Body and Mind

I have a personal trainer, someone who helps me grow stronger and more fit, who shows me things I might not have figured out (and pushes me harder than I might, otherwise). A few months ago, I did something that demonstrated my kinesthetic sense, my awareness of my body in space. On the basis of that moment, she said something to the effect that I must have been a good athlete when I was younger. I said no, I couldn’t have been further from that, that I have no athletic ability whatsoever.

That was the end of the conversation and I’d completely forgotten it until yesterday. Yesterday, when I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror in a pose that rang a bell for me. I looked like an athlete, like a coach, in my polo shirt and jeans. The image stuck with me, because of what seemed to be me to be contrast between it and what I know of myself. I’m not an athlete, I’m too clumsy, I live too far inside my head.

Then, tonight, I started to regret not being athletic when I was younger. I started to regret believing the story of my lack of skill. Of course I lacked skill — I didn’t work at it. What if I had worked at it when I was younger? What if I hadn’t had this idea of myself as physically hopeless?

Before I could go too far down the path of ‘what if?’, I remembered how, when I started therapy, I had no idea how all my horror stories felt. I was cut off from my own emotions and had been for years.

For me, emotion lives in the body; if you ask me how I feel, I will tell you where I feel it. Those two pieces of knowledge came together tonight. If I was cut off from my own emotions, I was cut off from awareness of my own body. It was what I wanted — I know that without question. So there was no way I was going to let myself become aware of my own body, which is what I would have needed to do to develop whatever athletic abilities I might have had.

This brings home to me that it’s a system, my mind and body, completelly intertwined, the experiences of one affecting the other. The things I think and feel in my mind are expressed in my body — how much stress-related illness have I suffered over the years? The things I do with my body impact my thoughts and feelings — how much calmer and relaxed have I felt after a good workout?

In considering what to do with knowledge, the only thing I can think of is to circle back to that idea of myself as unathletic. Maybe I need to start seeing myself in a different light, to allow myself to imagine I might have been good if I’d had the safety to explore that side of things, if I hadn’t  had to shut off my emotions to survive. (Which sounds excessively dramatic, but isn’t.)

Because this is something else I know: It’s never too late. It’s never too late, as someone once said, to become what you might have been.

Pups at One Year Old

Image

Berkeley (l.) and Clio (r), a day or two before their first birthday. Happy birthday, puppies!

Back in the Saddle

It’s been weighing on me that I’ve fallen silent here. Most of the stuff I have to say about writing, I’ve been saying at the Moody Muses on Wednesdays. And I haven’t really had much to say otherwise. Life is life, deeply interesting to me but unlikely to be as interesting to anyone else.

But from time to time, I do like to talk about stuff. And I thought I might take a leaf out of my friend Corrina Lawson’s book, and write about stuff other than writing. More

Why Excerpt?

Assuming I sell the mess in progress, I will put excerpts up, either here or somewhere else. Why? Because I think they help sell books. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve bought because I read an excerpt, loved the writing and had to have the book. I own 1,300 books, some of which I haven’t read; I have 18 books checked out of the library. I’m nowhere near a shortage of reading material.

Yet I keep buying new books, because I see a review, or I hear buzz. I want to know more, so I hunt for the author’s website, and I hope there’ll be an excerpt there, one that’ll tell me this is a book I want to read, this is a book I’ll love reading. I make a note of it in the book I keep in my purse, and I plan to head for the bookstore.

I could do all that if I went to the bookstore and found the book and opened it, sure. But I rarely go to the bookstore just to browse any more. I go with a mission, with something in mind. Half the time, I’m there as a detour between Point A and Point B, and I don’t have time to wander. So I don’t browse, and I don’t go looking for that book that sounded good in that review I read last week.

In the interests of candor, sometimes an excerpt will make me decide a book isn’t for me, after all. I don’t think that matters, in the end. The author isn’t losing a sale she would have otherwise had. If the excerpt doesn’t work for me, the same text, read in a bookstore, isn’t going to work for me either. However I make the decision, it’s the same decision: I’m not buying the book.

Given all that, given that I’m writing for readers like me, you can be sure I will be putting up an excerpt as soon as there’s a good reason for it.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Holy moly, I didn’t realize until tonight that it’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. Gah! The main reason for my disappearing act is that I’ve been deep, deep, deep in my story world — I’m not sure how many words I’ve written because I’m not tracking it any more, but I know it’s been a lot. The ms. is 209 pages and nearly 64k words long. Most of what I’ve written in the last month is going to need overhauling, but I’m learning I’m okay with that. I’m starting to think I might be the kind of writer who needs to figure out her story by writing it. Who knew?

