mississippi river road path
I used today’s run to complete my assignment for my poetry class by doing one of Bernadette Mayer’s experiments from Please Add to the List. Here’s what I posted for my class:
Inspired by Mayer’s suggestion on page 10: “Attempt tape recorder work. That is, recording without a text, perhaps at specific times.”
During a 3 mile run, I recorded my thoughts as they occurred to me by pulling out my iPhone mid-run and speaking into it using the Voice Memos app. Total recording time: 4 minutes and 16 seconds. Total run/walk time: 30 minutes.
Un-edited transcript from voice memos recording:
Pre-run. The chattering of the birds. I’d really like to learn all the different bird sounds and I’d like to be able to identify them but I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to because that’s just not something that I remember. But it made me think about how, when I try to focus on something and reflect, how overstimulated I get by the experience.
At the beginning of my run, just as I try to steady my breath, I try to calm my mind.
Mid-run. Attempting to formulate thoughts into words that I can speak without breathing too heavily. It’s a good test.
It’s the first day of spring, but it looks like late fall. I love running this time of year when the trees are bare. No leaves. And you can see to the other side.
Still feeling a bit self-conscious talking into this phone. Wondering what people think if they see me. Also, thinking too much about what I’m saying and whether or not it’s thoughtful or clever or deep, all of which it is not.
I always forget to remember: if when you’re running, you don’t feel the wind in one direction, when you turn around to run back, it will be in your face.
The wind makes so many different sounds. A whoosh through my ears. A sizzle in the trees. I wish I could figure out how to express it and capture those sounds in words.
Familiar landmarks: the fluorescent yellow cross-walk sign at 38th. I wonder how many times I’ve run this this winter.
2 and a half miles in. Feeling very warm and over-dressed, which I shouldn’t be surprised by but am because I was so cold earlier today walking home.
Just ran by a single black glove in the middle of the path. Wondering who it belongs to and what the story behind it is.
Just encountered a biker biking with no hands on the handlebars. I never understand how people can do that.
Just finished my run. Wanted to capture the sounds of all the birds I’m hearing. I think Scott says those are chickadees. What other birds am I hearing?
One possible poem:
As I start my run,
I work to steady my breath
and to calm my mind
I’m definitely self-conscious pulling out my phone and talking into it. Also self-conscious because I know that I’m recording everything I say and typing it up. I’m hoping that once I get into to it more, I might be able to record thoughts as they happen, not thoughts that I’m attempting to craft into clever or coherent ideas. But I like this experiment as a way to help me express how I feel/what I think when I’m running and as a way to develop a relationship between running and writing.
I want to try this experiment again and maybe experiment with it even more. Possible variations:
- Run one mile and then, while walking for 30 seconds, talk about what I experienced and thought about while running. Repeat at least 6 times.
- While running, speak into the phone in regular intervals (every 1 or 2 or 3 minutes?) even if I don’t think I have anything to day. Do this on a long run that is at least 90 minutes in duration.
- While running, speak into the phone whenever I feel moved to do so. Do this on a long run.
Question: Does the recording of my thoughts count as writing or is it merely the raw material to be crafted into something more polished?