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hi, September. bye, September.

My boss started a new meeting process called three things. (And no, this isn’t a reference to the number of snacks I eat in every meeting. Although it could be. There was that one time I dropped an entire salad on the boardroom floor in the middle of a meeting with our whole curatorial staff and the editor of an important arts publication. I’m still embarrassed.) It’s about sharing the three projects that are top of mind at the moment.

So I’ll get to the point. Three things:


I got into Wilder -- a writing and running retreat led by former pro runner Lauren Fleshman – and leave for Maine tomorrow morning. I haven’t started packing at all and will probably spend tonight frantically throwing shit into a suitcase, but I’m beyond excited. It’s an honor to be selected as a participant.

My relationship with writing is weird. (And wasn’t that just the most profoundly literary sentence you’ve ever read in your whole life?) I love it and am terrified of it all at the same time. I want to start writing fiction again, but I still have PTSD from grad school. There’s something about creating that feels so naked and vulnerable. It’s bizarre – I have no problem making an ass out of myself in the pool (want to see me attempt the fly, anyone?) and putting in the hours for a massive goal like Ironman, but when it comes to sitting down and starting a short story (much less finishing one), I’m scared shitless.

So I’m hoping Wilder will be what I need – a way to shed the icky, competitive grad school feelings, get messy, and channel some of the same energy and passion I’ve put into triathlon, all while exploring a beautiful place (autumn in Maine!) and meeting inspiring humans. (And maybe, if I’m really lucky, some inspiring cats too – because you never know. Like my ultimate fantasy would be waking up to the sound of meowing outside my cabin and finding a tiny orange kitten who would then be my muse for the rest of the trip and then I would take her home to Minnesota and name her Merwin after W.S. Merwin – who cares if he’s a man, minor detail – and then my army of cats would become even stronger.)


I wasn’t lying about the fly. I joined a masters swim group and have officially survived Week 3 of my attempt to become a “real” swimmer. I can now not only do a flip-turn, but a backstroke flip-turn as well! However, I still resemble a dying frog during breaststroke, and I laugh hysterically when the coach asks us to do IMs. Equally hilarious: Dolphin kick with a board, a.k.a. spastic wiggling in the middle of the pool while clinging to a piece of foam. (Dear people with kids: Make them go to swim lessons so they don’t become me when they are adults.)

Full disclosure: This isn't the Phillips pool. But this is an accurate depiction of my swimming.

Oh, and inside tip: If you live in Minneapolis and are looking for a masters group that is primarily beginning-to-intermediate swimmers who are super welcoming and totally focused on learning, this is the workout for you. It’s at the brand-spanking-new Phillips Aquatic Center and only costs $30 for the entire session, which runs through Dec. 20. (For comparison, yesterday I spent $40 ordering Halloween costumes for cats, and I’m pretty sure that won’t make me a better swimmer, so $30 for masters swim is like the best deal ever.)


Is it just me, or as you get older, do you become more of an introvert? Don’t get me wrong – I still love throwing a good party (like the time we had Yia Vang from Union Kitchen come over for a cooking class and then somehow stayed up until midnight and a bottle of 1977 Port was consumed, among many other things).

But I want to leave the house less and less. (This is not helped by the fact that I recently discovered Instacart.) And now that it’s fall and the daylight is waning (I like that word – “waning”), all I think about is sleeping. (I’m also reading this book, which is basically about a woman who quits her life and sleeps for a year. My feelings on it fluctuate between “Wow, this character is remarkably flawed, with some serious psychological issues” and “Dear god, she’s a freaking genius.”)