The Wild Blue Yonder

Tomorrow I embark on an adventure that I’ve been planning for years.

Lake Chelan sunset(Lake Chelan, Washington state)

I feel like Bilbo Baggins at the beginning of the first Hobbit movie, when he’s running through Hobbiton screaming, “I’m going on an adventure!”

Tomorrow, I’ll be up at the armpit of dawn to haul off to the west. I’m leaving from the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula to begin the trek out to Washington state, the first state on my list of places I want to see.

Most of you know I’m a physical therapist, and I’m blessed to be able to travel my job, and get paid pretty well doing it. I hope to see a majority of the country in the next few years.

In no particular order, the list of states I want to work in are:

Washington (duh, since I’m headed there, right?)

Texas

Massachusetts

South Carolina

Montana

Idaho

Maine

Arizona

Louisiana

North Carolina

Hawaii

Alaska

From these states, I will be able to see almost all of the country because most places will be within driving distance or a short flight if I want to visit another state I’m not working in. Even Canada or Mexico if I wanted.

And yes, I really could go to Hawaii and Alaska whenever I wanted. Awesome, right? I certainly think so.

If I’m ever in your area, I’m going to invite myself over to visit. You’ll just have to deal with it.

I’m looking forward to driving across this beautiful country of ours (for my American compatriots) almost as much as I’m looking forward to actually getting to my endpoint.

And I’m SO excited to see new natural grandeur. If there’s one thing that inspires my writing more than anything else, it’s being surrounded by nature. And a change of scenery gets me on writing rampages.

While I’m in Washington, I’ll be working and living in Cle Elum, which is just over an hour east of Seattle in the Cascade Mountains. Sounds faboo, right? I also plan on hitting Seattle quite a few times, as well as Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, Vancouver, Snoqualmie Falls, Mt. Rainier, Oregon, maybe even northern California to see the redwoods.

Any other suggestions from my west coast bloggy buddies?

“Off I go, into the wild blue yonder, off I go, into the sea!” Well… you know what I mean.

Happy writing, friends!

“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own, and if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”
― Samuel JohnsonA Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

“Everything I was I carry with me, everything I will be lies waiting on the road ahead.”
― Ma JianRed Dust: A Path Through China

New Year, New Job!

Happy Belated New Year to you all!

Although, really, I’m not the biggest New Year fan. It’s just the passage of time to me, and since I never make resolutions on January 1st, the new year sneaks quietly through my apartment after I’ve gone to bed early.

It’s been a crazy few weeks. First, I was horrendously sick, then the holidays, and now I’ll be starting a new job on Thursday!

It’s exciting, but it also makes my life a bit insane around these parts.

The paper work! Gah! The paper work is killing me! Because I work in the medical field, the amount of crap they make you go through to work is ridiculous.

But I am excited! About seven months ago, I posted this entry about becoming a travel PT. Meaning, I would travel the country every three months to a different state and work covering maternity leaves, short-term disabilities, etc. Grad school cost FAR too much, and although I love to travel, I can’t actually afford to do it that often.

This way, I get PAID to travel! The travel company pays for me to stay in a furnished house or apartment, I get money for food, they pay for my travel expenses, for me to get licensed in another state, for my healthcare, my liability insurance, and SO MANY OTHER THINGS!

Since I’m still single and without kids, this is the best time of my life to do it! I hope to see as much of the country as I can in the next few years. I’m beyond ready for this adventure.

I’m also hoping this will inspire my creative writing. As many of you know, I began a MASSIVE re-write of my first book a couple months ago and it is taking much, much longer than I anticipated. I’m not doing any copying/pasting, but am starting over from page one.

The plot and such is essentially the same, but the tone may be a little different, a few characters added/deleted, some settings changed, etc. But my original manuscript was 120,000 words, which I whittled down to 105,000 before I sent it to agents this past spring.

I’m currently at about 7,000 words. Which equals two chapters. Gah! The first chapter was a beast, and the second one took a while because I was sick most of this month.

