So my day job (which I enjoy) involves sitting in front of a computer for 8 to 8 and a half hours. Then I come home and write books in front of a computer for another couple of, few, several (pick one) hours. I have an occasional job through Odyssey Critique Service which involves me sitting in front of the computer. And then there are the other things that arise–reading Alpha stories for the teen workshop, communicating and brainstorming with distant friends, social media, what have you. Basically, my life is like that fortune cookie game, except instead of ending every sentence with “in bed”, you end it with “in front of the computer”.
The result of this time spent before the screen is not surprising. I have borked my neck and back. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how often I get up and walk around during a work day/writing session/etc., I’m still sitting in front of the computer for the vast majority of my hours.
So I’m trying to make sure I spend time doing other things. I’m cutting back on book writing hours, which bites, but are the only hours I can actually control. And how much work can I get done when my neck and back are spasming anyway? Not a lot, let me tell you.
I’m working out the damage I’ve done with PT and stretching and all that jazz, but that leaves me in this weird limbo. Right now, I can’t shift over a few hours to “exercise” because my body can’t handle it. Gentle walking is about as good as it gets.
But I’m determined to stay active. Right now, that comes down to two hobbies: gardening and… cookies.
Nonsensical as it sounds, there’s a lot of exercise involved in cookie baking. You can’t sit while you make cookies. There’s bending and stirring and stretching and going up and down step stools to reach ingredients and crouching to dig out the tools I need, (at least in my crowded to capacity kitchen), as well as the inevitable clean up. A batch of cookies can keep me moving on my feet for an hour or more.
And in the end, there are cookies and a house that smells delicious.
Tonight’s cookies are the Triple Oatmeal cookies from Stella Parks’ BraveTart, which is a delightful book to read for those of you who like reading cookbooks. I loved her Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter cookies, which I made last time, but this recipe may be a miss. It’s too sweet for my tastes. Oh well, the hobby is in the baking, not the eating.
Since I can’t give the internet at large my surplus of cookies, I’ll give you a writing cookie instead: a snippet from the novel (working title: Ring of Stones) that I’m revising.
Ferrus Loth shrugged off his heavy boarskin coat as he entered the Cavenner family lodge. It might be spring but that didn’t mean much when ice still sailed the river swells, blown by a brisk wind. Once inside the lodge, the heavy door pressed shut behind him, the wind’s complaint cut off. He left his damp coat draped across two stag’s heads lining the stone walls, and moved on, boots thudding softly against thick-laid rugs, some new woven and plush, others so old and delicate that laying them on the floor was a quiet declaration of status.
Behind him, the lodge majordomo, Lugh Casteil, complained about Ferrus’s imprompto coat rack, but Ferrus’s feeling was that if you hung antlered heads in an entryway, you had to expect people to leave their coats and hats and scarves there.