Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I've been for a walk, on a winter's day

December 16, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside! My silly cat hasn't touched real terra firma in days. His paws are just too delicate. Even the dog needs a good shove to get him out the door. And people call them 'dumb animals'. For myself, I brave the cold air almost daily for a walk. I know I shouldn't ask, but what does that say about the level of my intelligence?

One summer, way back when in the 1980's, my mom and I used to get up at five in the morning, Monday through Friday, and walk. We were faithful until winter hit, and we thought it too cold to go outside. We stopped "for the winter" and we never started again. Now, since I'm finally walking almost every day again, I'm afraid to stop for fear the same thing will happen again. I bundle up and go unless it's raining buckets.

Does the walking help me as a writer? I'm not sure. I'd like to think so. What's good for me is good for the stories.

Yes, we writers can be an obsessive lot. Everything goes back to the writing with us. We can't escape writing - it's our drug. It keeps our brains happy.

I do wonder what people think as I stroll along, grinning, or even talking to myself as I work on dialogue. Of course, I walk with my iPod plugged in, so maybe they think I'm trying (and failing) to sing. It doesn't really matter. I walk to please myself, much like the writing.

Walking has helped with other things, too. It's taken a few months, but my co-workers no longer have panic attacks when I leave them alone for half an hour. Apparently, it stresses them when the den mother abandons them. Well GOOD!! They cause me enough stress, and walking eases that. I've lost a few pounds, and my blood pressure cuff keeps telling me I'm really dead.

Today, as I walked along, my iPod spit out an old song, one full of magic - "California Dreaming" by the Mamas and the Papas. I turned up the volume, and inside my headphones, the wonderful stereo sound of the Sixties bloomed, rendering the incredible harmonies in their full glory. It transported me back to a very different time when my best girlfriend and I knew every word to every song on the AM radio bands. We'd sit on the porch steps for endless hours and sing along. Winter's cold didn't stop us.

I think I'll load a few more old songs into my iPod, and try to let go of even the writing as I walk. And when I return to my desk to finish out the workday, I'll be able to smile at the kiddies in the office. Because, you see, I've been for a walk, on a winter's day.

KC Kendricks
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