Nature and travel and new experiences always helps me to focus and write more, so that’s exactly what I’m hoping for.

Anybody have any new job/travel plans this year? Any locations on your travel wish list?

Happy writing!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.”
― Rumi

The Science of Injury – Part Two – Crutches, Canes, and Walkers

SONY DSC

By lisasolonynko on Morguefile

 

We’ve all seen them. Most people look away quickly or stare while they pass.

Crutches, canes, and walkers are more common than we realize.

In this second installment of my Science of Injury series, you’ll see videos and hopefully understand how to walk and use the above mentioned devices correctly.

Since I’m not much of a Halloween fan, I decided against any sort of themed post today, although I guess injury can be a bit of a dark topic at times.

One of my biggest pet peeves in television and in books is when writers inaccurately portray someone with a walking impairment with either the incorrect type of assistive device, or the incorrect gait (walking) pattern while using one of them.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll discuss them separately and explain how/when/why to use them. I won’t get too much into the physics of it because, really, most people don’t care. But at least you’ll know the correct usage of them.

Please remember tips like these and others when writing about characters with injuries. This will be a VERY basic post. You must also take into account any other co-morbidities of your characters, such as: arthritis, anxiety, depression, cancer, history of surgeries, etc, when writing about their injuries.

CANES

Canes are typically used when someone has a minor walking impairment that either has to do with a slight balance or strength impairment, or when they have minor weakness of one leg. Not both. That would require a walker, crutches, or a wheelchair, which will be covered in a separate post.

There are different kinds of canes. Some have four prongs on the bottom, called a quad-cane. Others have four prongs and a significant width between each one. This one is called a hemi-cane and is primarily used with people who have hemiplegia, which is significant one sided weakness of both the upper and lower extremities. This is typically seen after people have a stroke or brain injury of some kind.

Please google images of these canes. Due to licensing and copyright restrictions, I can’t post pictures of them all.

The most common type of cane is the standard cane, which is seen above, with only one point at the bottom.

There are more than three types of canes, but these are the most commonly used. I’m not the biggest fan of the quad canes for my patients due to the physics of the gait pattern and the fact that patients can trip over them if not used correctly. These odds are decreased with standard canes.

Now, for the correct pattern: The cane should ALWAYS go in the hand OPPOSITE the side of weakness/imbalance/instability, etc. Unless there is a problem with the hand or arm of the opposite side, the cane needs to go there in order for the base of support to be adequately distributed throughout the body and the cane. Keeping the cane on the same side of the injury actually causes further weakness and a terrible walking pattern that is hard to break after the cane is no longer needed. People don’t like to use the cane in their non-dominant hand, but with practice and advisement from a physical therapist, it usually isn’t a problem.

As for stairs, when using a cane, you go up with the stronger leg, then the injured side, then the cane. So, the cane follows the bum leg on the way up.

When descending stairs, the bum leg goes first because it requires more effort on the part of the leg on the top step to slowly lower your body weight (times the weight of gravity) down a step. Therefore, the bum leg goes first, then the cane, then the good leg. Simple, right?

A popular mistake in TV with this is Gregory House from the show House, M.D. He walks with the cane in the wrong hand, and just take a look at his gait!! It’s completely wonky! If he’d used it in the correct hand, it would have been much smoother and less cumbersome. Our muscles fatigue much quicker when our gait is incorrect. His muscles were working overtime on one side of his body, and the other side was getting nothing.

Huge pet peeve! Ergh!

Here’s a video to help.

The only thing I don’t like about this video is that the cane is actually adjusted too tall for the patient. I won’t get into how to measure them. You can google and YouTube this all day long.

 

CRUTCHES

Not to be blunt or rude, but crutches are usually used in the younger population. It is rare to see someone older than 50-55 use crutches simply because the sequencing is too complex, or the patient’s balance isn’t sufficient enough to allow them to use crutches. If they can’t, they must use a walker.

