By Pat Hauldren
Gravity is a selfish bitch.
I wish I had the Gravity God’s stamina. Gravity never stops, going 24/7 (much like we wish we could, write 24/7!). Gravity will endure long after you and I, and probably longer than people in general, will ever exist.For us writers, gravity is the antagonist in our very own real life story. And, I want to help you defeat the Evil Gravity Antagonist!
OK, we will never quite defeat gravity until we destroy the Earth’s mass. If you remember your physics or chemistry (brush away those cobwebs), you’ll recall that E=mc2 . And I’m here to tell you that if you don’t square those shoulders and straighten that back, if you don’t move those muscles as much as you muscle-up your writerly brain, gravity will be more than an equation, more than a mere balancing act, it will very possibly be the instigator of your Earthly demise.
“Whoa, those be some strong words there, lassy!” you might exclaim indignantly (purple prose intended) while sipping your ice cold venti caramel Frappuccino with extra caramel and cookie crumble sprinkles. (slurp, slurp)But aren’t strong words what our lives as writers are all about?
You’re probably wondering who the you-know-what is this crazy woman talking gravity and that four-letter word that starts with an “m” which we shall not name?I’m a writer, like you, and my occupation requires me to spend many, many hours in one position, usually in a chair, usually at a desk, usually at a computer, usually meaning I cannot jog and write (not yet, but hey, somebody put a bug in Jobs’ ear), nor can I swim and write, nor kickbox and write, and so on. One often excludes the physical act of the other.
Not that we can think about our stories while we’re pumping iron, or record our thoughts as we jog, or pretend we are our very own kick-butt heroine while we kickbox our Xbox. Writing or doing all those things that we do as a writer are not impossible while we get physical (Don’t say your male protagonist’s name during an intimate moment with hubby. Even the saintliest husband in the world will begin to question your sanity, at the very least.), but exercise is more than just moving muscles, just as writing is more than typing words.I’m banning the “e” word right here, right now. I don’t like it. Makes me think of Jack LaLane and jumping jacks and changing into a crotch-too-tight blue short/top uniform in a stinky gym and wishing I could just fade into the lime-green wall. (If LaLane is too far back for you, think Richard Simmons).
Physical is good. Gravity, although not always, is as far as our sedentary profession is concerned, not our friend.
But we’re writers, right? We are the epitome of all that doesn’t exist, of sizzling synapses firing on all cylinders, of frontal lobe gone postal. We are imagineers, and sometimes, we need to reboot our brains. (OK you FF&P writers, “brains” as in everyone has a brain and more than one person is reading this blog, not “brains” as in you have more than one brain. That’s just for the likes of Bruce Campbell and bitchin’ B movies.)
See, I know you because I know me. I know I’m passionate about my writing, that I do it beyond all sanity—too many hours at the desk/computer, too many hours planning, too many hours editing and rewriting, too, too many hours staring out the window at the squirrel chasing my cat across the fence and wondering how I can work that into my space opera.Remember when you began learning about magic systems and how to develop your magical world building? Did anyone mention “equal and opposite”? (Oh no! She’s gonna do more “m” word stuff! No, shsh, it’s “m” word safe now.) Remember the advice that magic has a cost? One doesn’t make unlimited magic with no consequences.
And no one sit-eth unlimited hours without consequences.For me, I’m like butter. I just spread so easily all over my office chair. Wasn’t a quick process. Took years, decades if truth be told. But it was all my own fault. Can’t blame it on anyone or anything else.
But I said I’d tell you more about me.
Besides being a writer, I am an instructor-in-training in Taoist Tai Chi. If you ever saw me, you’d wonder what kind of magic mushroom I put in that Frap. The word “athletic” is so far removed from my life, at least now, at 56, after two bouts of chemo, several surgeries, and given just 3 months to live eleven years ago. Wore me out, to say the least.Afterwards, I had to pick up my life and it was like starting from scratch—I had to learn how to reuse my right leg muscles and figure out how I would get my stamina and energy back. I started tai chi classes.
I’m not gonna say tai chi is gonna cure all you ills. It’s not. I am gonna say that my upcoming class—Me & Chi—will help you, as a writer, learn how to improve your stamina through stretching and gentle moving, most you don’t even have to get out of the chair if you don’t want to, and freshen up the blood supply to your brain, helping improve your thinking and creativity.The class is actually very simple. I will provide you with suggestions that you may be able to ease into your writing habits. It’s up to you, as always, how you use, or not use, these suggestions.
My goal is to improve circulation, posture, and focus without removing you from your work for more than a few seconds at a time, if that long.Some say we are what we eat. I go further than that. We are what we think. And I want to help you become a better thinker (yes, even on the throne) and a better writer.
Becoming a better writer is often more than studying writing as a subject, sometimes it’s about becoming a better person, especially in the small ways, ways that change us from the inside out.Your goal, if you decide to take the class, and I hope you do, is to try it out. Defeat that Evil Antagonist Bitch called Gravity and become the heroine of your exciting, and successful, writing life.
I hope you’ll join me in my upcoming class, Me & Chi: Increase your creativity and health with Tai Chi and mediation for writers scheduled here in July.
Bio: Pat Hauldren writes speculative fiction in Grand Prairie, Texas, and has just returned from a conference with 4 out of 4 agent requests on her current urban fantasy. She’s training to become a tai chi instructor and has taken tai chi training around the world. She enjoys chanting and meditation as well. And don’t ask her about hockey if it’s off-season, she goes into hockey withdrawal. Learn more about Pat Hauldren at www.pathauldren.com.