Saturday, May 16, 2009

Of Perspiration and Inspiration

I've often gotten some of my best writing ideas while exercising, driving, or doing something else besides staring at the blank screen or page. I come from a family of exercisers, and we've debated through the decades about the value of exercising while plugged in to some technology (used to be a Walkman, these days it's an iPod).

While I understand the value of a beat that keeps you moving, I've usually been exercising outside, and I don't want to cut off one of my senses. I've lost count of the number of times that I've been able to avoid being hit by a car because I could hear it before I could see it (lots of speeders and stop sign runners in my neighborhood). More importantly, I don't want to signal to rapists and muggers that I'm a convenient target because I can't hear them coming.

If I exercised indoors, I might be able to listen to music and still get good writing ideas or solve problems that I'm having with a piece of writing. After all, I drive and listen to music, and I don't find that process affects my inspiration.

Lately, as I've jogged through my neighborhood, I notice many people walking and talking on their cell phones. Are they exercising? I don't know. Some of them are walking to the bus stop or walking the dog. But some of them seem to be working out while talking on the phone. I admire the breath control that must be required to do that, not to mention the motor skills. I can hardly make my cell phone work while standing still with sweat-free hands.

But the main reason that you won't see me working out with a cell phone--or with a friend--is that I value my alone time. My muse won't talk to me if I'm talking to others.

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