This morning I found my way to a small coffee shop very close to the gym where my friend Sara is now kicking my behind four times a week, or will be starting today. My new commitment to a healthier me includes a 6am spin class and then a 9:30am Body Pump class to keep me sore. I like that her classes have fallen on the same day as one another, as this makes for a serious workout at least twice a week. Since my employment has shape-shifted again this school year, I’m without a consistent daily schedule to make sure I get to the gym otherwise, so this is something I plan to cling to, nails dug in.
Ten months ago, Sara decided she wanted to be a fitness instructor and after some classes, exams, and waiting for the paperwork to settle, she’s doing a superior job. It doesn’t hurt that she’s in crazy good shape and perky in a very non-annoying, if not kind of inspiring way. And let me tell you, that’s a hard thing to pull off when you’re leading a huffing spin class at six in the morning.
Having successfully gotten through this morning’s spin without the embarrassment of vomiting on my handlebars, here I sit in this cute little coffee shop, positioned next to a wall with an outlet for my laptop, facing the door so I can do a little people-watching while I enjoy my cappuccino. I told a member of the staff that this would likely be a twice-weekly occurrence, me setting up for a couple hours between classes, if they didn’t mind. It doesn’t make much sense to go home, only to turn around and come back a little while later. I’d rather be stuck somewhere because being stuck means there’s nothing I can do except that which I can do sitting around. Sure, I could run errands, but the amount of sweating one does in the typical spin class is not conducive to being around other people. It’s safer for everyone if I pick a spot and stay put to keep my moving around to a minimum, thus containing my area of possible air contamination. I like my little corner and I think this is going to be a great chance twice a week to sit down and write.
When I talked to one of the staff of the shop about making this visit a habit, it was after she handed me a flyer for this weekend’s artist exhibition where local artists will be showcasing their work. She’s an artist, she told me, and will have a stand there. I’d already planned to go and am really looking forward to it. I have a deep respect for people who not only create art, but share it, which is why this blog ever came to be. I would absolutely love to have a body of work good enough and complete enough to put on display, and even more to give it to people who actually want to give me money in return. I am an artist at heart, but even though one would assume the part of the brain that handles creative writing would likely also handle visual art, I have a very hard time focusing on both at once. As I’ve repeatedly admitted, I’m not a great multi-tasker, not even a good one, but it still surprises me that I can’t work on a story and a photo project at the same time. My brain makes a noticeable shift when I move from one to the other, so I guess this is just a limitation I have to learn to work with. Another detail that factors into my lack of creative aggression is the sheer amount of things I’d like to do. Again, too many choices is paralyzing. When my mind starts making a list of items I need to work on, and that I’d like to work on, writing for my blog, writing and editing short stories, submitting said short stories for publication, and doing work for Klett Publishing are quickly joined by experimenting with photography in a mixed-media piece, attempting to combine writing with visual art, and working on putting together a photo book of our time living in Italy. And then I just sit there, blank. Unmoving. Chris is great and listens to my rambling concerns every time, and he actually asks if there’s anything he can do. Really? I have all these ideas, the luxury of having the time and opportunity to do something about it, AND a supportive cluster of people around waiting to help? And I still have the ability to sit still? Shameful.
So I’ll visit other artists’ exhibitions and appreciate their efforts, because not only is this fun for me, it’s a chance to soak up some of their creative energy for my own use. Tonight I’ll be attending the official opening of 'The Turning,' a photographic and literary exhibition in downtown Stuttgart at the Deutsch-Amerikaner Zentrum. Jim and Tiffany from the Writers group have collaborated to put on this fall-inspired showing and I can’t wait to see it. It’s important to support your fellow artists because I doing so you’re not only strengthening their conviction in what they’re doing, but you boost your own need and ability to create. I’ll be getting quite a dose of creativity from other people in the next couple of days, and am so happy about it.
The coffee shop was experiencing a small rush when I came in close to seven this morning but it soon calmed down and eventually emptied out. The next rush was at eight, and now it’s 8:45 and the place is full again with people placing their orders, joking with the staff, and chatting about work and the sharp cold outside. The sweat has almost completely dried from my clothes and it’s nearly time to walk back over to the gym for Sara’s next booty-kicking session via Body Pump. I’m quite sore from Tuesday’s class, but looking forward to round two.
What is it about sore muscles that feels to good? I think for me it's a reminder that they're in there somewhere, waiting for me to pay attention to them again. Nurture them. Thanks, Sara, for 2 hours of pain today :)