Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Learning to walk again

Since I started working out at the gym I've been getting more and more nagging injuries. First my foot started hurting so much I was on a cane for two weeks. Then an old wrist injury started acting up all the time. I strained some muscles in my chest so much I couldn't sleep for two days and this week my knees feel arthritic when I walk down stairs.

So today when Trainer made me do squats and I couldn't finish them because my knees hurt too much, he taught me how to walk.

Apparently I've been standing wrong, walking wrong, climbing stairs wrong, sitting wrong. When I walk up stairs I never put my heel down. When I walk down stairs I land on my joints, not my muscles. When I stand I lean and slouch on one foot, and when that foot gets tired I rest my upper body on my wrist.

All my weight is supported completely wrong and always has been, and only when I started getting stronger and more athletic did it start to cause me problems. That, and I got older.

So now when I stand and when I walk up and down stairs I have to concentrate like a little kid learning to move.

And it got me thinking - how often do we learn the wrong way by instinct? How often do we think we know something so well, and it turns out we've been doing it wrong all along?

We tend to be so used to the way we do things that we refuse to change when something's not working and it ends up crippling us.

I think this applies to writing too. I think whatever way we first learn to write - that's how we think we have to write forever.

I can't tell you how many essays I've read that began with a question, or how many stories I've read that began with an unattributed quote. Someone, somewhere taught my students that you should open with a question or a quote so they just keep on using that method until the end of time.

You could say the same thing about the Syd Field method, I think. Some people learn the three-act structure and that's what they stick with until the end of time. Some people start with McKee. Some people adore Blake Snyder. And all of these men are perfectly intelligent men with well developed theories that work for beginners, but I feel sometimes like there are writers who don't know how to move beyond the way they learned in the beginning.

I'm not sure if this applies to me or not, but I haven't changed my process too much so I'm going to think about giving it a shot and see what happens.

That's just sort of one of the things I started thinking about after I got annoyed from having to focus on climbing stairs.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, you're not alone, ALOT of people don't walk properly. People always say, don't creep up on me, but I'm not. I just don't stomp, or shuffle; I walk. Also to note is that different types of footwear require different types of walking. Mostly because of the sole, in both flexibility and angle, and also the stiffness of any ankle support. The good news is, like driving, or riding a bike, it will become automatic and no longer require much if any thought.

    But yes, we all learn bad habits, and they are annoying to break, but possible to correct with effort. Yes, I still have bad habits to break. Isn't it interesting that we don't really notice them until they hurt.


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