dec 29/RUN

5.4 miles
franklin loop
42! degrees/ 98% humidity
0% snow-covered/ 40-50% puddle-covered

A wonderful run on a wet, almost raining day! Wasn’t planning to do the franklin loop but then decided at the last minute, why not, I bet it’s clear on the st. paul side and it was. The river was brown then gray then brown again. Never white. As I crossed the franklin bridge I could see that the path below in the east flats was clear. The path above was too. Lots of puddles, but no ice or snow. Didn’t think about anything I can remember.



  1. Encountered an older man and woman on the lake street bridge as I climbed up from the steps. As I started to run again, the man said, “And she’s off!”
  2. Running up behind a woman with a dog on a narrow part of the path. She veered in front of me without looking. Called out to her once, “excuse me” but she didn’t hear me. Had to do it again and freaked her out.
  3. Lots of runners on the minneapolis–any on the st. paul side? I don’t think so.


  1. So wet! Lots of drips from the trees.
  2. The sewer pipe in the ravine was rushing, gushing, almost roaring.
  3. Big puddles on the sidewalk. Tried to avoid one but stepped right in it.
  4. Car wheels whooshing over the wet pavement.
  5. Always wondering: is that just water or a sly slick spot?
  6. More gushing, dripping, falling water on the St. Paul side.
  7. Huge puddles on the east river road. Big splashes as the cars drove through them.
  8. Tiny ice chunks flowing down the river towards the falls below the lake street bridge.

After finishing the run and walking back, stopped to record the sounds of water on the street, rushing down the sewer, dripping off the eaves, mixed with all the birds:

Last week, I read a great poetry/craft advice column–The Blunt Instrument–on sentimentality and whether or not it’s bad.

It’s not sentiment or emotion itself that’s bad, it’s misused or overused emotion, and this is what writers, maybe especially poets, need to watch out for: unearned sentiment that feels mawkish, cloying, or cheap. In other words, laying it on too thick, or using emotional tropes to trick the reader into thinking they’re feeling something, when actually they’re just recognizing the outlines of a familiar emotion.

I enjoy her description of how excessive, insincere sentiment, which she names as hokey and corny, is determined:

You can’t define an adjective like “hokey” or “corny” (both of which, by the way, mean “mawkishly sentimental”) by any clear objective standard, but some number of people are going to read it and make the puke face.

Her advice for avoiding the puke face? Read a lot and learn how to judge from a wide range of examples when feeling is corny or genuine.

Her final line offers a great way to sum up sentimentality:

Sentimentality is feeling that’s too sure of being understood.