I hit stuff. Which is fun. But I like it better when they let me in the ring with actual people. I have fallen in love with a leather punching bag and sit ups. I even accept the push ups and and other torturous ab work. Cause I fell in love with boxing.
Yes, boxing. In a real gym with real sweat and real gloves on. So far there hasn't been any real blood. But I am waiting...
Hopefully I will have my first fight later this year. I can't wait. I am serious. I find the sport a massive stress release, which is ironic being that if you're focus drifts and your head isn't in the game you may very well find that, um... your head gets knocked off. Boxing kinda wakes you up. So perhaps it is not going to be every one's idea of relaxing:) But the training is awesome for fitness and strength... and it is a thinking sport (yes, you have to think, it's not just 'beat crap out of opponent') ...all the more reason to keep you head connected.
I heard somewhere that it's what writers do when they are not writing that brings life to our words.
I am not thinking about writing when I am in that gym. Surprisingly. I am thinking about hitting before being hit. I am thinking about rounding my shoulders, protecting my face and watching for the breathe of a moment when my partner lets his or her hand lower. I am watching the twitches that give away my opponents intentions before the punch is thrown. I am noticing which hand she favors and which punch combinations she uses.
In training I am wondering if I am going to survive another lap jogging around the gym floor, another twenty push ups or if I have any more energy left to put into speed work on the bag at the end of a session.
And if that's all I thought about I'd never come back.
It's not the boxing. Okay, it is, but it's also about the people. Isn't is always about the people?
I am laughing with the guy who wears a shirt that says, "I don't do anger management classes." And hoping I don't get paired with him.
I am silently cheering for the overweight dude who manages to survive every session and comes back for more. I want to hold his boxing bag for him while he punches and tell him I think he can do it.
I am smiling as I read the quote of the day on the white board just above our training schedules that says, "When you're going through hell keep going."
I wonder how Ali felt hitting white boys in the ring. I am imagining my own villains, and wondering what ghosts my sparing partner Steven is hitting out at when his eyes are drawn together and he is clearly somewhere else. We are all there for our own reasons.
And I am wondering how it is that my female coach with chocolate black skin has a name like Vanilla. She is five foot tall on a good day, but hits like a Mac truck. The Power of One said it first and I'll say it again, 'Little' can beat 'Big'. There is nothing too sugary or sweet about that woman in the ring. Yet she greets me with a bear hug every time I arrive.
Dave shaved his head recently revealing a nice scar down one side of his scalp. But he his fierce proud of his newbie fighters. He has never once made me feel like a beginner, even when that's exactly what I was. Even when I tangled the wraps around my hands after being shown a million times how to do it properly. Even when I hit myself in the head defending a punch.
He laughed with me when a beautiful left hook that I aimed at my boxing bag completely missed.
And he welcomes my six-year old son in the gym every Saturday morning to watch and never tires of his endless questions.
I guess I am finding that writing lives outside my office, away from the computer. Because when I get back to the screen I discover I have things to add. Not necessarily about my gym, although I am sure there are some interesting stories begging to be told, but because I have stepped away, lived, breathed, and done something else for myself, I have more to give.
Even if it's just stamina to sit another couple of hours and type.
What about you?
What do you do when you step away from the world of writing? Does it 'add' to the words when you return?