Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dry Run

Here's an excerpt from my latest Proof essay at The New York Times:
Throughout that summer, friends inevitably expressed admiration at my willpower to take on 15-plus miles at a time. And though I did not always disabuse people of this admiration, I knew a different truth: willpower is what happens when you have to muscle through; but I didn’t have to muscle through. I had an arsenal of support and ballasts in place to keep me on the right path. Those kooky coaches — who yelled out cheesy and embarrassing cheers, like “I see some heroes on the Mall today!” — were like hyper-euphoric angels, hell-bent on seeing us through the bizarrely human act of running exactly 26.2 miles. And, when the road was really tough, the day particularly hot, and the edible runner’s goo low, I would repeat, in a singsong whisper, I choose to run. I choose to run. I’d look around at my sweet Sweathogs. I choose to run. I’d stare down at my feet. I choose to run. One in front of the other. I choose to run. Sometimes, I’d look up to see I’d gone several miles in a kind of trance.
To read the whole essay, click here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sacha Zimmerman is now Sacha Z. Scoblic

Sacha Z. Scoblic has written extensively under the name Sacha Zimmerman. She can be reached at sachazim@aol.com.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rockstar Meet Teetotaler

I am the newest contributor to The New York Times' Proof blog. Here's an excerpt from my first entry, which was also reprinted in the Times' Sunday Week-in-Review (March 1, 2009):
Throughout that entire first year of sobriety, I longed for some shorthand for everything I wanted to say: the confusing pride I felt about my past destructive life, the odd embarrassment I felt over my current redeemed one. Maybe a skull-and-crossbones-like symbol just for us addicts, something with the right mix of menace and solidarity, something I could tattoo on my wrist like a gang member to establish my alcoholic street cred. That way, instead of reassuring new acquaintances that I was fun, I could just silently shake my head when offered a drink, flash my tat and look at my new friend with a kind of weathered mystery. What I had yet to learn was how little people cared about whether I drank or not — and how little I needed to concern myself with what people did think.

In the meantime, I was alarmed by the dissonance between the rock star within screaming to be let out and the insecure woman pledging to be fun. I mean, I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to have fun without drinking. I was still discovering all sorts of terrible new truths, like how parties without drinking were really just a lot of people standing in the same room and like how movies I once found funny were often riddled with stilted language and bad dirty jokes. And how, without my booze-fueled sense of rock-star self, I had no clue as to who I was — or whether or not I was any fun. I had lost my swagger.
Read the entire essay here.