Skepticism, Faith and Seeing

Seeing What Others Don’t

Because I am known to be an artist people aren’t surprised when I see things like patterns, details, connections, concepts, etc. that they don’t.  They just chalk it up to ‘that’s because he is an artist.’  But I think people get it backwards.  Seeing all those things is what made me an artist, not the other way around.

Not Saying No

Why did I and other artists see those things when others didn’t?  Because we didn’t say ‘no’.  We don’t dismiss an idea because it is not approved. We don’t dismiss a vision because it doesn’t make sense. We don’t dismiss a connection between things because the connection has never been made before. In other words we don’t follow rules.

Rule Followers, Rule Breakers

Wait, I take that back. We don’t follow some rules but we do follow others. That is why some artists are radicals and shock everyone (they follow very few rules) and other artists are the darlings of the rule followers (because they only break very insignificant rules, if any).

How Radical Are You?

in the context of the quote and illustration above you might say the skeptic is the radical, right? She broke the rules of her religion, no longer believing what her religion says she must believe.  But if that skeptic merely exchanges one set of rules, the religious ones, for the skeptics’ set of rules, how much has really changed? How much has she really seen in a new or fresh way?  It might appear she has at first since obviously there is a breaking away from a set of rules, but then she becomes as doctrinaire as she ever was as a religious follower and nothing really has changed.

Truly Free

The truly free person is the one who holds their ideas and rules lightly. It’s not that they never hold on to them but they aren’t bound to them to such an extent that they don’t see beyond them. They are willing to consider new and strange ideas, issues, images without judgment beforehand.  They are willing to see connections that aren’t immediately apparent.


Drawing and commentary © 2018 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

“Skepticism is like faith: both are substitutes for seeing.” – Bert Hellinger, 1925 – not dead yet, German Psychotherapist


Medusa Walks the Runway

The Adventures of Medusa

Medusa Walks the Runway

Medusa decided she wanted to be a model.  She went to Stone Mountain Modeling School and got a job as a runway model. She walked for the famous House of Gorgon but wore an outfit no one really liked. They sat stone-faced as she walked by and, Medusa being Medusa, you know what happened next.

The End

Genius and Stupidity – Orange Man #7

Words Matter

When I was in my divorce years (the 2 years leading up to it) I remember how tentative my wife was in what she would say. She would say something like ‘Just because I am thinking about it, doesn’t mean I am going to act on it’.  Then a few weeks or months later that thing she was just casually considering became real.  Then it happened again and then again. Pretty soon I realized something.  Some things are too radical for one to consider until they get used to the idea.

Little by Little

‘I will never get divorced’ becomes the mantra because getting a divorce is just too radical. Then after a series of mental and verbal negotiations with oneself it becomes “Divorce is ok if…”.  Then more negotiations and “Divorce is what needs to happen.”  It takes time but eventually people get there. But not at first. They talk themselves into it. I am not saying it’s wrong to talk yourself into it, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But it is how the process works because words and thoughts matter.

The Danger

That is the dangerous power of continually thinking negatively in one direction. You become what you think and say. If you fight back blindly against any slight without thinking about if there is validity or something to learn from that slight, then eventually you do it automatically with minimal choice in the matter. Like a dog trained to fight, that becomes your natural and unthinking reaction.

It’s sometimes called being stupid.


Drawing and commentary © 2018 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein


Spring Marathon Training – Weeks 2,3 and 4

Before I forget

The day before December’s Dallas Half Marathon that I ran with my daughter we went to the runner’s expo. There we were lucky enough to meet Shalane Flanagan, the recent winner of the 2017 New York Marathon. What a thrill it was to meet her! Turns out her husband has just started a job with Fleet Feet in Portland, Oregon so we had something to talk about. She is definitely a big running hero of mine. The woman next to her, my wife Linda, is an even bigger hero to me for always supporting my running activities!

Shalane Flanagan, 2017 NYC Marathon winner

Food Fight

Man, time flies when you have guests for the holidays! Now I remember why I don’t like early spring marathons. Not only are you training in the cold and dark but you are balancing it with a ton of holiday activities.  The result for me hasn’t been too bad on the running front. I pretty much kept on schedule with maybe 2 skipped runs over 3 weeks. The weekly mileage isn’t high, but it really doesn’t need to be quite yet.

However, on food front? That exploded. Family dinners after lunches after breakfasts after dinners of high calories, high carbs, high sugar. Could I have avoided it all? Sure, but I didn’t. I wanted the ham and turkey and mashed potatoes and cookies and salty snacks and pies and… you get the idea. So, basically from Thanksgiving to New years I gained 5+ lbs. But, I had already gained about 5 from my eating a lot during my fall marathon training so now I am about 7-8lbs over my maximum best running weight and I can feel the difference.

In cliché fashion I waited until New Years Day arrived and then I avoided the potatoes and dessert and bread and Fritos and chips and salsa and stuck to meat and veggies AND I went for a run in very cold temps.

