Just Sit There

Monday I returned to my writing desk after having been away for more than a week. It felt awful. Worse than when you start running after you haven’t run in years. Worse than being hung over. Worse than … you get the idea.

What do you do when you arrive at the easel or the writing desk and you feel sluggish, rusty, awkward, uncomfortable, without muscle tone, and like you don’t belong?

What do you do?

I learned (again!) this week that the only choice you have is to Just Sit There.

Feel stiff. Feel awkward.

Do not check email. Do not read a magazine.

You may look out the window. You may pick at your split ends.

You may not do laundry.

You could light a candle.

Feel bored. Feel restless. Set a timer for how long you’ve got. 2-3 hours is good.

Eventually, you will pick up the pen or the paintbrush and do something. And that something will lead to something else. When the timer rings, you can stop but you can’t stop before the time is up. And you must show up tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

I did this all week. Feeling uncomfortable, restless, awful. Until today. I started writing before I even left the house. My brain felt oiled. My hand moved fluidly. I wrote at the bus stop, I wrote on the bus, I continued at my office. For almost 3 hours, you couldn’t stop me. I’m back.

I’m going to do this every day for as long as I can because I remember too well what it feels like to be out of shape. I didn’t like it. I will avoid it at all costs.

Jeune fille brune, assise, by Amedeo Modigliani, Oil on canvas, 92 x 60 cm, 1918, Musée Picasso, Paris, France.