“The rain felt so good, I felt like Mother Nature had given me a kiss on the lips.”
Those were the first words to come to mind when I sat down at this laptop, so I wrote them. I was casting around for words to describe what I felt like this morning.
At 5:45 AM Central time, I threw on shorts, a T-shirt and some polyester and went to go work out with some friends. There were push-ups, and crunches, and running, and indoor football, and other nasty things that make we Americans quiver with fear. I grunted my way through it. I sweated like a pig.
When I stepped outside an hour later, the rain was coming down. I can’t describe the chill to you. It didn’t cut to the bone, but it thrilled my skin. It was the perfect cld temperature for a man whose body was flaming from exercise. On a sprite-like impulse, I dashed into the rain, and ran some more. By the time I made it back to the dorm, I was a soggy mess of flesh, fabric, and hair.
Here’s the thing that gets me thinking. The very first thing that leapt to mind when I started writing this wasn’t that arduous, sweaty hour. It was the moment in which I was done, and reveling in the water (the shower in my dorm room couldn’t hold a candle to this). I felt new, somehow. I felt like I had squeezed something slimy and poisonous out of my blood; life ran through my veins. In that moment, I felt like I could outrun a cheetah.
And now here’s my question to you: if you’re a writer, do you work out on a regular basis? How do you do it? Do you watch CNN and sweat on a treadmill? Do you rise with the sun and jog 3 miles? Do you benchpress or throw dumbbells around?
If you’re not, I truly recommend it. Do you feel comfortable right now? You shouldn’t be. All good stories are about a man or a woman removed from his/her comfort zone. Why should you be any different?
There’s something about pain that makes human beings excellent at describing themselves. When you do more than you think you are able to do, you gain power and you gain insight about yourself and life in general. You defy the American “good life” of couches and beer; that perspective will be invaluable in fiction and other places.
Are you hitting the gym? If not, do it before today is over. If you are, push yourself even harder. I have great confidence that it will make a mark on how you write and how you think. It might even make a mark on how you live.