This week I welcome author Christina Bergling to Steel City Intrigue. Like me, she’s a runner who finds that the act of pounding the pavement compliments the writing process. I’ve often said that running has helped my writing, but Christina believes her writing (or thinking about writing) helps her keep running, when her body wants to quit. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s hear from Christina.
The Writer’s Escape
My feet collide with the pavement below, sending ripples of impact up from my running shoes through my engaged legs and into my heaving chest. I can feel my pulse throbbing through my temples as my body temperature radiates into my face. I feel the sweat sliding down my skin, enveloping me in my own heat.
The acid permeates my pumping muscles, spreading and tingling. The exhaustive ache grows heavier until I feel like lead is packing my quads, weighting my ankles. My abdominals begin to weaken; my spine wilts inward. I feel every step in the miles behind me and dread those in the miles remaining. My brain concentrates on keeping the legs moving, keeping the stride consistent. Run, just keep running.
The thoughts begin to move over my mind, like waves washing up on a shore.
I think I’m getting nauseous.
I’m going to walk.
Just for a minute. Just a little break.
I ignore the feeble pleas of the flesh, the traitorous ideas coming from the back of my mind. I tighten my form, keeping it slow and steady, methodical against the revolt in my nerves. I put the word into my mind: NO. No stopping.
I force my eyes to see the scenery moving slowly around me. I look at the foothills draped in cityscape spilling out. I watch the deer watching me, chewing grass unimpressed as I plod past. I see the sun begin to disappear behind the jagged edge the mountains cut into the sky. I acknowledge the beauty, yet the appreciation gets washed away in my body’s clamoring.
My consciousness flounders against the edges of my mind. Colliding with the sides, trapped by the nagging of the incoming physical stimuli that seems to sing in symphony for surrender.
I take a deep breath and permit that door in my mind to open, allow my perception to straddle the running flesh and spill into the volumes of realms tucked behind reality. I greet the characters of my own creation as they speak to me in the dialogue I have crafted. I find them in suspended animation in the scene where I last abandoned them, waiting for me to resuscitate them back into action.
I forsake the cries of my weary muscles and allow them to operate on autopilot while my mind wanders a parallel plane of fantasy. Instead of the whine of my joints, I hear the narrative start to pour over my brain. The words form effortlessly and perfectly. I repeat them over and over, attempting to brand them into my memory as the float takes over.
As the endorphins and euphoria replace my pain at the conclusion of the run, as I find myself smiling dumbly as I continue to pour sweat, I grasp at the trails of the sentences once pounding in my mind. I jot down the writing best accomplished in the freedom and altered mental state of running.
Thanks to Christina for stopping by! Her books are available on Amazon and through other retailers.
J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.
An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.
In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered. When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.
And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology