In the course of writing, there are times when you find your body starting to do its best to disobey you. Sometimes it’s a headache that robs you of the ability to concentrate. Or your back hurts and you can’t sit right for more than ten minutes at a time. Or it’s your eyes, or a cold, or any one of a hundred damn things . . .
Last night, for me, I was being hit on two fronts.
There are times when, after I’ve been typing for a few hours throughout the day–as I had to do with my job–my fingers start to swell. It not only becomes uncomfortable, but it makes typing a difficult endeavor Where once you feel as if your fingers are flying over the keyboard, they are now feeling like not just two balloons, but eight. It’s like typing in gloves without the gloves. You can motor through the discomfort, but you find you start making more mistakes than your ability to correct them allows.
There was something else, however: a nagging pain in my lower abdomen. Some people would call it “bloating”; I called it, “A tiny creature that has taken up residence in my bowels, and won’t sit still for more than fifteen seconds at a time.” This one, more than the puffy fingers, was giving me fits. It wouldn’t go away. I’d head for the bathroom to “do something” to get rid of the discomfort, and within minutes it’d come back. It was like that all the way up until the time I threw in my towel and headed off to bed.
The body: can’t live with it, a festering pile of goo without it.
I resolved that rather than waiting until later in the evening, when I don’t feel as tried as I do when I first arrive home from work, I should write early on. That way, I can power through what needs to be done, and get my thousand, or twelve hundred, or whatever words in before my fingers and body and brain all scream, “Viva la Vita!”, and start walking my ass to the guillotine. Thanks, guys: you’re real pals.
With all that going on, I still managed six hundred fifty words for the evening, with my musey sisters having their late get together, and Talia, one of the muses, remembering the last time she’d sat with her sister Erin–a time four years before, in a cafe in Austria, not far from the banks of the Danube River. She remember the good parts of that conversation, and the bad parts–you know there’s going to be bad parts . . .
It was easy to imagine them sitting there, because I’ve done something similar. In 2006, I had lunch in Arnhem, Netherlands, at a Turkish cafe situated on the banks of the Rhine River. It was a gray day, a little rainy, an very quite. As I ate my meal of beer cooked in stewed tomatoes, with a side of rice and cucumbers, and a Dutch beer as a beverage, I watched the river slowly flowing by, while directly in front of me, maybe a half a kilometer away, was the John Frost Bridge, a duplicate replacement named after the commanding officer who’d once held A Bridge To Far against overwhelming forces.
I can imagine how my muses felt, because I remember that ninety minutes or so I spent relaxing, imagining that there was no one else but me enjoying that moment.
Maybe I was meant to, because I’d write about it later?