The Writer’s Life – 101014 : My First Boot Camp Since 1974! (USAF)

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The Writer’s Life –

101014 : My First Boot Camp Since 1974! (USAF)


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The Writer’s Life –

101014 :

My First Boot Camp Since 1974! (USAF)


bootcamp 1 b IMG_4837
Before Day Break

October 11, 2014

Boot Camp, Lessons I Learned

I felt I was (am) out of shape. My wife suggested I’m simply “working on my conditioning.”

Wise woman. (smiles)

In the piece below, I compare my actual boot camp experience, to going to a writing workshop with writers already well into good production habits 🙂

The physical boot camp is in regular text, and the writing parallel in italics.

A Writer in Boot Camp

© Felipe Adan Lerma

boot camp 1 a IMG_4835It was my second go round, trying to attend a before-sunrise exercise class.

I’ve outlined and begun my 2nd thriller novella, “Queen.”

I took a quick picture of actually getting in my car and starting it up.

Tweeted and spammed everyone I was working on a new story.

I’ve gotten myself fit several times through-out my life, and figured, tough as this might be – it was even tough – I should keep up or at least do ok.

I’d been working on stories on and off my whole life, what’s the big deal!

I was first to arrive, obviously a good sign.

The instructor got some basic info from me, and suggested he’d modify my workout as we progressed as needed. We’d start with one lap around the track.

Once the slacker writers arrived, we were told to write a story.

Taking big yogic breaths, I held my own, only slight behind the clusters of bodies pacing ahead of me.

I quickly sketched some dialog, a few witty repartees, and raised my hand to indicate I was done.

Slightly past half way around the track, my lungs decided they needed either, a break, or much MUCH more air, particularly oxygen.

I read my story out loud, then listened to the other writers detail rough outlines, detailing where the character arc curved, and why.

The instructor congratulated everyone, and assigned the next set of exercises, a triple round of varied body movements meant to stretch and condition us.

The writing teacher said we could move on now, to develop the story. I thought, “develop?” Didn’t we just finish? There’s more to work on, already?

Gently, in a non-drill sergeant voice, the boot camp instructor offered my several modifications of the movements if needed, and watched to see if my alignment and form posed possible problems.

The writing instructor sat beside me. Having made a copy of my short story, he lead me through it from word one, asking as much as suggesting improvements.

The other boot campers finished their sets, and took off for more laps. This time around the block.

The teacher gave the other writers the all clear to produce what they’d like, possibly getting a grasp on a potentially completed idea and first draft to work from.

When my fellow exercisers returned, they offered me congratulations on having finished a full class.

The other writers saw I had a complete idea, and offered their approval.

Hunched over in my car, ready to drive back home whenever I caught my breath, I thought to myself. Ok, I’ve definitely been here before. 1974, 1989, 2001. And now I could add, 2014.

My striked-through added-to copy of my story in hand, I remembered I’d written completed stories I was proud of, and knew I could do it again.

And I realized, I’m getting old enough that, if I keep things up, I might, just might, be able to finish this exercise-incarnation, all the way to the end – fit. Pacing was everything. And at my age, time is all I have left. Might as well just pace and enjoy. Besides, Sheila was making oatmeal, and had fresh fruit she said she’d be adding to it. Pace. Breathe. Enjoy.

I turned the car radio on, low, my head hurt if I tried to play it after-lunch-loud. None of the other writers had seemed in a hurry, and I realized I felt the same way. I had an idea-action blueprint printed neatly on paper, folded into my pocket, and already forming baby-ideas inside me. Yes, sir, I smiled. Pace. Breathe. Enjoy.


Related Articles

The Writer’s Life – 092914 : Coffee and a Walk

Inspirations from Life – Thirty Three Years of Poems and Images

The Writer’s Life – 100114 : Pictures Are More Than What We See

The Writer’s Life – 100814 : Getting Fit (again) is like Writing Something New (again)


namaste´- con dios – god be with you

Sheila & Adan
Sheila & Adan



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