Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Children's Literature...and Ultrarunning

Late posting today, sorry, was away for a long weekend.  More on that probably tomorrow.

Being married to an elementary school teacher, and having 3 grandchildren, I love me some children's literature.  R.L. Stine is an icon.  From the Writer's Almanac, 8 Oct 2010:

It's the birthday of young adult novelist R.L. [Robert Lawrence] Stine, born in Bexley, Ohio (1943). He quit his job as a social studies teacher to become a freelance writer, and at first he specialized in humorous books for kids. But his career really took off when he started writing scary stories for young adults. By the early 1990s, Stine's books were selling about a million copies per month. To keep up with demand, he had to write 20 pages a day, finishing a book every two weeks. His Fear Street series was the first modern book series for children that sold equally well to both boys and girls.

Some critics have said that his books aren't good for children, but R.L. Stine said, 'I believe that kids as well as adults are entitled to books of no socially redeeming value.'

That whole notion of doing things "of no socially redeeming value" ought to resonate with us folks who spend hours running in the woods.  Thinks about that again--we spend hours (days, sometimes) just a-runnin' in the woods.  And it's normal to us.

This idea sorta goes back to a David Blaikie quote that most Ultrarunners have seen and know, if you do any Ultra-related reading. Even if you are inclined to skip over this quote, having seen it many times before, you should read it again right now, carefully:

"Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense. The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being -- a call that asks who they are ..."

I'm an ultrarunner, that's who and what I am.


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