I have decided to exercise regularly in 2015. The treadmill in the den is too easy to walk away from when inspiration strikes. Not so with swimming – once you’re in the water it’s hard to walk away and immediately start typing.
Oh, and in the cause of precision, when I say “regularly”, I should say “frequently” and certainly “irregularly”. But often. Honest.
Let’s move on…
I must own up. I find swimming boring. Eyes on the far end and get closer, closer, closer… Reach it, turn, repeat. You either shut down mentally or store as many thoughts as possible for later use.
When I was a kid in post-war Britain, the local pool was Victorian, erected around the turn of the 19th century for those without baths in their homes but with a few coins to spare. I remember there were foot-baths, a primitive form of shower unit, basically a floor-level sink for a “standing wash”. These were for local workers who wanted a wash, but who choose not to exercise in an unheated pool – probably as they were worn out by their labors.
So here’s the criticism. I remember the signs posted around the pool:
- No running
- No diving
- No bombing
- No kissing
- No touching
You get the picture. That was post-war Britain. “NO” was normal. But that was then. The old building has been upgraded to a spa including a heated pool, sauna, tanning rooms and, of course, a hefty membership fee. So a public utility for the poor has become a playground for the middle class. I guess that’s an advance for a consumer society.
By contrast, my local “Aqua World” is a modern, purpose-built luxury amenity with multiple heated pools, sauna, tanning rooms and, of course, a hefty membership fee. But no notices saying, “NO”.
Many writers’ blogs suggest exercise as a way of overcoming writer’s block. I was in two minds. Time away from the working focus of my computer desk always seemed like a negative move.
But… I must admit I enjoyed my first visit. And it was fruitful. Having nothing else to think about except “swim, turn, repeat” did free my thoughts. I solved a half-dozen sticky plot points as I swam, turned and repeated. As General MacArthur said, “I came through and I shall return.”
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