In my last post, I announced I was recuperating from a sprained knee ligament and a bad back. Two weeks on, and the knee is just about back to normal, the occasional twinge notwithstanding. But the back is, it turns out, to use a technical term, fucked. I’ve now spent about three weeks unable to sit or stand for more than about twenty minutes at a stretch. Emails pile up in my inbox at work, unread. Social engagements fly past, unattended. It is, in summary, pants.
I am at least assured by both doctor and physio that there is no serious underlying problem, but it’s still a sobering experience. I’ve had back problems for about a year now, caused by spending a high proportion of my waking hours slumped over a computer, determined to write as much as I can, whenever I can, completely careless of the consequences. Occupational Health told me I should get a different hobby, but, like a coughing smoker who can’t stop sparking up, I carried on.
And now… I’ve finally got all the time I would like in which to write, but I can’t physically do it. Frustration on an epic level. I’ve tried a number of different methods – writing lying down with my laptop propped up on my knees, until the physio told me this was a terrible idea. Dragon dictation software – until it produced a load of gobbledygook. Writing at the standing workstation my husband jury-rigged from an Ikea coffee table – but I can only do that in short bursts. Writing by hand, upside-down (using the Soviet ‘pencil’ solution), which is awkward. After this experimentation, I’ve found the best method for the supine author is to tap it out on my phone in an email, (how I’m writing these very words) and then spend my ten minutes of computer time copy-and-pasting it into Scrivener and tidying up the formatting.
Incidentally, if anyone reading this is thinking, ‘why don’t you just not write?’ I will quote to you the words of Rainer Maria Rilke: ‘In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write’ (Lady Gaga has this tattooed, in German, on her arm. This is one of many reasons why she is awesome).
Well, I’m hoping that my back recovers soon, and that I can manage to be a touch less cavalier in my treatment of my own body in future. Meanwhile, some improvements: the Ashes have started Down Under, and Test Match Special, bless them, are repeating their entire commentary during the English daytime, ‘as-live’. This is an absolutely brilliant innovation, as I am starting to tire of the Planet Rock Radio playlist (Here I go again… and again…). Also, I have ordered myself a shiny shiny new phone so I will shortly have a new toy to play with. Rule 32 – enjoy the little things.
Until next time…