Everything hurts.  My back hurts, particularly a point over my right shoulder blade.  My hands hurt, particularly my right hand if I try to clench it.  My feet hurt, particularly the top of my left foot, where the tendons are.  All of my joints are stiff, particularly my right wrist and ankle.  All this after getting a massage on Tuesday and spending the week doing something other than sitting on my couch with my laptop on my lap, writing.

Talk about Sitzfleisch.  I looked it up on Wiktionary: "The ability to endure or carry on with an activity," from the German for "the ability to sit still."  I have another definition: "The way your body feels after you have been sitting still for five months working on your book manuscript."

It creeps up on you.  Back in the winter, when it was so cold that it took a full five minutes to get the layers on before taking the dog out for her midday romp, I just thought I felt stiff because I had so many clothes on.  Then the layers came off, the days warmed up, and for some reason, I didn't.  I thought to myself, "You've been sitting still for too long, you need to start walking more."  So I stopped hanging out with the dog in the park--which, in any case, was filling up with human rompers--and started taking her round the neighborhood again.  Some days it would take me a whole block or more before my foot loosened up and I could actually walk.*

And then, as a treat for finishing my discussion of Richard this week, I decided I needed a massage.  You know, to get the kinks out and help me relax.  Well, I've felt bad after massages before, but never this bad.  Days later, I can still feel the toxins pooled up in my joints, and I've never had a problem with the right side of my back clenching up--it's always been my left, after I overstretched it once ten or twelve years ago while in shoulder stand.  Clearly, I've been holding a lot of tension in my back, not to mention my arms, hands, legs, feet, and pretty much everywhere else.

Who knew?  Who knew what a toll simply sitting still would take?  I realize now what I've been doing to myself, sitting with my laptop on my lap, apparently so comfortable, but in fact forcing my legs to hold still for hours and hours and hours on end.  My arms and wrists are better off than they have been in years when I've worked sitting at my desk, but I had no idea how hard my legs were working when "all" I was doing was sitting still. 

Lesson to self: take the timer seriously and when it goes off, get up!  Move around a little bit, don't just check your email or start surfing the web.  I still have four more months to go before I have to go back to the classroom, and I'm a little worried.  I know what I need to write--but can I afford to sit still long enough to write it?

Good thing I have another massage scheduled next week.  I rather suspect I'm going to need it.

*I'm pretty sure my foot is hurting thanks to the bursitis in my knee.  At first I thought it was from fencing, but I had also been noticing that my thighs were unusually tight, which now I realize is a consequence of sitting so still with my laptop on my lap.  


  1. Drive-by suggestion from a stranger, so take it for exactly what it's worth ;) - would it be a possibility to mock up a standing desk to use for some writing sessions? A professor I know recently rearranged his office so he could stand to write and grade, and has found it helpful in alleviating his back pain. (The really fancy option I saw on a fiction writer's blog was building a desk that fit over a treadmill, so she could write while walking!!)

  2. A treadmill, eh?! The Dragon Baby would like that! Alas, I'm not so sure about standing up to write: my father had trouble with varicose veins from standing at the operating table his whole life. Our bodies are not meant to write, I suppose. They really prefer moving!


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