“It might be said that boxing is primarily about maintaining a body capable of entering combat against other well-conditioned bodies. Not the public spectacle, the fight itself, but the rigorous training period leading up to it demands the most discipline, and is believed to be the chief cause of the boxer’s physical and mental infirmities. (As a boxer ages his sparring partners get younger, the game itself gets more desperate).
“The artist senses some kinship, however oblique and one-sided, with the professional boxer in this matter of training. This fanatic subordination of the self in terms of a wished-for destiny…
“To not only accept but to actively invite what most sane creatures avoid - pain, humiliation, loss, chaos - is to experience the present moment as already, in a sense, past.Here and now are but part of the design of there and then: pain now but control, and therefore, triumph, later.”
—Joyce Carol Oates, On Boxing
The parallels between this passage and my experiences illustrating every page of Moby-Dick are terrifying and accurate.