Like running, construction can be rewarding when done correctly, very difficult to get going (especially when you're not really feeling it), and even harder to maintain the pace once you start. It's really easy to hit that wall and go, "fuck it, I'm done. I'm checking out, my man. I'm going home and watching 'Pardon the Interruption.'" But if you somehow manage to keep the pace, wrapping it all up is euphoric.
Runners, by the way, are mad. Batshit crazy. Exhibit A: My brother-in-law runs ultramarathons - that would be 100+ mile races for those who don't know. He gets up on Sundays and tosses off a marathon distance (that's 26 miles) like it's a quick jaunt to the corner store. This is what he does in his spare time. Incomprehensible. Exhibit B: I have another friend who got too overwhelmed with her thesis, just decided to run the Boston Marathon the day of the race without having trained for it. Granted, since she's already a serious runner, it's not like she wasn't going in completely cold. But she treated it just like a pick-up game of flag football. In fact, I think she might have played a game of flag football after the race. Like I said, runners are nuts.
Lately, it feels like I've been on a tear, training for some ultramarathon of puzzlemaking. I just cranked out a book of puzzles on the Phillies, all the while keeping up my pace with this blog, my alt.weeklies, the Visual Thesaurus, couple other one-offs to name a few. Oh, have I mentioned I'm in the process of trying to buy a house? Life = bananas right now. (Okay, I understand that home-buying really isn't anything like puzzle construction, true. However, I will posit that coming up with a suitable layout for the new place using our furniture in the space provided isn't that different, conceptually, from putting words together in a grid.)
In many ways, this insane pace is not unlike when I was touring with my last band. The routine was simple: get up, shake off the hangover, get in the van, drive to the next club, load in, sound check, wait until the show (usually involving heavy boozing), play (booze), make new friends who can provide a place to crash for the night, load out, go to new friends' flat, possibly party (probably party, so: booze), pass out next to the kitty litter box. Repeat until tour ends. Was it demanding? Absolutely, but after the second or third day you've already passed "the wall" and you're just going along with the flow. My life lately seems like it's not unlike that, only a little less traveling, substantially less alcohol, and no sleeping next to kitty litter boxes.
There's a British crossword editor (probably Azed, but I'll have to get back to you) who said a career in puzzle will slowly, but inevitably, lead to insanity. Then again, Salvador Dali said, "the only difference between a madman and myself is that I am not mad." Jury's still out regarding me.