Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writing Dangerously

by Bethany Maines

Writing isn’t known for being a terribly dangerous activity. Not to say that writer’s in history haven’t faced down terrible physical dangers – Hemingway nearly died in a couple plane crashes, Hunter S. Thompson got stomped by Hell’s Angels – but I think it can be argued that most writers are the stay at home type of people who enjoy sitting still for long periods of time. Other than occasionally chasing sources down a street and tackling them a la His Girl Friday (a classic, by the way, go watch it immediately) the danger most writer’s face is purely internal.

From boredom, alcholism, and writer’s block to children demanding attention, the biggest danger to writing is usually that writing won’t get done.  But that’s not to say that writing doesn’t come with a few physical dangers.  We’ve got carpal tunnel wrists, hunched backs, tweaked necks, and frozen tootsies. The problem with being the kind of people who can sit still long enough to write a book is that sitting still is bad for you.  Humans are meant to move and as our modern way of life moves ever closer to turning us into cyborgs we have to remember to get up, walk around the block, and blink those bleary eyes at the sun.

Which is why my foray into National Novel Writing Month is turning out to be so painful. I admit it, I’ve been slacking off in the writing department for the last few months, but I failed to realize that a consequence would be that when I returned to it, I would be so out of shape for writing.  My neck muscles do not appreciate looking down at a screen for multiple hours on end. My wrists are wondering just what the heck all this typeity typeity is about and my eyeballs are more than a little bit annoyed to be staring at a screen more than they already do for their day job. I’m fortunate enough to know a masseuse who can usually squeeze me in on demand, but that means NaNoWriMo is going to be a very expensive proposition for me.

Well, while I take a stretching break perhaps we should celebrate those author’s who got out there and put some danger besides scoliosis in their lives.

Author’s Living Dangerously:
Maggie Baribieri – Our fellow Stiletto Gang member is still taking cold showers without power post-Hurricane Sandy
Elmore Leonard – worked as Seabee during WWII
Hunter S. Thompson – managed to find a variety of ways to get himself hurt for Gonzo Journalism
Louis L’Amour – worked as professional boxer
J.R.R. Tolkien – served in WWI
Lillian Hellman – forced to testify before the House Un-American Committee about her “Communist” ties

Bethany Maines is the author of Bulletproof Mascara, Compact With the Devil and Supporting the Girls.  Catch up with her at or check out the new Carrie Mae youtube video.


  1. And Maggie just got power today--finally! Yay!

  2. Hope you guys weather this newest storm okay!

  3. Oh Bethany, my aching scapula hears you and echos the thought! Here's to pain free writing, if there is such a thing!