Right Brain, Left Brain

I don’t use existing hobbies as part of my writing because they fulfill a different need. For example, I knit but I don’t write about knitting because my knitting mind is different from my writing mind. My knitting mind is calm and analytical. Sometimes I think about mundane problems while I’m knitting and this helps me sort things out. The act of knitting exemplifies problem solving through tedious repetition and slow progress. My mind while writing is totally different and may literally be using the other side of my brain. When I am writing I think in an excited way and can make big jumps between ideas. Like this…”Hey, wait maybe I could write about knitting. Perhaps a series of mystery books where the heroine is the owner of a local yarn store and each book comes with a pattern.” Note to self. Write that.

I do seek out new experiences to inform my writing. This helps me broaden my horizons and add robustness to my prose. The types of things I seek are the types of things I am not naturally inclined to do. They are novelties. They are things I would never just do for fun if I wasn’t doing them in order to write about them. I can sum them up in one word, sports.

I am not a sporty person. I enjoy taking long walks but who doesn’t? I stretch everyday, but only so I won’t pull something while doing housework. I have thought about doing push ups 1,000 times more often than I have actually done push ups. This lifestyle is ok for me but I admit it is not a well rounded one. I feel like I owe it to society to try more exercise. Who doesn’t want a strong healthy fit person in their cadre of friends when a box needs moved or a tire needs changed? Sporty people are so useful and capable in situations which require just a tad more physical prowess and strength than normal. Also, sporty people seem to be in on some sort of wisdom. They often act at peace, as though they have sorted out some of life’s big questions while they were playing tennis or whatever.

One of the best memoirs I have ever read is “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami. The author is a novelist who runs marathons as a hobby. In his memoir he interweaves thoughts on writing with experiences as a runner. The result is an elegant reflection on creativity and determination.

I am going to go take a walk and get started on writing that mystery series but I would love to hear suggestions on what sports to try next in my attempt to be more well-rounded.

Muriel is the creator of 'Documinutes: 60 second documentaries' and a contributor to the podcast 'This Manic Mama.'

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