I have spent pretty much all of last week in pain. Thankfully, not on my wrist, which is a much more worrying kind of pain. No, this pain has been pretty much entirely focused on my lower body. There’s no new injury, just trying to fix a very old one. You see, around 2009, 2010, somewhere around there I had two different, unconnected and malingering injuries on my feet, one on my ankle and the other on the big toe. The point is, that to avoid the pain in both, I wound up subconsciously walking with slightly splayed feet. I tried to follow the advice from my doctors to walk as normally as possible, but as it turns out, you need to pay a LOT of attention to your walking if the correct step causes you pain. Now, over a decade later I’ve been trying to correct the problems caused by those injuries. And I’ve been doing it since September. This past weekend, I had an epiphany that I think is also applicable to kind of everything.
The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone
So my splayed feet caused my shins to go tense which caused my thighs to go stiff which caused my buttocks and lumbar region to go stiff which caused my pelvis to tilt forward, which started the whole chain going back down again. Discovering this obviously made me think of novel revision. I mean, these days, what doesn’t? But I promise there’s a point. Just like on our bodies, all the elements connect together. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m doing Elana K Arnold’s Revision Season this late winter and spring and she has this great metaphor of thinking of your manuscript as a body. The characters are the heart and circulatory system, the plot the bones etc. So maybe I’m in a place where I’m already primed to think of bodies in connection with
The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone
Written fiction is such and interesting thing. For something to get to you, it needs to have the elements of character, theme, plot, setting and all the good things coming together to form a whole. A spider-web of intricate connections, if you will. Changing one thing will change all the other things. Context matters and all that good shit. And doing that work is painful. Instead of a week of pain here and there, it’s weeks and weeks of pain. But at the end of all that pain you’ve got a novel with nicer pacing and a smoother gait. Or maybe that’s just me and running.
All this to say that I am deep in the weeds of novel revision. What are you working on, dear reader?