There are different types of crutches.

The ones we all know are called axillary crutches, because they sit in the axillae (armpits) of our shoulder girdle. Those are the ones we see athletes using after a knee, hip, or foot injury.

Other common crutches are Lofstrand crutches, which have a cuff around our forearms and handles for ease of walking. These are commonly used in children with Spina Bifida or Cerebral Palsy. However, they can also be used when someone has weakness in both legs. It helps to even out the gait.

Axillary crutches are most common, and there are many gait patterns available when using them.

If someone has one leg that is unable to bear weight, we put the crutches forward first, then swing the strong through for a step while keeping the injured leg elevated. This is an advanced form of gait that is difficult for people who have balance deficits. Hence, the reason older adults and the elderly cannot use them.

Once someone progresses to the point of putting weight on their leg, the gait pattern turns into something else. The crutches are put forward first, then the injured leg, then the good leg. If done opposite, the patient will almost certainly fall because they don’t have the unweighting affect of the crutches to offset the weakness of the injured leg once it’s trailing behind the body.

Typically when using crutches on the stairs, you put both crutches in one hand and hop up on the good leg. Many people don’t have the lower body strength for this, so they resort to scooting on their butt up and down the stairs. Also effective, but sometimes it’s difficult to achieve an upright posture from the low seated position once they reach the top of the stairs.

You need to remember NOT to lean your armpits against the crutches. You could end up with a brachial plexus palsy, which is permanent nerve damage that will take out all the muscles in your arm, and it will be dead weight. NOT GOOD. DO NOT lean on your crutches. Nerve damage is likely.

Here’s another great video.

This one is for non-weight bearing only, but there are numerous videos out there for other ways to walk with crutches.

 

WALKERS

Walkers are generally reserved for patients who have poor balance and strength, but are still able to walk. Or, if they don’t/can’t achieve correct gait or balance for crutches, they are given a walker, which is far more stable, but more cumbersome and a bit heavier.

There are multiple types of walker, but the three most common are the standard walker, which has no wheels, the rolling walker, with two wheels in the front, and the Rollator walker, which has four wheels and a seat for when the patient becomes fatigued.

The standard walker is the most stable since it has no wheels, and is used when patients have weakness of one or both lower extremities, or when they have a weight bearing restriction. The gait pattern is similar to crutches. Walker goes first, then the injured leg, then the strong leg. It is very fatiguing to walk this way because of how much energy expenditure is required to continually lift the walker and place it down.

For patients without weight bearing restrictions, who may only need it for balance and shorter walking distances, a rolling walker is sufficient. This allows for a free and smooth gait pattern and allows the patient to walk without fear of falling.

Patients who require a walker for the long-term who are a little more agile and need to walk farther distances, a Rollator walker is perfect, because they can sit on the seat when they get fatigued. However, unlike the other two types of walkers, this one does NOT collapse or fold for easy storage. So, the price for freer movement is a cumbersome storage requirement.

One other type of walker I’ll mention is one that is used often in children that were born with neurological deficits or birth defects. This is called a Kaye Posture Walker and it looks like a backward walker to the rest of us. However, one of the downfalls of walkers is that people don’t stand upright while using them and it promotes poor posture. If walkers are correctly adjusted and instructed on proper use by a physical therapist, this isn’t usually a problem, but in children, poor habits happen very easily and they’re hard to break as they age.

The “backwards walker” requires the children to use an upright posture while still allowing for stability and support during the gait process.

Two more videos, these on walkers.

 

You HAVE to watch this one! Isn’t she precious? Good for her!

It’s amazing to watch a little girl take steps like that when she probably hasn’t been able to walk for a very long time! Sigh. I love treating kids. It can be heartbreaking, but usually joyful when they’re able to do something that is so easy for the rest of us.

 

Whew!! You made it!

Sorry for the length of this post, but it’s required. Remember, these are the very BASIC essentials of using assistive devices.

