So many things I could write about today. I had planned to write about my gingerbread house. Then I thought maybe I should share my cobbled together goals for the new year and how I arrived at them. But on the evening of December 27th something happened. I slipped on my stairs at home, and broke a bone in my foot.
I’ve never broken a bone before. How boring to break myself by slipping on stairs, especially stairs at home. Why couldn’t I have been hang gliding or fencing or ice skating? Probably because I don’t do those things. Plus pandemic.
Should I be living a more adventurous life? I’ve certainly done more adventurous things in my past than I typically experience these days. But I will admit I’ve never been one to seek out thrills. I avoid rollercoasters and speed with equal determination. At least when I broke my foot I could easily get to my couch. Had I been away from home, the drama would have been more intense, I’m sure.
But I would have had a better story to tell. I am taking notes though. One of my poor characters may be facing a broken bone in some as-yet-to-be-determined future. You can bet they’ll have a better story to tell than I do.
Things I Learned From My Doctor
A broken bone typically takes two months to heal.
Writer thoughts…Is this true for all bones or just small ones? Does this vary with age? fitness level? If my character is trudging through a jungle or climbing a snowy mountain, what will they have to do to keep moving? How will this affect recovery time?
After six weeks, the bone should be healed enough for me to stop wearing my boot.
Writer thoughts…Six weeks—so to get the most mileage out of my character’s injury, it should happen fairly early in the story, or very late (when the trauma can contribute most to the drama.)
After four weeks, I may find I can walk without the boot, but I should keep wearing it anyway.
Writer thoughts…Hmm. So a character could think they’re healed, but be highly susceptible to re-injury at this point…
Breaking my foot seems stupid and senseless and leaves me without even a good story to tell. But it is still disruptive to my quiet little life. I’ve moved office, bed and vitamins to the living room couch, at least for now. My lovely studio, which is an entire staircase away, will be collecting dust for awhile. As I make plans for 2021, I find myself hesitant to look forward. Getting a prognosis of six weeks to recover has helped though. It frames the broken foot into a given amount of time. And, luckily for me, writing does not depend on being mobile.
So I’ve continued to write. I’ve accepted that I’ll be taking a break from dancing and working out. I’m considering strategies to avoid a self-pitying six-week eating binge. I’m reorienting myself to new circumstances, a different set of rules. It seems a fitting way to end this year of pandemic and protests and politics. The end of 2020 gifted me one more limitation in a year of limitations.
The truth is that creativity thrives on limitations. Being constrained allows us to see possibilities that we would not otherwise notice. So I will try to pay attention, to learn, to create in new ways. Maybe next week I’ll have some 2021 plans and dreams and bullet journal spreads to share with you. Maybe I’ll show you what an amazing job my daughter did decorating our gingerbread house.
For now, I hope that as you enter the new year you are finding ways to live fully, no matter the limitations you may be facing.
“Nothing bad can happen to a writer. Everything is material.”
— Philip Roth
Happy New Year! Heal well!
Love that—so true :o)