogspot.com) I would love for you to come to the Richmond area to speak. Your writing is beautiful and congratulations on your athletic achievements!

September 17, 2010 at 5:38 PM  

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