At the community rec center where I work out, there’s a cheerful, colorful poster titled “I Walk Because…” (you can see it here www.journeyworks.com) Inspirational posters normally give me the whim whams, but the first line of this one caught my eye. “Life is not a race.” How many times have I said that very thing about writing? (usually when I’m past a deadline and tearing my hair, but still…it’s true!) Some of my other favorite lines:
Because it’s cheap.
Beacuuse I’m proud to be a biped.
Because I can check on my neighbors’ gardens (aside: one of my favorite things about living in Cleveland Heights is how many people grow their flowers in their front yards).
Because it’s a great way to meet people.
Because it’s a great way to escape people.
I noticed they didn’t list the reason I became a walker: because my knees hurt too much to run any more. But the poster got me thinking about what an essential part of my creative process the after-writing walk is. After all that sitting, walking is pure pleasure. The act of it unties knots in my muscles and my brain, and it’s a rare walk when I don’t solve a problem–major or mini–in the work. I love turning something so every-day into a kind of mediation, both nourishing and creative. It’s pretty much impossible to feel anxious or depressed while walking, the horizon–or your neighbor’s perennial bed–beckoning.
The last line of the poster is corny but like so many other corny things, worth considering: I walk because every step is a new adventure.
Candlewick is going to publish two more Cody books! That means I will have my first real live, actual, official series! The first, “Cody and the Fountain of Happiness”, with illustrations by Eliza Wheeler, will publish this coming April.