Please make sure to research the use of them if one of your characters finds himself in a sticky situation.

There’s so much I had to leave out of this post, so if you have questions, PLEASE leave a comment and I’ll return it ASAP.

Happy Writing!

Can I Help You?

Hello, bloggy friends!

So sorry about the absences lately. I’ve been spending every minute after work and on the weekends packing for my move next week, so I’ve been a little remiss.

Today is Tuesday (obviously) and I usually do Top Ten Tuesday, but I wasn’t really a fan of the topic, so I’m going to announce this instead:

After I move (or around that time), I plan on doing a series of posts about bodily injuries/disabilities and how a person would walk, talk, move, eat, sleep, complain, etc. while recovering from certain injuries.

I know this sounds gruesome, but when your characters get themselves into a jam and have, say, a broken leg, they don’t just hobble around on crutches.

And by the way, did you know there are about EIGHT different ways to walk with crutches? Hmm? Wouldn’t you like to know which side of the body a cane is SUPPOSED to be used? And what if the stitches or scar gets infected? What happens next? How does the character respond?

If you have any kind of medical/physical/movement problems in your stories – and let’s be real, nobody escapes a good story unscathed – wouldn’t you like to know the physiological responses behind them?

I won’t go into all the really boring in-depth detail of each injury, but having a good review of them would help you get into the mind of your character and what they’re feeling.

I’ll be covering a wide range of topics, including orthopedic injuries, strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, other neurological problems, development delays and childhood traumas, wounds, recovery after injury, etc.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know if there is a specific injury or disease that you’d like explained in greater detail, and from a writer whose seen and treated it in person, then leave your request in the comments below.

I await your commands! What do you need? How can I help you?

I look forward to this series and your requests.

Happy writing!

 

“Today we fight. Tomorrow we fight. The day after, we fight. And if this disease plans on whipping us, it better bring a lunch, ’cause it’s gonna have a long day doing it.” 
― Jim BeaverLife’s That Way: A Memoir

“In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.” 
― Oliver Sacks

Ready… Set… ICE!

It happened at last. I was nominated to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by none other than Mr. Wordsmith, himself. 

Thanks, John.

I was actually surprised I didn’t get nominated earlier, but I think most people know that I’m a physical therapist and would rather give the money. Which I did. And not just the $10. 

Now I know some people are crying foul because the ALSA uses roughly 27% of their fundraising income for research to find a cure, while the rest is split into paying for a variety of things, including employee salaries, patient support, fundraising, and education. See here for a breakdown of the expenditures.

But you know what? Although 27% doesn’t seem that much, it’s still 27%! And this challenge is still spreading awareness for a terrible illness that needs a cure – and fast! It’s one of those diseases where you know where you’re headed, because your brain stays completely functional and intact the entire time your body is betraying you by wasting away to almost nothing.

I’ll take 27%, thank you very much. Would I like it if they portioned more of it into research? Absolutely. Are there other organizations equally deserving of my time and money? Of course. But as of this time, the challenge has reached about the 100 million dollar mark. You know what that means? About 27 million dollars will be allotted for research. That’s still a ton of money!

I’ll take it for what it is: a good marketing tool to increase awareness for a disease that’s been hidden in the shadows for far too long. It’s not the only disease I support through awareness and fundraising, but it’s the one that needs the spotlight right now. Others will have their day, as well. It’s logical to assume that not all of the money will go towards research. As much as we’d like it to, we still have to pay people to do the research, continue to fundraise and spread awareness, support the patients and their families, and EDUCATE THE PUBLIC! Curing a disease isn’t just about research, people. That’s extremely important, but there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that makes organizations like the ALSA (and many others) even exist to do the job of finding cures despite nearly insurmountable odds. 

Okay, enough of my soapbox. I could go on for days. There will always be people who try to drag down a good thing. We can’t please everyone. 

So, without much further ado, here is my Ice Challenge!!