I’ve also been baking — the madness continues. I’ve made brownies and pancakes from scratch, (in the usually-make-it-from-mix category), and I’ve made lemon-cornmeal cookies and cornbread (in the revisiting-old-favorites category), and I’ve made orange-cranberry scones in (the baking-something-for-the-first-time category). So far, nothing’s been bad, and I’ve had friends willing and able to help me eat everything.

Of course I’ve been reading, too. Asking if I read is like asking if I breathe. I’ll try to post my thoughts on what I’ve read this weekend.

Vindication, Sadly

A while ago, I decided to stop tracking my word count. The negative number in the total column, which showed up every time I made a major cut, just depressed me. A couple of times, it made me reluctant to do what I knew I needed to do, and that’s a problem. So I stopped.

I spent the last week or so writing a couple of scenes. The second one got harder and harder to write as time went on, and I realized my problem was that the scene was boring. I went back to the preceding scene, to figure out what to follow it with, and realized that it didn’t work either, though in this case the problem was with story logistics.

So today I have to cut both scenes, and then I have to figure out what happens instead. 4k words, gone just like that.

Bitses

Where is time going? Why are the days flying past so quickly? It seems impossible and ridiculous that two and a half weeks should have passed since the last time I posted. And it’s not like I have anything to say–I just felt the need to say whatever. So I’m just going to write a bunch of bits.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Last night my sister and I watched the 2nd and 3rd episodes of Caprica. So far, so good. As far as I can tell, a lot of stuff is being set into motion, and I’m starting to be very curious to see how it all plays out. And not even interested to see how it plays out in a way that leads to the world of Battlestar Galactica–just interested to see how it plays out on its own terms. That being said, there is something connecting both series that I’m curious about. In BSG, Joseph Adama, Bill’s father, is known as a great jurist. (Or at least that’s my recollection.) In Caprica, he’s Joe Adama and he’s a corrupt mob lawyer. I want to know how one man becomes the other. I hope I’ll see it.

Whatever happens, the ads for this week’s episode make me want to see it now. My sister and I talked about watching two episodes every other week; I’m not sure I can wait that long.

~*~*~*~*~*~

After finishing Deborah Crombie’s Necessary As Blood a couple of weeks ago, I was absolutely compelled to start the series at the beginning again. I flew through the first seven books–A Share in Death; All Shall Be Well; Leave the Grave Green; Mourn Not Your Dead; Dreaming of the Bones; Kissed a Sad Goodbye; and A Finer End–but now I’m slowing down. I think it’s partly because I remember the more recent books more clearly than the older ones; I’m having a “Oh, yeah, this one…” reaction.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I’ve also been writing: scribbling the first draft of the mess-in-progress, and averaging over 500 words a day, which is a smoking pace for me; and writing posts for The Moody Muses.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I’m unlikely to watch the Super Bowl tonight–it’s not how I want to spend that time–but I hope the New Orleans Saints win. They’re underdogs and that city has been through enough. It’s not even that I don’t want the Colts to lose. It’s really all about the Saints.

Deborah Crombie’s Necessary As Blood

I finished Deborah Crombie’s Necessary As Blood on the bus today–it was a fabulous read, that kept me up too late for a couple of nights–and as I was finishing it, I realized one of the things I like about the series, in addition to the ones I’d discovered originally: I like the relationships between the characters. Not just Gemma and Duncan, and their children, but the ones they have with their coworkers and friends, and the relationships those people have with each other. I also read the books to see how those relationships develop, to see what happens next.

Realizing that tonight made me realize that I love the same thing in my two guilty-pleasure TV shows, NCIS and Bones, and it’s one of the many things I loved about Battlestar Galactica. I’m not sure this has any meaning for my writing, but I suspect it does. I know that I’m interested in the connections my characters have with each other. There’s a line in U2’s great song, One: “We get to carry each other.” I think that’s true; I think we carry each other through our friendships. Maybe that’s something I need to hold in mind as I keep scribbling away.

This Says It All

Kristine Kathryn Rusch says something here that describes my reading habits perfectly:

I read fiction for entertainment, relaxation, and enjoyment. If I want to work, I read the history, literary essays, biography, science, and legal books that grace my shelves.

I’ve never been able to put into words why I prefer genre fiction when reading fiction, why, if I’ll read dense histories, I won’t read dense fiction. The above explains it brilliantly.

I am a happy woman.

So Busy! (In a good way)

I didn’t realize until just now how long it’s been since I had something to say here. Yeesh. The interesting times in my personal life have become duller–thank goodness!–but I’m still scribbling quite a lot. I’ve written well over 5000 words since January 6, which is crazy-mad productive for me.

I think a change to my process is behind this new productivity. More

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.