Start where you are and continue your own path….

Indrani - Marathon Finish at EpcotBetsy Rapoport is my friend and she is a an amazing coach for writers. I saw on Facebook where she was hosting a writing class…A Memoir writing class.

I have been longing to write my memoir. I know, I know, I don’t NEED a class…after all I write blogs and I just get an idea and begin to write, much like I am doing now.

Somehow though, when I think of writing a memoir I get all flummoxed and confused and I don’t know where to start.

So, when I saw her class offering, I jumped on it. I registered on line and I began to communicate with her about accommodations etc.

I was thrilled to get the homework list…I love homework.

And there… as I read the list, I laughed out loud.

Here is what was on the list:

  • What memoirs have you read, and what did you like about it?
  • What scares you about this class?
  • What excites you?
  • Send a sample of your writing, preferably a work in progress.

Simple enough, right? So why my outburst of laughter?

I immediately wrote an email to Betsy and it sounded a little like this…

Dear Betsy,

I have not completed a whole memoir of anyone, only bits a pieces from folks like

  • Mother Theresa
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Rosa Parks
  • Mahatma Gandhi

I tend to get bored!

I have read loads of other books. I love to read!

The thing that scares me about this class is that my life cannot fill a memoir.

The thing that excites me about this class is that my life is too much for one memoir.

I have NO unfinished works of writing, but I can start one.

Then I pressed Send.

I waited for Betsy to say something like, “you are not at all qualified for this memoir class” or “if you have not even read a whole memoir why would you expect anyone to read yours” or “perhaps you have nothing in progress because you are not a writer.”

Let me tell you why, IF she had said any of the above or worse, it would NOT have affected me in any way.

In 2003 I had decided to do an Olympic distance triathlon.

I began to search online for a trainer, one that would train a newbie triathlete and a rank beginner.

I finally found a web site that touted training beginners and  that looked promising.

I began to complete the on line form.

1. What distances do you currently swim? And how often do you swim?

My response:
I do not know how to swim competitively and I used to splash around in the pool with my kids when they were young. I know how not to drown. I have not been swimming in a very long time.

I should have added “I hate wearing a swim suit.”

2. What races have you participated in and what was your finish time?

My response:
I have not participated in any races so I do not have a finish time. I do not like to run. I like to walk a lot.

3. What cycling distances do you currently do and what is your average mph?

My response: 
I used to ride with my kids in the carrier seat about 18 years ago and still know how to ride a bike.

I figured they would see I know how to walk and I know how to ride a bike. I know many women my age who do not know how to ride bikes. I thought I was going to be just their type.

I pressed Send.

I got an e mail from someone at the site wanting to find out if I was serious about the Triathlon.  If I was why did I not insert the values they needed to create my program.
I assured them that those were indeed the facts and that I had ZERO numerical values to input.

I never heard from them again.

So I began to train on my own  and my dear friend Donna was my guide and helper and General ass kicker.

I began to walk slowly with Donna I would count the concrete squares on the path in my town to see how far I had walked.

Then one day I was able to run 5 concrete squares and then walk again.

I felt like calling the trainer to tell them how great I was doing.

I did not.

I bought a really nice bike and some of those clip in shoes and almost killed myself. I used to have to tip over onto the grass to try to get unclipped.

I got tired of falling so I went to spin class and practiced biking with my clip in shoes and also practiced clipping in and out…. but those were stationary bikes so I still almost killed myself when I began to practice on the real bike.

I tried to find a swim teacher who could teach beginners and got fired from about 3 teachers. One guy even took a video of me in the water and showed me what I looked like.

I looked like a spider, I had arms and legs all over the place.

That video was not pretty because I had this image of myself slicing thru water as I had seen Mark Spitz do in the Olympics.

Also I tried to wear cute swim suits with frills and decorations all over and was told that those suits would cause drag in the water. I knew what they knew… my unstreamlined body was causing drag in the water, not these three cute frills on the suit.

I did not give up.

I continued on my very unorthodox way of training.

Six months after attempting to engage the online trainer, I completed my Olympic Distance Triathlon.

I was dead last.

I never gave up.

In the hotel lobby that night, I heard a seasoned triathlete say, “man I got out of the lake, I got kicked in the face and got pissed off!”

I thought, man I never even thought of getting out of the lake and I wondered if I was the spider who had kicked him in the face.

Start where you are…. it’s your only choice.

See you at your finish line, I will be smiling and waiting for you, no matter how long it takes.


Love & light,


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