"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

This rough week in training

As soon as I added Olga's blog to my list, she's decided to stop writing. So did Sea Legs Girl. Hey, the rest of you, don't leave me hanging out here in the blogosphere alone!

This week's training was negatively impacted by a lot of things.

Monday: 2 miles in 19. (Bad day.)

Tuesday: 8 in 60.

Wednesday: 4 in 38. Knee pain - figures, as I sent out entries to races yesterday.

Thursday: 3.5 in 31. Ow! Ow ow ow!

Friday: 9 in 71 (Stopped early due to an embarassing problem.)

Saturday: 24 in 4:14. Very icy. Knee problems from step one.

Sunday: 8, untimed.


Bill Holm died. His funeral's in two hours and I wish I were there. I've written a few times about authors, but I knew Bill and so this is different.

When you drive out highway 68 in southwestern Minnesota, you go from one small town to another, seemingly alike, but each started by a different immigrant group, so each has its own accent, food and architecture. After my favorite, Belgian-themed Ghent, one comes to Minneota, with its Swiss chalets on the flat prairie. Just north of there is a small enclave and that's where Bill was born, where he wrote, where he died. Like when a weathered grey barn with its swayback roof is finally fallen and cleared away, there's something missing on the prairie. Bill is gone.

I stood in the fallow fields with Bill, arguing. We both would argue anything the other posited, just to see if he'd thought his point through, if he really meant it. We stood in the fields, discussing the poetic Edda, because it seemed someone should. We looked like two scarecrows, as neither of us ever seemed to buy clothes and we looked, with our long hair and beards, like brethren, if not brothers. And we were. I turned out to be a puritan Bill Holm - he smoked constantly, drank liberally, ate gluttonously, loved immensely - an impossibility, but true; Bill and I were much alike and very very different.

Bill had a love/hate relationship with his home on the prairie and thought of all it could be, whereas I thought it was complete as it was and had the same love/hate relationship with my city. He taught at Southwest State, as he needed to make money and he switched from poetry to prose because he wanted to be read. He hated that his students didn't have a passion for his class, for any class, for anything, just wanted to get a degree and get out of town, just like he wanted to do at their age.

You probably haven't heard of him before. You haven't read his books. You are the poorer for it, but your world is much richer because it once had Bill in it. You would've liked him; everyone did.

It's the end of a chapter. Time to turn the page. So long, Bill.


Matthew Patten said...

I am still here, not leaving you hanging.

It's tough to have sassy & pithy comments when you posts get esoteric :)

wildknits said...

Bill is sadly missed - whenever I read his works I hear his voice - and am glad I have had the opportunity to hear him read and have his voice internalized.

The first reading of his I attended in Duluth involved him leaning over me and asking some rhetorical question or other... he is/was a big guy, I am a smallish woman.... and then he signed my copy of Boxelder Bug Variations....

Knowing him as you did, your loss is even greater and more keenly felt I am sure. In the Wildknits household there has been much hauling out of everything by Bill Holm we own and reading poems and prose out loud (whiskey involved for some members of the household). Sad times for Minnesotans, Americans and Icelanders.

olga said...

I didn't stop, you silly, my English is so bad? I said I'll be posting when I want and what I want (what I was doing 90% anyway, with a little outside pressure occasionally). But no, you don't have to link me back, because then I'll fell the pressure all over again:)
Loved the naked girl story.

SteveQ said...

Lisa, thanks for proving me wrong; someone read Bill's books. And you're right, he was huge. I'm thinking of doing the 5K race in Minneota's Boxelder Days (which I used to think was Box Elder Bug Days).

wildknits said...

It was a lonely day at work when i heard he died... no one there knew who I was talking about. have since done my best to introduce even more people to his writing. I am fortunate: listen to MPR and Bill seemd to come to Duluth with regularity so I could hear him read at least yearly.

Introduced my kids to him way back when (they were young enough couldn't be left home alone, old enough so it was age-appropriate, kindof, to bring them along to a reading). Not real sure what they thought of him - reading, playing piano... but planted the seed for appreciation of his writing and yet another Minnesota character ;->

If the race is still happening - post it... we keep talking about heading south to explore that end of Minnesota, could provide yet another excuse.

For interesting race names: Eel Pout Peel Out (canceled this year I hear). Many of the NMTC runs (check out www.northlandrunner.com)