Cruella de Winter

It is cruel to call this a spring training session. Week 2 the temperatures weren’t too bad, but the week before Christmas and the week after were REALLY cold. How cold? I’ve worn three layers on top with a wool base layer, two on the bottom, two pairs of gloves (one set heated), wool socks, ski cap and buff for the last 4 runs, that’s how cold. My cut off for comfort is right around 32º. Below that and it becomes a challenge. It doesn’t mean I don’t do it, I still do. I just have a harder time running is all. Add in the Oklahoma wind and drop the temps to 15º and it can be pretty brutal. This is especially true if you have to run alone, as I did several times recently.  ‘Misery loves company’ is absolutely true when it comes to running. If I have to run when it’s 5º wind chill, I want my friends suffering alongside me!

Coming Up

My longest run so far this season has been 14 miles, which isn’t a stretch considering most weekends since October I have been doing mileage close to that. But in two weeks I will move up to 16 and i will start to hit the meat of the training. I am looking forward to it.

My goal marathon is the Oakland Marathon in California. It has a wicked elevation profile to it (13 miles up, 13 miles down basically) so I am going to be doing a lot of hill workouts this season to help prepare me. I also looked up the average temperature on March 25th over the years and the average low is 49º and the average high 64º.  If it’s around those temps I should be fine, even though I would love the start temp to be closer to 40º. The Marine Corps Marathon I did in October had a starting temp of close to 60º and ending temp at about 75º and it really only affected me the last 2 miles. My long-term goal is to get my marathon time to 4:05 or below. That means I need to average 9:20 per mile, which so far I have been able to do.  Whether I can do that in Oakland, we shall see.

My Xmas present from my daughter Chelsea in Oakland

That’s it for now. If you would like to read more from marathon training series, click in the ‘series’ drop down menu above on the right and find ‘Marathon Training’.

See you running,

Marty

The Power of Perseverance

The Key

Ask any performer what is the key to her or his success and I bet a majority will say, ‘perseverance’.  They just stuck with it audition after audition until they reached the success they wanted.

Now, replace the word ‘performer’ in the sentence about with almost any other profession or activity. Then replace ‘audition’ in the second sentence with whatever that new profession or activity needs to do repeatedly to be successful.

  • Lawyer – litigation
  • Artist – drawing
  • Runner – race
  • Accountant – tax return
  • Pitcher – pitch
  • Baker – cake
  • Yogi – pose

You get the idea. What endeavor is it possible to succeed in without repeated effort in the same direction? None.

Perfection

Now, take one of the professions above (or add your own if it’s not listed) and ask yourself what is the likelihood that each and every audition, litigation, drawing, race, tax return, pitch, cake, or pose will have been done perfectly every time on that road to success?  None.

What does that mean? It means that perseverance is not just about continuing to do something. It’s continuing to do something you are failing at. That you are no good at.  That others do better than you. That people criticize you for.  That you have no guarantee you will succeed at.

What does it take to have that sort of perseverance?  Belief that it is what you are supposed to be doing, in spite of what it looks like at any one moment.

A Little Help From Your Friends

Last fall I had a runner in one of my running groups who was training for her first marathon. She had some seriously hard training runs that wiped her out and made her decide she just didn’t have it in her to do a full marathon. She told the group via Facebook that she was bummed and was going to switch to half marathon training. The response was an outpouring of ‘oh, have I been in your shoes before!’ comments.  There was comment after comment talking about how she was bound to have crappy, hard times during a long season and that they knew she would be able to turn it around with a little tweak to her training, a little change in her mindset, a little prop up from her friends.

And she listened to us and stuck with the program. And 6 weeks later she ran her marathon and felt great about it. What was that? That was the way most people are able to persevere, with a little help from their friends.

Reach Out

So, if you are doubting yourself and your path but you really know you are supposed to be on it, then don’t be alone. Reach out and get that encouragement, that advice, that shoulder to cry on. Get whatever you need to keep going. Help is out there and it wants to help you.


Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, English writer


 

 

Spring Marathon Training – Week 1

SPRING, Really?

Wait a second, it’s not spring! Nope, it’s not. But, if you are running a spring marathon your training season starts in the dead of winter. And I am training for an early spring marathon in March which means I am starting in December! The marathon I am in training for is the Oakland Marathon in Oakland, California in March 25th.

Goals

I have two long-term goals in running. One is to run a marathon in every city I have a sister or a daughter. I have already run in Tulsa, Dallas and Virginia/D.C. I still have to do the San Francisco Bay Area (Oakland), San Diego and New York. I am tentatively planning to run San Diego in June and NYC in November. However, I need to get admitted into NYC Marathon as it is very popular and they only allow so many. They choose via a lottery. I won’t know about that until February.

Boston

The other goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in existence and it is also the most exclusive. They don’t have a lottery. What they have is a set of qualifying times. If you can run that time, you are allowed to apply for a spot in the marathon. Here’s the thing, you have to be REALLY fast to get in. However, the times are more lenient the older you get. For example, if you are 35-year-old male, you need to run a 3:10 marathon. If you are a woman in that age group, you need to run a 3:40. I would have to shave off over an hour to make that time. That isn’t going to happen.

