Friday, 24 March 2017

My Writer's Body by Tracy Alexander

As I typed the title my attention swept over my body, like a CT scanner, giving it a quick once-over. It’s not good. We’ll start at the bottom.

I sit with my feet crossed over at the ankle, tucked underneath my chair. This is not a helpful position. Your feet, I understand, should be flat on the floor. Grounded. Supporting all that lies above. My only contact with the earth is the big toe of my left foot, pointed, ballerina-style. Ready to fight or fly. The dog is lying in front of said big toe. Everyone knows you can’t disturb a sleeping puppy. So the little voice telling me it would be beneficial to shift about occasionally is muted.

This does not help my knees. These joints are very comfortable locked in position. No pain. No sense that they are there at all, in fact. Until some basic human need demands that I stand up. I untie my feet and find a space between paws to press down and therefore lever up. But my knees have a very special glue, only for special people. The glue bonds tight in the time it takes to realise you’ve been sitting without moving for too long. I unstick myself, slowly.

Source: Washington Post
And now we come to the back, starting low down. I cannot seem to straighten up. The little dip above the curve of my bottom is not a dip. It’s an angry person in a car park who can’t find a space and when they do some rotter in a nicer car swerves in without a care. I speak to the little dip, calming it down. It decides to relax enough for me to notice its friend, the mid-back. I know the mid-back quite well. No point reasoning with it. I lie down on the carpet embellished with forage the puppy brought back from his walk. Breathe deeply as though I’ve had my head under a duvet. That’s better.

As I regain the vertical I allow a glance in the mirror above the fireplace. My right shoulder is jauntily two inches above my left. A fine look. Rakish. I pull my shoulder blade down my back. Unfortunately my shoulder appears to be attached to my neck, surely bad design . . . The guy ropes keeping my head in place tauten – it’s unattractive. I resume the rakish look.

Shall I try a shoulder roll?
That was a mistake. My chest does not want to be made to stretch, it wants to hunch. It is happy hunching. It is already wondering when we are going back to the study to assume the frozen zig-zag that is its favourite position.

I make tea, ignoring the twinge in my elbow when I lift the kettle. Must have been all the tennis I played in my youth . . .

Human need answered, I am in situ again. Slumping nicely. I notice that my chin is jutting forwards, shortening the back of my neck. I tip my chin down to allow swan-like length, but can’t see the screen. I consider lowering the screen, or raising my chair. But won’t my desk be wrong then . . . Definitely a job for another day.

As I begin to type, all sense of my body is forgotten.


Anitya (Hooked To Books) said...

It's about a problem and yet is so beautifully and effortlessly written. Thanks Tracy for the great read :)

Joan Lennon said...

This speaks to my condition. Thanks for posting!

Penny Dolan said...

Oh dear! Altogether now - stretch! Tracy, this is an eloquent reminder of just what we put our bodies through - and the trickiness of keeping both feet flat on the floor. However, do try and look after yourself when you are not so busy!

At the moment, now the weather's warmer, I've been trying, trying, trying to find time for a walk each day. As I'm walking, I feel the body slowly loosening and finding its proper shape and balancing points again.

Leslie Wilson said...

Leaning sideways is what I have to try and stop myself doing! But hard, once you get absorbed. As you say.

Steve Gladwin said...

Yes thanks Tracy and there's a lot that resonates there but especially the last sentence.