My story of losing momentum actually begins over 40 years ago. It was taught to me by an old Engineer of a freight train. I was working for the railway in Canada’s far North. The location was Hay River, North West Territories. The same coordinates as St. Petersburg, Russia. That far North.
On a Sunday,I got a ride on an Ore Train in the front engines too see a friend of mine some 60 miles south. As we approached my friends place the Engineer slowed the Ore Train down to around 5 miles an hour. He turned to me and said, “Son you’re going to have to jump. I can’t stop this train for you. She’s too hard to get started.”
I knew what he meant. The Train had four engines, and all four of them had strained to get that long Ore Train moving. Stopping this train for me, an eighteen year old kid,wasn’t going to happen.
The Engineer gave me some good advice, he said, “When you jump from the train, keep moving. If you try to land and stick your feet, the momentum of the train will send you into a tumble.”
The Canadian term he’d used was actually,”Ass over tea kettle,” which needs a lot of explaining -so I won’t.
I looked down at the ground and thought of what a tumble to the left meant – under massive train wheels. As I’m writing this Blog with both hands and alive, you can assume that didn’t happen.
I did jump from that slow moving train. The Engineer waved at me as I jumped off and did exactly as instructed by hitting the ground running, and slowed down to a jog to watch those mighty wheels of the Ore Train sink the tracks as they pressed their heavy loads on the gravel rail bed. Yes, I was happy I’d heeded his words.
Why do I mention this? I thought I could venture onto the wonderful island of Oahu, in Hawaii and take my writing projects, and keep my momentum going and just keep writing.
What happened? I slowed down, no not to a mere 5 miles or 7 kilometers an hour, no I slowed to a grinding halt. And, as in case of the long train, I found it hard to get my momentum.
I thought I could go to a resort, a lovely place with pools, and beaches and a great gym and I would get up every morning and just do some editing for a few hours, then some reading and then blog a or two. Who was I kidding?
My results? I did get 50 pages of editing done. Not very good for one month away. But I did see whales, dolphins, and several Albatross and Monk seals that seemed almost happy to be seen.
My wife and I spent most of our time roaming the island searching out farm to table bistros that offered food that was Hawaiian focused, and I wrote about my food experiences on TripAdvisor.
I received 4,550 reviews on TripAdvisor in one month. According to my wife, if I got that many reads of one of my books, I’d go from a highly unsuccessful writer to an almost successful one. I assumed she was joking, she was finishing her second Mai Tai at the time.
Did I learn anything in my one month in Hawaiian Paradise? Well, I did learn that a beach chair has three positions. Upright is conscious for reading books or watching waves and whales. Semi-reclined results in semi-consciousness, and all the way flat means a total lights out or sleep. There seems no way to remain awake in a lying position in Hawaii while gentle trades winds waft over you.
You would think all the bodies in various states of repose, that look curiously like sleeping Monk seals (without the nice fur) are catching a nap to do some great activity later. The activity unfortunately is Happy Hour. That’s where the Mai Tai’s and Ukulele’s come out.
I do think we all need rest at some time. The body and mind wears out when under too much stress. But too little stress for too long a time, can be just as taxing. I think we do need some constant momentum in our lives…even hanging out in paradise.
Like that Engineer said to me so many years ago, “Kid, you got to keep moving.”
What the Engineer stated was the obvious, that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Simple physics, that we human beings need to heed, because eventually we will be a in flat position, so we need to keep up our momentum until then.
I wish all of you writers happy writing, and all you readers happy reading.