Some years ago, I read an article about the preponderance of writers who love swimming. I remember being intrigued at the time and so, since all else that I have on my mind about writing is yet more ranting about the way it is taught in schools (dear heaven, why, for example, are children still spending hour after hour hand-writing but if they want to learn to type they have to do it of their own volition in the lunch hour?), I’m going to submit a light-hearted and brief blog on that topic.
It intrigued me, of course' because I am a keen swimmer. I try to swim twice a week and do 30-40 lengths on each visit. No, I don’t plan my stories as I churn up and down though on a good day my mind does seem to do some creative mulling, once it’s discharged all the everyday worrying! On a bad day the pool is so busy that I have to devote all my attention to not getting mown down by the hefty men who seem to see a small, middle-aged woman who is swimming faster than them as a major male-ego challenge.
I love swimming so much that I worry about what would happen if I stopped being able to – I get too old and infirm, I can’t afford it, water is in such short supply that we can’t have public baths etc etc. I ask myself the question, if you had to give up swimming or writing, which would it be and (excuse me for blasphemy on this blog) it would have to be writing. Shock, horror! I’m convinced that swimming keeps me sane with its unique ability to relax and exercise me and to somehow wash my mind and body free of worry and anxiety and tensions.
Iris Murdoch was a keen swimmer. So, notoriously were Byron and Shelley. I don’t know of others but I’m intrigued to find out if there are more. I know that many writers walk each day and many take dogs with them – we get a fair bit of writerly doggie worship on Facebook - but are we closet swimmers too? Is that how we avoid writer’s bum? Let’s face it, if you go to a conference, on the whole you won’t meet a gang of obese writers – so what’s our secret? We’re a remarkably lean, fit-looking bunch on the whole. Maybe we should write a book and market it!
And those of us who are keen swimmers – does it help in the creative process? Do others find it liberates the brain for a bit of creative mulling? Or for planning whole chapters? Could I get an article for a writing magazine out of this?
Or shall I just tell school teachers to forget all that story planning stuff and take the children swimming?
So – how many of us are swimmers then? And does it help you to write if you are?
Now...it's Sunday morning. Normally I would swim but today I'm away from home. Darn, darn, darn. And that's the reason for no pictures either. Sorry!