Wednesday writing wire - arranged marriage edition

What I'm reading

I'm about halfway through biomechanical scientist and alignment practitioner Katy Bowman's Move Your DNA, which is a super-duper eye-opening book for anyone interested in health, fitness, and how the human body works. The terms "movement" and "exercise" are often used interchangeably, but this book explains that "exercise" is but a small subset of "movement". Human movement encompasses every move we make, and the forces exerted upon us by our movements and positions and by gravity, even when we're asleep. It doesn't just use our muscles, but every part of our bodies right down to the cellular level. This concept has profound implications for human health; we often talk about "disease" as being "genetic" (often used as a synonym for "predetermined"), but disease can also be seen as the result of the human body reacting normally to the unnatural and sub-optimum conditions we've placed upon it. 

The bad news is that the bodies of most modern humans are terribly compromised by the way we live: sedentary lifestyles and workplaces are the norm and movement has become optional. It's like we are wearing a cast on our entire bodies. (How many hours a day does an office worker spend with his or her arms, hips and knees bent at a 90 degree angle? Not just while working, but driving, watching TV at home, etc?) The book explains in detail why an hour of "exercise" at the gym does not cancel out 23 hours of immobility. 

The good news is that there are things we can do to help restore full mobility and health. The author gives a wealth of strategies for this. Some of them do resemble "exercises", but this isn't an "exercise program" to be done for 30 minutes or an hour and then forgotten as we return to a long day of stillness--this is a new way of looking at what we do and how we move during our entire day (and night), and how to get that immobilizing cast off our bodies.

Egads, I ended up writing a lot more about this than I thought I would--and I'm not even done with the book yet. So there may be more blabbing next week! 

What I'm writing

My rewrite of The Free City is proceeding at a decent clip. Main character #1 has been betrothed in an arranged marriage (as is the norm in her society, a super-religious dictatorship). At the same time, she's gotten involved in a very intense friendship with another girl at school. Her friend is one year older, and will soon leave school to get married. It's unlikely they'll see each other again after that--and my main character is just realizing that she finds this prospect intolerable--and will soon take drastic action! I'm really excited about writing these scenes--channelling my inner angry teenager, hehe! (It ain't that hard...)

Side tangent: I don't think arranged marriages are necessarily bad. My grandparents (on my father's side) had an arranged marriage which was by all accounts a happy one. Thought it should be noted that they did have some choice in the matter (unlike my fictional characters). People warned my grandmother not to marry my grandfather, that he was way too much older than her, that he would take her far away from home and she'd never see China again. She ignored the advice; they married and moved to Hawaii, where they raised five children, farmed and made salt from the sea. Many years later, my grandmother had this to say: "See, you told me not to marry him... and now my son is a U.S. diplomat." (My father, that is!)

What else I've been doing


I went to a meetup for writers at a local coffee house. Never tried doing that before. It was sorta like an arranged marriage... OK not really! The way it worked was, we all wrote on our own first, then got together for introductions and discussion of our writing progress. There were about ten or twelve people there & they all seem like nice folks. Not sure I super "clicked" with anybody, but it was fun & I'd definitely go back.

What's inspiring me right now

The book I'm currently reading (the one I already blabbed so much about above). A camping trip that my husband and I will be doing this weekend. And hmm, a paper bag from Chipotle that has this printed on it: "Often in life, the most important question we can ask ourselves is: do we really have the problem we think we have?" --Sheri Fink.