Three Strides Before the Bathroom

New Surviving At the Day Job Technique: I've found that if I slip a book into a file folder and carry it purposefully into the ladies room, I can perch on the toilet for a good ten minutes of reading time before my feet fall asleep and the chick in the neighboring stall who is actually using the bathroom for its intended purposes gets suspicious. (HARD-WON TIP: DO NOT ALLOW SKIRT EDGES TO FALL INTO TOILET.)

Three Strides Before the Wire (you must read it. Must! Caveat-- beware of glaring errors and poor editing; still, it's worth reading) led to this discovery. I am stricken by Chris Antley's endless cycle of destruction and rebirth. I think I'd like to remember him as most saw him for the first time: crouching down beside lovely Charismatic on the home stretch of the Triple Crown, cradling his mount's injured leg.

The more I read about jockeys, the more connection I feel between racing and writing. Most people I know are baffled by jockeys: "These guys are crazy. Why in God's name do they put their bodies through such torture for such a chancy, dangerous sport?" But I nod along with them. Pollard, Woolf, Antley, Gary "Spill? What Spill?" Stevens, I know them all: If writing were about starving myself while controlling a half-ton animal nine times a day, I'd weigh about four pounds by now.

September 27, 2003

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