We set the clocks back this past weekend. While some people don’t like to see the darkness settling in earlier, I do. For one thing, I’m a morning person and I like waking up to brighter skies. For another, if it’s dark outside I’m not tempted to work in the garden. Instead, I’m happy to curl up in my favorite chair and read a good book after dinner. Here’s what I’m reading right now:
At the gym: The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
On the Kindle: In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel
Beside the bed: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology by Jenna Miscavige Hill
I just finished reading Step by Step, A Pedestrian Memoir, by Lawrence Block. It’s a combination memoir, travel piece and journal of his years as a race walker. I’ve read Block forever (I loved his column in Writer’s Digest). He’s funny and insightful. I expected a great read and I got one. I especially enjoyed his recollection of his unlikely pilgrimage along the Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
As I read the book I was reminded again of that link between creativity and movement, especially walking. Author Brenda Ueland regularly walked up to 9 miles a day (she was a prolific writer and she lived to be a healthy 93). Thoreau would ramble for miles through the forest every day too. Author Barbara Samuel titled her blog after her love of walking (A Writer Afoot:http://www.barbarasamuel.com/barbarasblog and she has spoken often of how important a regular walking habit is to her writing practice.
I walk several times a day with Team Sheltie, often with my partner or my son. It’s never a race walk. Depending on the friskiness of the dogs, it’s sometimes more of an amble. But it becomes a time for sharing confidences, or working through a story problem or hatching plans for the future. Or maybe simply a time to enjoy the changing seasons: the smell of lilacs in spring, wood smoke infused air in fall.
Author Julia Cameron calls walking a potent form of prayer. She says it leads us, a step at a time, and gives us a gentle path. Walking leads me, a step at a time, into my own creativity. Not every day perhaps, but often enough to keep me going back for more.