I don’t mean the scary jump, the one where everything stops, the one that tends to be off something. No, this jump is an ‘into’, and sort of adventurous when you’re a practising hermit. I’ll get to the jumping part, but I need to ramble away from it first, before I can take a run up…
It’s silly really, but I think the reason I don’t exercise is that it helps me think. I know that’s supposed to be a good thing, one of the wonderful things about keeping fit and active and all that, but it’s always a pain in the arse. I don’t need to think more, I think quite a lot already. I think when I should be sleeping, I think when I should be working (about things other than working, obviously), and I think when I should be listening. My brain distracts me at every turn.
The thing with exercise, is that it does a lovely job of clearing my head for creativity. It may be the best way for me to think of the best things, the new things to add to my list of things that need writing or exploring or adding to other things. Every time I head out to exercise I kick myself for not bringing a pen and notebook with me, because I always need them, but who goes out for a brisk walk with their notebook? Hardly anyone I’ve ever seen. I could whip out my phone and speak it into the voice recorder, but there’s something that scares me about verbalising those ideas before I’ve had a chance to jot them down – the air takes a bit of the original sparkle before you can get home and listen back to what now seems like a silly idea, especially as the noises of real life in the background conspire against it. That is, of course, if I even remember that I’ve recorded something in the first place. Often, the new thing, the sparkling idea is kept and lost at the very same time. There are a lot of audio files on my phone that haven’t been heard.
Were I to exercise every day, as I no doubt should, the backlog would be ridiculous. I have quite a few things on the go already, and while I’ll never send an idea away, I hate to have one I like that I won’t give time to. I had a great idea for a… something, maybe a short story today while walking, and I have not the time for it. And it’s a flippin’ good one too, a love story, and I almost never write those. It’d be just as mad as all my other things, but that’s what would make it mine. I hope I remember to remember it later.
See, here’s the jump I mentioned – I was brave and reached out for some help with a project, my novella Blue in the Red House. I’m extremely happy to report that I am working with a mentor, a writer I am coming to admire very much (hi Isabel!), and though we’ve only chatted once over skype, and I can already see the frayed thread-ends where my story might have been pulled too tight on the loom. It’s an intensely strange and symbolic landscape I’m expecting people to traverse, dense with all kinds of madness and sense, and they at least deserve a handrail, or a safety net.
So I jump now. I devote time to something that I would have decided was finished (which I suppose it is, to a degree, without being finished at all), and I finish finishing it so that other people might one day be able to start it. I can’t do that if I go out walking in ideas every day! No, what I need is more coffee, less walking, and perhaps a copy of Scrivener if I can find it on sale. Now is when I try to be organised, try and make something excellent out of something good.
So this was my ramble, my little prayer offered up to guilt and whatnot at finally giving time to this writing thing, time that is usually used for ‘important’ things like laundry and cooking and working and mothering. And exercise.
Jumping is exercise, though.