© 2008 -- 2011 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm standing up for my writing


I have some kind of sciatic nerve problem, or at least that's what the physician's assistant thought it was yesterday. It's aggravated by sitting at my desk, partly because I don't have good chair poster when I'm leaning over the keyboard working. After about an hour or so, my leg begins to hurt enough to make me very uncomfortable, and after about another hour, I can't bear to sit there any longer. The only thing that helps is to stand up and walk around. So I started last week standing at the kitchen counter to work when it got bad.

Last weekend I had to work both Saturday and Sunday, and I thought why even bother to sit down? So I used some wire shelving we have to hold my laptop and stood the whole day each day while I worked. I also found that in addition to my leg not hurting, standing let me think a little more clearly about what I was writing. Whenever I got stuck, I just walked around in a little circle and by the time I got back to the keyboard, the words I needed were there. So I kept standing all week long.

Yesterday when I saw the PA and she was giving me some exercises to do, she suggested that I should try to stand to work. (I told her that usually I could hardly stand to work, but I don't think she got it. So I just said OK.)

A few months ago I was working on an article about physical activity and I came across a research study that focused on the benefits of standing as opposed to sitting. It turns out that people who do their job mainly sitting (like bus drivers, for instance) have a tendency to die sooner than people who stand more. We all know about the value of exercise, but this was true even with low level physical activity. So maybe pain is not such a bad thing after all.

Here's the first draft of a poem I did today after coming across some notes I'd made for an essay. Too early to tell whether I like it or not, but I thought I'd share it.

The running of the ideas (first draft)

When the gates were opened for the running
of ideas, three men were trampled at the start.
Two more scrambled over the walls that lined
the street. And only the bravest stayed in front,
shouting the whole way, cheered on by rabble
leaning from the balconies above
and smiling critics -- middle-aged women and men
holding dry martinis, drinking rum.

At the ring the crowd roared as the first idea--
proud, brave, and very strong--gored the rider's
mount and threw the rider to the ground.

No one could slow him. No one could tire him,
until the bravest fighter of them all
stood before him and with his cape and grace
took pass after pass and brought him to his knees.

The crowd chanted its approval. They'd seen
a work of art. And the idea, its hind legs
lashed to the horse, was, without dignity
and without ears, dragged from the dusty ring.

© copyright 2009 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic Blog.
All rights reserved


  1. I love the notion of the idea being in the ring. Very clever, GP.

    My computer desk is actually an old drafting table, so sometimes I actually do stand and blog. It's nice. I really hate my chair, though, it hurts my legs after an hour or so.

    I posted a new piece today, as well.

  2. Very cool. To find an alternative, rather than quit doing . nick

  3. Well the injury hasn't stopped the flow of good :)

  4. That is a lovely poem.
    Do take care!

  5. Sorry about the pain. Sounds like you're handling it, though.

    When you mentioned walking in a little circle and coming back around with an idea, I pictured Winnie-the-Pooh...


  6. With me it's the neck. Had spasms last week - now I'm merely stiff.

    Sitting to work IS deadly! Now you're a midieval scribe.

    Hey, wonderful couple of opening lines - no changes; the rest is pretty pretty good too.

    Thanks for a variety post of real ineterst.


    Comfort Spiral

  7. When I was working at a job that required a whole day of sitting I would find myself totally exhausted when I got home. I felt myself withering away. Being active at work makes a huge difference.