"My holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence, talent, inspiration, love, and the most absolute freedom imaginable, freedom from violence and lies, no matter what form the latter two take. Such is the program I would adhere to if I were a major artist."
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov 1860 - 1904
This week I've not only focused on my writing program, but also in getting myself back into an exercise routine. Although I walk a great deal every day (I don't own a car), I often forget to do my stretches and floor exercises on a daily basis, and working for long hours at the computer or poring through books and writing notes tends to wreck havoc with one's body. I'm in severe need of a massage! So this week I am have gone back to waterfit twice a week. And hopefully by next week I'll also resume going to the fitness centre on the alternate days.
I'm not particularly sports minded, although I do like to watch a few spectator sports like gymnastics, figure skating, Olympic sports etc. I enjoy most walking (hiking) and swimming.
I long for the Aegean Sea, those warm turquoise waters where I love to drift in the hot Greek sun. But for now the pool will have to do.
I find water a soothing, calming therapy and a good way to wash away the cares of the day and clarify thoughts. I enjoy walking by the sea, taking boat trips, or playing in the water.
I find a lot of ideas come to me when I'm floating in the sea.
I also love to walk, and find that some of my greatest inspirations have come when I am walking. When I lived in the village in Greece, I used to walk 5 k. down the mountain to the port of Karystos, have a swim on the lovely beach there, then walk back up to my village.
On those walks I created so many narrative scenes, dialogues, and ideas for my writing.
Of course, I always carry a notebook so that I can write these thoughts down immediately. And because I do this, a great many segments of my novel (and other writing) have been previously written, those spontaneous bits of writing that need little editing.
When I'm home, I have the radio tuned into the Classical Music station. Music is also an inspiration and creates a serene mood.
And, of course, being a person of words, I love to talk...especially to other writers.
Last night I had a wonderful long phone conversation with my good friend Suzaki. I read her the notes I made yesterday for my novel, a filler piece for a scene I'd workshopped at our writer's group. Her enthusiastic response was inspiring. We often spend weekends talking about our work, and if I'm stuck, she'll be sure to come up with an appropriate idea or suggestion. Writer's have to keep each other buoyed up, be there for each other.
"All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath."
Francis Scott Fitzgerald (Undated letter)
So now it's time to start my day. I'm beginning late today because of my swim, my walk and now I've 'talked' long enough and it's time to actually do some work!
"Keep the faculty of effort alive in you by a little gratuitous exercise every day. That is, be systematically aesthetic or heroic in little unnecessary points, do every day or two something for no other reason than that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test."
William James 1842-1910