Friday, March 20, 2009


Tomorrow I will be participating in a panel at spring workshop for the League of Utah Writers for the northern part of the state

I don't know which presents the greatest challenge: serving on that panel or the chore I have this morning of trimming my toenails. Both challenges present considerable obstacles.

The assignment for the League offers me a chance to talk about three subjects and to expand on one and get the audience involved.

Trimming my toenails isn't as structured as all that. The chore with my toes is ad hoc; I can do pretty much what I want to do, in any order, in any way.

My assignment with the League is more structured. My primary subject for the panel is to talk about "writing ideas" combined with "what to do while writing to keep the mood to keep writing " or at least that's the way I see it.

So I began writing this piece at the same time I began trimming my toenails.

It isn't as easy as you think. On the other hand, it isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I've already gotten three of five toes completed on one foot. I hope I can do as well presenting the material tomorrow in that panel. For the panel, in addition to talking about writing ideas and keeping the writing mood, I have to talk for a few minutes on writer's block and what to do after you complete one writing project about moving onto another one.

Now, with that said, I need to trim a couple of more toes.

It isn't entirely impossible to do both chores at once if you know how to do it.

There, one more toe. And one more. Half done.

With respect to writing subjects or ideas, this exercise is to demonstrate that it is not impossible to write about anything and to do two things at once. Actually, when you think about it, a person at any given time is doing many things simultaneously. Our senses and our overall make up make it possible for us to do many things simultaneously, or nearly simultaneously.

Okay, on to the other foot. The big toe is the worst.

You might think that trimming toes is no big deal, not a challenging job. It depends. If you're a youngster and your body still is lithe and nimble, you would have been done trimming your toes long ago by now, perhaps even if you had to write all this in the meantime. But if you're sixty-one, or nearly so, and you have arthritis and other health problems cropping up, you'll find it isn't as easy you think.

The big toe is the worst. Did I say that already? Its nail is the thickest. The clippers almost won't fit over the thickness of the nail to be able to cut it. Because being older means that I have lost considerable dexterity and because of my arthritis, it is hard to do. I am clumsy and weak and it's a strain. Besides that, I have a paunch I have to reach over or around.

For people who are new to writing, writing can be like cutting your toenails when you're sixty-one, or nearly sixty-one. It is difficult, or it can be. Picking the subject you want to write about can be a challenge in and of itself. Getting the right "idea" is a struggle for many people. But the truth is, any subject is viable, at least for a writing exercise, and maybe for much more than just that.

That's the point of all this. You can write about anything, even trimming your toenails over against an assignment to be on a panel at a writers' workshop.

Even amidst the chaos of cutting my toenails and writing this, I have time to glance outside my window. It is a beautiful day, warm and spring is in the air (It should be, since it begins today.) And the daffodils are out. With this kind of weather, I am wondering who will show up at spring workshop tomorrow. It'd be nice to just take a walk with the dog.

Anyway, back to my right foot. Three toenails to go. Boy, they are long suckers.

Two more to go.

Just one more!


No comments: