We recently purchased the movie Forrest Gump on Blu Ray. This is a movie I was surprised that I didn’t own already. For the few that have been living in a cave or in a commune in Vermont, I’ll sum up the movie. Actually I’ll let Wikipedia do it: “The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a naive and slow-witted native of Alabama who witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century.” That is a pretty succinct summary of the plot of the film. I have come to realize that all I need to know about a person can be summed up by how they feel about Forrest Gump.
― Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent
I recently received a signed copy of Snuff by Terry Pratchett. It’s his latest book, and I had pre-ordered it before it was released. I guess that isn’t a very big deal these days because it’s easy to get a signed book from an author if you want one. I have a modest collection of signed books. I don’t collect them intentionally, but if one is available from someone who I enjoy as a writer I pick it up. This book is special to me not because it is signed, but the circumstances under which it was signed.
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to tour Kennedy Space Center. Because the Shuttle program has ended, areas like the huge Vehicle Assembly Building which had been closed to the public for many years are now open. I had mixed emotions on the tour. While I was thrilled to be able to see inside the building where Saturn rockets and Space Shuttle stacks were assembled, I was keenly aware that I was also witnessing the end. The tour guide used the past tense throughout the tour, saying things like “there is the Orbiter Processing Facility, where we used to performance maintenance on the orbiters between flights.” The Space Shuttle Endeavour was being stored in the VAB, and looked as if it should be up on cement blocks as it is being made ready for its new home in a museum. The launch platform for the Ares rocket stands unused nearby as that program was canceled. I found myself wishing deeply that I was not witnessing the beginnings of a huge outdoor museum.
Today most people in this country remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy. There will be stories on the news and on the educational channels regarding his life and death and all of them for some reason showing Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
However, there was another man called Jack who passed away on November 22nd, 1963. He created a world inhabited by talking animals, fauns and witches. A world that could be accessed in unexpected places — like a wardrobe. A world where where great truth and beauty was clothed in a deceptively simple children’s story. He was a man who spoke the simple truth about his Christian faith, and grief at the loss of his wife. The man was, of course named Clive Staples “Jack” Lewis . Who died quietly in his home, The Kilns, on November 22nd at 5:30 p.m. one week before his 65th birthday. He was a man who spoke passionately and well to his generation and to generations that have come after. So today as you hear the tributes to our fallen president remember also the man who created Narnia…
“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day.
It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'” – Peter Maher
No one really asks me why I run. I guess they pretty much assume that they know: my cholesterol, weight loss, heart health etc. All valid reasons, and certainly ones that I would list. I guess the easiest way to talk about why I run is to describe what happens on a long run. Continue reading