While perusing the digital photos that my husband took at my first big book signing, I was distressed to see that I looked rather--pudgy, curvaceous, generously endowed, fluffy--and other gentle euphemisms for fat. How in the world had this happened? I wondered. Hadn't I, once upon a time, been a svelte young woman? Then it dawned on me: I'd basically been sitting at a computer for years. Years of writing novels in my free time, making handouts in my work time. And then, as a break from sitting at the computer? Sitting in a chair, reading. The variety was not in my physical action, but in what I read. I read books for work; I read articles and wrote papers for night school; I stole occasional blissful hours for recreational reading. While I sat at the computer or in my big stuffed chair, I often snacked on whatever I craved. This usually meant something made with chocolate or butter, or sometimes chocolate and butter. At the very least I should have expected to develop gout, not to mention additional poundage.
The other problem that I faced, as a fiction writer, was that I had a totally fictional picture of myself, one that was securely rooted in 1985 or thereabouts, back when I had a killer body. In my mind, I was a veritable Catherine Zeta Jones of the keyboard, ever lovely and graceful as I munched my chocolatey butter snack and dreamed up mysterious scenarios for my characters. So naturally, when forced to look at a picture of me in my new signing jacket (which was sized Grande, a beautiful Spanish way of saying Extra Large), it was no wonder that I said, "Who the heck is that?"
So what does one do? I pledged to join Curves so that future book jackets wouldn't make me look like such an example of American excess. I vowed to get up and walk in between creative endeavors at the keyboard (including my newest pleasure--blogging). But what I'm really fighting here is a lifetime of indolence which has become second nature. Perhaps becoming a writer was my unconscious escape from jogging. But the pendulum always swings back. I need to brush up my public image, which means I have to start jogging anyway, and hope that jogging the bod will also jog some new ideas out of my brain, and I will have finally achieved harmony of mind and Grande body.