From the get-go, I should probably explain that I plan to title all of November’s blog entries this way, all the way to the last day of the month, when all this madness ends. This does not necessarily mean that every entry will be writing-related. It is more a way of keeping me on task, and the blog entry is a self-reward for getting an evening of prose successfully written.
I’ve never been a big fan of the whole mens sana in corpore sano idea. I have always had zero interest in athletics, and was always the last one chosen for teams in phys ed, so at an early age, I developed the idea that there was intellect, and there was athleticism, and never the twain shall meet.
Today, I wondered for most of the day about the corpore sano idea. Late in the morning, I did my 10-story down and up climb for the first time in about two weeks. I did it solo. The person who introduced me to it will be having hip replacement surgery at the end of the week, and he has said he won’t even attempt it until after the first of the year. The other person who walks the stairs with me (I came close to typing “runs,” as if that will ever happen with me!) was nursing a hangover after a too-fun weekend.
I did the steps, from the 10th floor all the way down the first and back up. The experience gets less fun on the return trip, and I never have felt time drag as slowly as it does then. The big 10 painted on our door is usually the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen that day.
Today was different. It’s not unusual for me to be panting and almost staggering once I come back through the door; my co-workers are used to it, and when they hear me panting and breathing heavily, many don’t even bother to look up from their work.
I stumbled back to my pod and began gulping water, which is usually my first post-stair climb activity. That was when the coughing started, a loud dry cough that I could not shake for the rest of the day. It was loud and persistent enough that more than one person looked over, very concerned, and one even suggested I should go home.
Our supervisor is a registered nurse, and she thinks that there may be something in the stairwell’s air. The stairwell gets no ventilation except for the brief periods when a door is open, and the air is usually pretty stale. She suggested I may have inhaled some fine material (not asbestos; the building is only about 25 years old, and builders had stopped using asbestos by then), and the cough was my body’s way of trying to get rid of it.
I did my two-mile walk, despite the coughing and the pain the coughing was producing. Even though the temperature was in the upper 50s, I decided to do my inside walk through the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Convention Center. I was thinking in worst-case terms. Was this more than a cough, and if I was being foolhardy to attempt the daily walk, the carpeted floors and nearby furniture would be better should I find myself unable to continue.
I made it back to my desk at 1:30, and the cough stayed with me, although with lesser intensity. I did try to stop it with several bottles of Snapple and several ounces of water, but by the end of the day, only a deep breath would trigger it.
The writing is proceeding at a good pace. It would require at least 1667 words per day to reach the NaNoWriMo goal of 50 thousand words, and tonight I managed 2061. I am still describing my first in-person meeting with Robert Lowry, and am still on Chapter I. I have touched briefly on The Little Man, which was the literary magazine (and small press) that Lowry began during his year as a University of Cincinnati student.
I am reconstructing dialogue from 24 years ago, and trying to remember facial expressions and Lowry’s exact turns of phrase. I had been a rather lax diarist in those days, so I am reconstructing mainly from memory.
My intention is for this to be a memoir about Lowry, not a definitive biography. Like any memoir, the memory of the author is often fluid, not recording exact and objective data like a DVD. If anything, memory is more like a mega-gigabyte hard drive with a reader that is skipping all over the place.