The Summer of Run: Earned

Tonight’s essay wasn’t written. I stared at the screen for 90 minutes, trying to figure out what the hell I wanted to say. Or, more accurately, trying to figure out what the essay wanted to say. By the time I figured it out, I’d been here nearly three hours. However, the outline is complete, which means when I sit down tomorrow I’ll bang out the words.

The piece begins as I run the final ascent at Percy Warner in Nashville, Tennessee. The stories for that essay – which don’t really take place at Percy Warner — are formed, formatted, and ready. Here’s my favorite part of the drafted outline:

They reminded me of what matters in life is what is earned, not is what is given. In the early days of my recovery, as I was descending into a mental madness and falling apart in the long, dark days, the voices of these men echoed in my head. These men who, at various times in my life, I’d hated with a fiery passion were the voices reminding me that you don’t ever back down, that whatever mistakes you made can be overcome, and that you can find your own place in the world is you are willing to try. Every day. Try.

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