The Importance Of Stretching, Part 2

pugstretchingStretching is good. In Part 1 I told you why stretching is so necessary – our muscles are only designed to contract, and the injuries and lousy habits we develop over time lead to tensions that will pull us out of kilter and wear out our parts.

Stretching is easy! Lift one arm up high – you’ve just stretched your lats and rotator cuff. Keep the arm up and lean away from it – presto! You’re stretching your ribcage and quadratus lumborum. The fancy names don’t matter. What counts is that you do some stretching on a regular basis. There are plenty of books, videos, and websites – here’s one now – that will get you started with basic stretches.

There are a few simple rules to follow, too. Take it slow and gentle. Ease into a stretch. If it pulls, that’s good. If it hurts, that’s bad, and you should back off a bit. Stay there for awhile. Muscle fibers tend to loosen and relax within 30 seconds. The sheets of fascia that wrap around the muscles take longer, maybe a minute or two. Stretch both sides of your body equally, aim for balance.Stretching-l

A pleasant warning – stretching is addictive! Your body knows a good thing when it feels it, and you will be rewarded for your stretching endeavours by a freedom and physical delight you may not have felt in years. Use that delight to spur your efforts, and power your quest for more.

Enjoy the bounce and freedom and flowing vitality that you were meant to have. Help avoid falls, joint pain, aches and strains, headaches, stiff mornings, and the hundred other complaints of a body that can’t move. Stretching is the world’s best preventive medicine, easy, and fun. Al you need is a few minutes a few times a week to start reaping a lifetime of benefits.

Now’s a good time!

Published in: on December 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Delusions Of Grandeur, Premonitions Of Doom – or, The Ups And Downs Of Writing

seesawThis story is great. No, it’s garbage. Everybody will want to read this. Nobody will get past the first page. I’m going to be rich and famous from this stuff! I might as well give up right now.

Sound familiar? I’m convinced that writing fiction is one of the most manic-depressive jobs in existence. Every single writer I’ve talked to has had to deal with the twin demons of fame and failure, at least at the beginning. Every stage of the writing, rewriting, and editing process is besieged by delusions of grandeur or premonitions of doom, with remarkably little room for anything else. In my own case, these opposing thought forms can switch places daily.

Here’s the secret for you, one that I believe every writer needs to find: they are both wrong.

It starts slowly. A turn of phrase, a delightful metaphor, a paragraph that does its job, shines on the page with that special twinkle. That’s pretty good, I thinks. That’s worthy. People will like this one. They’ll pay money for this. Hell, they’ll even tell their friends. I can do this. It’s easy, in fact! Just string a bunch of these excellent paragraphs together and I’ll be able to find an agent. They will get me a bidding war. I can feel that first advance cheque in my hand already, brimming with big, fat zeros. Then I’ll do it again, piece of cake. I’d better pick up a smoking jacket.

All this time – an hour, a day – my fingers haven’t been moving. My mind has been captured by the fairy of future greatness.

Or the words don’t come. I reread yesterday’s work and it’s tripe. It feels like I’m rubbing the paint off the delete key. I can’t see the story for the inner fog, and it’s no use. I can’t do this stuff. Nobody will like the story anyway, several of them have already said so. That last rejection letter had a coffee stain on it, at least I hope it was coffee. It’s too hard. I might as well give up now. It looks nice outside, where all the normal people are. There’s no story in here anyway, at least not anything interesting. I’m done.

So I leave the keys. The depressive swing of the seesaw has stopped me for days, even weeks.

But I noticed that the two demons were never far away, and they were completely arbitrary. The first time I saw them switch places within the space of three sentences, I actually laughed out loud. Then I kept writing. I’d found the secret – all they are is distraction from the work that needs to be done. All they are, when it comes right down to it, is the writer’s mind doing what the writer’s mind should – making up stories. If it’s doing its job, then your mind will make you believe the unbelievable.

So forget about it. Laugh at the delusions of grandeur, the premonitions of doom. Be entertained by them, even. Just so long as you don’t believe them, and don’t let your fingers stop moving. That’s what a real writer does.

Published in: on December 5, 2014 at 5:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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