I haven’t been running much at the cabin in the woods. I gave up after a suicidal jog along a loopy stretch of road where monstrous pickup trucks Tokyo-drifted around the curves. This afternoon I drove to a path along the Scioto River, and I thought I’d run an easy three or four miles. Although it had only been a week since my last run, my body creaked and juddered. Even worse, I was bored out of my skull, checking my watch every two or three minutes and wondering if I should start smoking again.

The body remembers slowly and forgets very quickly. This lesson also applies to my writing. A day or two passes without working on my book, and my brains start panting and wheezing the next time I sit at my desk. Why are you making up stories? Let’s do something else instead. The daily routine isn’t poetic or even interesting but, for me at least, there are no flashes of insight, no white-hot burst of motivation that fuels me until dawn. God knows I’ve waited long enough for these things to show up. From now on, it’s just a steady grind.