The voices in my head are singing Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight by Amos Lee
What I’m Reading: Winter’s Child, by Margaret Maron
One of the most heinous tricks in the Jazzercise manual is where they take a perfectly good song, like Mary J. Blige’s Family Affair, and make you perform unnatural acts to it. The Queen of Pain currently has Family Affair in her set.
Visualize yourself doing this: Put on some ankle weights–about 4-5 pounds on each ankle will do. Get down on your hands and knees. Now, stick a leg straight out (either one, cause you’ll switch back and forth). Move your leg from the hip, and tap your toe out to the side, then straighten, lift, point, lower and repeat. Do this 5,000 times.
Now, with your leg still behind you, do PUSH-UPS while curling your leg toward the ceiling–yep–one of the two with a weight on it. Repeat, switch, etc. for FOUR MINUTES AND TWENTY-SIX seconds. Trust me, it will seem more like four hours. Try it.
On Monday, when I heard the opening beats of Family Affair, I reminded the QOP right off that A) my ankle weights have been mislaid, and B) I DON’T DO PUSH-UPS on account of the built in weights I sport on my chest make it impossible, from the whole gravity and physics perspective. She growled that I could do SOME of them, so I did. Three, I think. It was exhausting.
Yesterday, when the music started, she growled at me that I was going to do ALL FORTY-EIGHT push-ups. I laughed out loud. If she had asked me to run around the ceiling I would have taken her as seriously. I pointed out the obvious, and reminded her that she well knew this was not workable.
“Shut up and do them,” she said. “All of them.”
Here’s the part y’all won’t believe: I did.
Here’s what I learned at Jazzercise yesterday. Sometimes you should just shut up and do it.
At the beginning of class she asked me what I’d been doing all day. “Editing,” I said.
This was true–sort of–in a metaphorical kind of way. What I had been editing (or trying to edit) were my career goals. I’ve been rewriting the same novel for several years, trying to get the first one just right. (As I understand it, some writers put their first book or three in a drawer never to see the light of day and publish their second or fourth novel, and others write the same novel many times until they have it right. I’ve always thought of myself as being in the latter group.)
It’s REALLY difficult to get a first novel sold in a good economy. When the economy is tight, well, it just gets harder. So, I’ve been trying to convince myself that I want to do something else–anything else. I have had zero luck with this. I am a writer. I need to write. I need to publish what I write, because, as Leonard Pitts allows, “…a writer without readers is like shouting in an empty room.” That’s where you get your loons, and Lord knows, I teeter precariously on that brink to begin with.
So today, I will just shut up and do it.
Everything you need to know about life you can learn at Jazzercise…
Well, okay, maybe not, but you can learn to pole dance (which is a good backup career plan–it’s recession proof) and you get an occasional kernel of philosophy.