my new writing set-upI would describe myself as a deep writer, not in the sense that what I have to say is any more profound than anyone else’s thoughts, but in the “deep sleeper” sense. That is, when I write and it’s going well, I’m pretty able to shut the rest of the world out and focus on little else. For most of my life, this has included my body itself. I haven’t had to think about posture, arm angle, or things like that, unless they happen to impinge upon my ability to focus.

That changed with my back surgery last fall. I’ve discovered, to my dismay, that there are certain seats in my house that are worse for my back than others, and chief among the offenders is my desk chair, or maybe my desk more broadly, since I’ve tried multiple arrangements and chairs there. Among other things, I’ve learned that when I focus to write, I have the bad habit of wrapping my ankle around a table leg, or wedging my left arm a certain way, and when I do that for more than about 15 minutes, I pay the price in the form of hours, if not days, of subsequent pain. And woe betide me if I find myself in a position where I have no choice but to push through and do desk work despite that pain. I spent most of RSA using a cane to recover from the time I had to spend putting the online program together.

I’m perfectly able to read normally now; my habits include shifting from one area of the house to another (or to a coffeeshop) on a fairly regular schedule, and that seems to do the trick. But writing has still been a challenge. After yet another summer where I didn’t feel like I got the writing done that I wanted to, I decided that I was going to try something a little more radical. The picture above is the result: I ordered myself a GelPro standing mat, and a couple of 2×1 cube shelving units.

I don’t know if it’ll work. I already have a bad habit of wandering off and doing a lap of my office in between sentences, and I don’t feel especially comfortable yet, but this is my first blog post written entirely from a standing position. And I hope that, this semester, I can learn to write again in a way that doesn’t make my back or my knees feel like someone has been smacking tennis balls at them. We’ll see how it goes.