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Monday, May 9, 2011

Mentally Physical, Five Minutes at a Time

"Mom," he asked, in exasperation more than curiosity, "how do you keep running so well?"

His mother jogged in place. "You have to make all your physical challenges into mental challenges.  You put your lungs inside your mind, and think your way around the path. The same way that you have to make your mental challenges into physical challenges. When you're doing your homework--when you do your homework--just imagine that you're riding your bike, and you just have to push your way through."
~The King in the Window, by Adam Gopnik

The past two weeks have been physically horrendous. My lungs have felt as if they're on fire and an elephant is stepping on my chest, yet it's the medicine I use that keeps me awake even longer than usual.  If I nap, it generally takes two to three hours to fall asleep for one hour, and that's if no one comes in after a while.

When I get up, I feel nothing but guilt. Here's the thing, each day I rise, loving the day, wanting and needing to do so much, having a focused list. When I physically get out of bed, I am wheezing and hurting and exhausted (as I'm lucky to get four hours of interrupted sleep at one time) and everything is thrown back on the burner.

It's a vicious cycle, you know?  Such wasted time.

Luckily, I'm a reader, this keeps my mind structurally busy.  Writers must always read, otherwise, how can they know what readers want?  I rarely read fiction, but the past three years, I've been reading whatever my kids are reading. I love having the commonness and dialog.  

Ironically, the chose some great books, without knowing they've actually met the writers at a publishers' function or a writing conference I've been in, making us have a few more things to talk about.

After the Twilight series, Venice got into Glass and all the Ellen Hopkins' books.  She and I had a laugh when I told her she may have met her through our "Darcy," of the former Northern Nevada Family Magazine (don't ask!).  Oh, how I miss those days, before I was sick.

But that's the way it goes.  I read from The King in the Window about the lungs and making it mental, and though I know it's not in my mind, I love it.  And likewise, I love making the mental into a physical challenge.

You know how I said I was unable to concentrate clearly, unless I was reading? No?  Who cares, it's still true. Anyway, by putting what I need to do mentally, more or less, into a physical challenge, I see the beauty.  Combine this with my five minutes throughout the day, and even the worst days can be more productive.

My primary focus with true crime at the moment, is for sure Lue Vang and Sue Russell's Missing Mondays, which I was working on before Lue went missing. Lue, as you might remember, is a 17 year old from Carson City, Nevada, who has been missing since April 29, 2011.  There's a chance he's headed toward Seattle, but this is not a sure thing.  Wherever you are, keep your eyes open and spread the word.

To work on these cases (and the True Crime Fanatic website), I merely have to take five minutes at a time and instead of thinking of it as researching, asking questions, etc., I'll think of it as five minutes until I can rest again. Five minutes of staying busy, on task.

As for all the other work, well, my lungs are in pain and talking is not really such an option, so if it can't be done via text and email, it's just not happening.

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