The Writer’s Apprentice and the Treadmill

 I’ve learned a lot since I started this blog, some of it related to writing. This entry is dedicated to my work station. For the last two years, I’ve been walking on a treadmill while performing a multitude of writing related tasks. Using a table leaf that rests on the handles, I set the track speed for two miles per hour. This allows me to work two keyboards and drink a cup of tea while listening to the radio. The latter is only utilized when I’m not engaged in creative writing. Like now. This is a mere recounting of the facts.

I bought a treadmill for one simple, unfitness related reason. I can’t sit still. It’s  physically uncomfortable and kind of boring. The A.D.D. part of my brain adores my new routine. All that leaping onto and off the moving treadmill throughout the day. It’s beeping callback when I take a bathroom break or prepare to leave the house. It’s a stern task master, my treadmill.  It’s constantly teaching me things. Like today.

Today, I took multitasking to a whole new level. I was writing to literary agents, my laptop front and center on the table board, a guidebook to the right, cup of tea to the left. I was also practicing my part for our choir’s musical, ‘Les Miserables.’ I say ‘my part,’ grandly, though for me it means dressing in peasant garb, sitting offside, and trying not get so caught up in the action that I forget to sing. It’s harder than you think. My jaw slackens and the tears fall every time Johnny Bettger sings Jean Val Jean’s lines.

Anyway, adding one more piece to the mix, I rested my choir book on the window ledge to my immediate right. It worked fine until the  moment I closed my eyes, clasped my hands to my chest and started singing Johnny’s part. I was, in fact, praying for someone in my family, and setting my plea to music, just like Jean val Jean. Alas. Praying in that manner does not work on a treadmill. Maybe if I hadn’t closed my eyes. Or was able to hold on to the handles.

In a half second, the track threw me backward and held me fast against the wall. I didn’t have enough room to completely fall off, so my feet continued skidding against the tread while my whole body vibrated in protest. I stopped singing immediately, my ‘God on High’ song ending in a screech. Somehow I managed to climb off, still uttering the words, ‘Dear Jesus,’ but in a more emphatic, self serving way. The good news is, I raised my heart rate, which is always a bonus.

I will continue writing on my treadmill. I will still sing, or listen to the radio. I will pray, from time to time. But I will not do all three simultaneously. And I will never close my eyes again while walking. See? A life lesson safely tucked under the belt, and me still on top, going strong.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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