My response to the pandemic lock down was mostly to look around and think, “Look at all this WRITING TIME!!!” I finished Lord Stephen’s book in draft, polished my third Lady Violet mystery (finally sent ’em to the copy editor, because somebody might want to read them some day), wrote a couple novellas, got Ash and Della squared away, and then Daisy Dorning announced that SHE wants a happily ever after…. Wheeee!
And I promptly gave myself a case of DeQuervain’s Disease. This is a big brother to carpal tunnel syndrome, involving tendons and ligaments as well as (in my case) nerves. My left wrist and thumb are quite peevish with me. Surgery is a last resort, and after surgery, you have to wear a brace 24-7 and rest the hand for at least a month.
Being fundamentally averse to surgery, and suspecting most of the benefit to the surgery is in those weeks of inactivity, I decided to splint up and seriously rest my paw. How hard can THAT be?
It’s nearly impossible, for me. I ice my wrist when I’m on my tread desk, playing cribbage and getting in my steps. I wear my brace when I’m at the keyboard plying my trade (half the usual word count). I slap on the wogonin cream when I have to take the brace off to get ready for bed (and then the brace goes back on).
My conclusion is that I have a lousy play ethic–or rest ethic, to use a more grown up term. I mostly know how to work, and thank the celestial ministers, I have a job I love. But the idea that I am Not Allowed to keep writing until all the available scenes in my head are documented, that I have to stop just because I’ve reached a certain number of words…. this is no fun. This is no way to get crankin’ on the book. Whose brilliant idea was this?
So I tell myself, “Don’t be ridiculous. Two thousands words is plenty. You’ve been up since 6 am, go upstairs and lie down, get off your feet and take a break. Siestas make us more productive.” I finally bought a Nook so I can at least read while I’m off my feet, though I’m mostly reading historical mysteries because I need to crack that code.
I have in short, turned into a low-RPM version of the perpetual motion machine that was my mother. Her excuse was seven kids and a “traditional” husband who was mostly away doing big science. Fine for her, but why do I find it so hard to just rest, to indulge my passing whims? If I had to list ten things to do by myself at home purely for frolic and detour (legal term for fun), I’m not sure I could.
But as a kid, I had a list a hundred items long: Make a dam in the stream, look for wild flowers, climb a tree, entertain a cat with some string, draw a picture, color, play toys (usually proto-Breyer horses), write a letter, try to circle the whole living room by climbing from one piece of furniture to the next without setting foot or face upon floor, pick cherries/raspberries/apples so Mom can make a pie…
I need to re-learn these restful pastimes, or I suspect a peevish wrist won’t be the worst of my woes. How do you play? Are any of your play modes left over from childhood? To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy of A Lady’s Dream Come True.
PS: Beckman: Lord of Sins has joined the earlier Lonely Lords at $3.99 in the web store!