Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Exercise: Good For The Body. Good For The Mind

I had lunch with my mother yesterday and happened to arrive right before the physical therapist did. The government is giving my mother four sessions of physical therapy, with the last one scheduled for Friday.

Since my mother's idea of exercise is napping, I'm all in favor of her being forced to move her body around. My mother claims she's been doing the exercises on her own, but I have my doubts. I have even more doubts that she'll continue with them.

However, she is 98 years old, so whether she exercises or not, she's done all right for herself.

After I visited my mother, I got an email from my brother, saying that someone we'd known many years ago was working in Afghanistan and had converted to Islam.

I googled the name and found the job part easily enough. My brother must have done some more research to find the conversion information, which, of course, made the whole story considerably more juicy. When we'd known the (no longer) young man, he'd been a practicing Catholic, living, I think, in Connecticut. Maybe New Jersey. Wherever it was, I could spell it without spell check.

Inspired by this story, I decided to give you some homework. Don't worry. You won't be marked, but you might have some fun with it.

Think about an enormous change a person can make. Seriously enormous, like converting from Catholicism to Islam. Ending a bad marriage. Quitting a job. Changing one's name and growing a mustache and leaving the country (a personal fantasy of mine).

Then take that concept of enormous life change and see if you can use it for a kid/teenager. The change would make perfect sense to your character because they've been living their life, feeling their feelings. But to someone they haven't confided it, even a good friend, it could be a real shock.

Dropping out of school maybe. Choosing to live with a non-custodial parent. Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Quitting the debate club or the football team. Trying out for the debate club or the football team. I tend to think in teen terms because I've been writing YAs lately, but my guess is there are middle school or even younger equivalents. Relinquishing a pet (it really isn't a good idea to keep a boa constrictor in the bathtub). Becoming a competitive speller. Whatever it is, it has to be big, seemingly unmotivated, and enough to shake up a viewpoint character.

So that's your homework. You have a choice between exercising your mind or doing ten leg lifts and walking to the other end of the assisted living facility, like my mother is supposed to.

I'll get my exercise by strolling to the freezer and removing two of those peanut butter cookies I took home from lunch yesterday. Just think of it as exercise with benefits!

2 comments:

Tomer said...

> Wherever it was, I could spell it
> without spell check.

BTW, on this topic, there is a good spell check program Spell Check Anywhere (SpellCheckAnywhere.Com). It works in all programs, including blogs-- and it also has optional grammar check.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Tomer and thank you for the suggestion.

I'm away for the weekend, so I'm avoiding anything too work related right now!