A writer's body
This has partly been a summer of mending. I was struck even as a relative youngster how physically gruelling writing can be, you wander off creating alternate worlds while your body's crabbed in this one. On finishing an early novel, literally the moment of putting down the pen, my legs gave in and I couldn't stand or walk for a couple of days.
Down in Plymouth I brought an acupuncturist, known as the Great Tang, into the game of reclaiming my body. As moxa burned down onto the needles sticking out of my feet he told me of his own novel. Unless you're a celebrity, he told me, to have your book come out in china you have to pay the publisher. He finished this first novel of his, a globe-trotting romance, during the course of treatment and had already published it online. Get a name that way, he says, and you have a real chance. I was touched by his dedication and self-belief, both vital assets.
As a farewell to Plymouth I took a cold dip in the Tinside Lido. Now my body's in London, and a young Thai woman on the Finchley Road has had a valuable turn at flipping and hammering it into shape in the massage tradition of Wat Po. It seems my body was tighter than any she's known. When it came round to my shoulders, she was ready to give in.
If you can't lodge your tension in your shoulders, where can it go? What's a writer to do?