Joanna's Exercise Manual: Lesson One

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You may be just the tiniest bit agoraphobic on certain days, but if you've been sitting for several hours staring at your CV and your unpublished book manuscript, I recommend that you take a shower.  You may then want to sit on the edge of the bed and stare into space for a few minutes before putting on some comfortable corduroys and the running shoes you bought for walking because, you know, "Maybe I'll take up running."  (Probably not.)  When you're ready to leave the house, impulsively pick up five poems and read them out loud in what you're thinking of as your "new reading voice."  When you finally leave the house, realize that it's almost dinner time and decide to go to a restaurant for a salad and a $5 glass of wine when you realize it's happy hour and glasses of wine are only $5.  Whether you want to or not, eavesdrop on the couple opposite you who seem to be on a first date.  Their conversation will be painful to overhear.  He will be doing all the talking, trying to very clearly indicate to her that he finds her attractive.  She will be sitting very still, wearing her coat, and trying to decide how she feels about it all.  Can this possibly end well?  Pay your check, get up, and walk to the park.  Walk briskly around for 30 minutes, pumping your arms a little.  It may be two days after the vernal equinox, with deceptive sunshine, so that when you've gone once around the path, you are a little sweaty under your coat, but your gloveless hands will be red and freezing.  Listen to the sound of aluminum bats hitting baseballs.  Accidentally do a weird little hop without breaking your stride when someone's half-boxer, half-pit bull seems to lunge at you a little.  When you come around to the baseball diamond a second time, it will be getting just the slightest bit dark and the field will be suddenly, uncannily empty.  Everyone will have packed up and left just that quickly. 

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