But I am not 35. I am 62. But even the 60-64 year old qualifying time of 3:50 is not a time I am likely to match. HOWEVER, the 65-70 qualifying time of 4:10 is. My last marathon I did in 4:14 so I think it is realistic that if I work hard I can shave off 5-10 minutes and qualify at age 65. Here is the cool part. I don’t have to be 65 when I qualify. I only need to be 65 when I run the Boston Marathon. In April 2020 when they run the marathon I will be 65. However, their window for qualifying is from September 2018 to September 2019. That is only 9 months away from now.

The best early opportunity to do that is the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7th. That is a lottery like NY and I just found out I got in! It’s known as a flat and fast course and is popular as a BQ opportunity. Leading Up

So, just to catch you up, I had Achilles Tendon surgery about 13 months ago. I had some nasty bone spurs removed and the Dr. had to detach my left tendon, cut the back edge of the Calcaneus heel bone off with the spurs, then reattach the tendon. The Achilles is the biggest and tightest tendon in the body and recovering from the surgery is slow. There was no guarantee I would be able to run again much less run fast.

But luckily I already was in shape and already had lost 25 lbs that I needed to lose (I went on to lose another 8 after the surgery). And because I already was fit I was able to get back into shape relatively quickly. Within a year I had run a marathon and had cut 22 minutes off my PR. That is what gave me hope I could actually qualify for Boston.

This Past Week

So, in addition to that Marathon I also ran a 5k, 10k, 15k and 2 Half marathons this year. The last race was the Dallas Half Marathon just last Sunday with my daughter Caitlin and her BF Sam. I didn’t pull back from my running schedule as a coach like you are supposed to do when tapering for a big race because it wasn’t designated as a goal race for me, just a fun race with family. I ran my usual 4 nights, Mon-Thurs, including a track workout and an intense hill workout.

Coming Up

This coming week includes the start of Fleet Feet’s Pathways program, of which I am program coordinator and head coach. That will add a new wrinkle to the training schedule but I will figure it out.

My total mileage for week #1 was 31.6.  I hope to have most of my training weeks be in the upper 30s to mid-40s. My longest mileage week last season was 48.5. I would like to hit 50 once this season.

That’s it until next week!

See you running,

Marty

PS. If you would like to read my fall marathon training journey simply go click on the ‘series’ drop down menu and go to ‘marathon training’.

 

 

Time in the Museum – An Illustrated Short Story

Chapter One

He lagged behind his wife because he was reading the catalog raisonne of the artist. He was trying to figure out how much time it took for her to paint the painting of the crying violinist. He didn’t notice what time it was but his wife did because she was hungry and wanted to go to lunch. She also didn’t like the exhibition and didn’t want to spend any more time there.  He liked the painting because of the mystery as to why the artist had titled it ‘Metronome’ when there was no metronome in the painting.

The End


Drawing and story © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


The original image and/or a print are available for purchase.

The Sculpture of Love – An Illustrated Short Story

Chapter One 

The woman saw herself as flawed, always. She didn’t like how selfish she was, how greedy. She didn’t like her judgmental attitude towards so many people and things. She felt she wasn’t a very good wife or mother. She knew she was not as helpful as she could be to her co-workers and she was too snippy with her bosses. She didn’t make enough money but she spent too much and didn’t give enough away she thought. She didn’t call her sisters enough, or her mom and dad. She didn’t like her looks. Her face was too thin, her breasts too small and her butt too big is how she saw it. She thought her skin was too pale and her hair too straggly. The only thing she liked about her self was her tattoo. She died in a car wreck at age 30.

Chapter Two

After she died her community commissioned a famous sculptor to create monument to her because she was the best, most loving person anyone in the community had every come across. The sculpture said love all over it because that is what she was all about.

The End

Medusa Being Attacked By Bats

The Adventures of Medusa, part 5

Medusa was finally so depressed about her life situation and how she kept turning people stone without meaning to that she went to live in a cave. But then bats attacked her. She turned the bats to stone but didn’t realize that stone bats still can fly and attack. Now what should she do?

The End

How She Turned Into Herself – A Short Story

How She Turned Into Herself

She turned toward the radio tower, listening. She turned into someone else when she did. For a while she was happy being this new person. Then, when she didn’t recognize herself any longer she realized she wasn’t happy after all. She continued to turn but as she did she changed back to being who she was. But not really.

She turned into someone else many more times after that. As she did so she realized that that first time her unhappiness was really just fear. Later she wasn’t afraid of turning and it even became a goal of hers. She became courageous and strong and happy with her self. Not the self set in stone, but the self that was like a flowing river. The same but different at each turn.

She died when she was 92 years old. She had herself turned into compost and buried with the seed of a tree. The tree grew up and turned beautiful colors all throughout the year, never looking the same but always being the same.

The End


Drawing and Short Story © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


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