I wanted it to be a little different, and since some of you know how much I enjoy the cold, I thought I’d make it doubly fun.

This is me, people. The real me. Not the pictures I’ve posted that I think make me look halfway decent. This is me, on my lunch break at work, with little fuss or fanfare. And it’s awesome! I’m looking a bit Amazonian here, but I’m cool with it. I’m thankful to all my co-workers who helped make this possible: Amy, Shellie, Kristi, Alexxis, Kay, and Lauren. Thanks for the splashdown, ladies!

I was so into the moment, I forgot to nominate the people I wanted, so I’ll do it here.

If you’re reading this post, that means YOU have been nominated. That’s right, YOU! Especially anyone who’s ever worked with an ALS patient in a rehab setting… TAG! YOU’RE IT!

Even if you can’t spare the money (although I don’t think $10 is asking too much), do SOMETHING to raise awareness of this disease and the people who suffer with it. If you don’t like the ALSA, there are MANY other organizations to give to that are deserving of your time and money. People are suffering. Let’s do something about it!

Go and spread the word!

And now… ENJOY!

Bay Cliff – Where Dreams Unfold

Bay Cliff Morning

This lil ol’ picture is not from the interwebs, people. This was taken on an old, crappy digital camera in 2007. The result was stunning, though. 

This is a picture of Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay, Michigan. It’s in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula right on Lake Superior. This was taken at about six in the morning as I was saddened by the fact that I had to leave later that day and wanted to take this slice of beauty with me.

Bay Cliff was, and probably always will be, the best experience of my life. It’s a camp for children with special needs, and they’re there for physical, occupational, speech, and hearing therapy. They’re also there to have fun! Many of the children that attend this camp for seven weeks during the summer are the outcasts in their community and treated differently because they walk, talk, or wheel around unlike other “normal” kids. At Bay Cliff, they make friends, go swimming, camping, have cookouts, and experience things they wouldn’t have a chance to during the rest of the year. While at Bay Cliff, these kids can realize dreams they never thought possible, and Bay Cliff does everything in its power to make those dreams come true. Children have learned to walk over the course of one summer session, after having spent years in a wheelchair or walker or using crutches. It’s amazing what the dedicated staff and environment of Bay Cliff can achieve.

I worked there the summers of 2005-2007, and I’ll never be the same because of it. I was a camp counselor working with 3-5 year olds in wheelchairs, walking with crutches, who were hearing impaired, or had speech deficits. I was basically their mother for the duration of the camp season. And although it was the hardest thing in the world to do, it was also the best.

I’d post pictures of the kids I worked with, but I’m not allowed to per camp regulations. But I can post pictures of the other counselors and I being silly. 

Bay Cliff Arnold Impression

This was in 2006. I’m the one in the padded plaid shirt doing my best cowboy Arnold impression. It’s probably a “you had to be there kind of humor,” but the whole room was busting up laughing at our antics.

Bay Cliff Fun in the Wagon

I’m behind the camera on this one. We never got to ride in the wagons because we used them for the kids, so we thought we’d give it a go! This was taken after the kids had left and we were cleaning up the cabin. Just a small sample of our silliness. 

Bay Cliff Silly Pic

More silliness. These were the wonderful girls I worked with in 2007. Simply amazing women, each one of them. We were being meese in this picture. Moose? Mooses? Meese? Whatever. It’s based on a silly camp song about a moose. 🙂 I love camp songs. If given the opportunity, I’d belt out every single one I know.

And here’s another reason to love Bay Cliff:

Bay Cliff Ives Lake

This is Ives Lake, near Bay Cliff, where the staff go after the kids leave camp. Its beauty is barely glimpsed in this picture. Don’t you love it?

You can visit Bay Cliff’s website here, or like them on FB here and see the amazing kids that come to Bay Cliff and can’t help but put a smile on your face, but I’m not here just to plug this fantastic place. 

My primary objective is to describe how much experiences can impact our writing. Indeed, I think they are what impacts us most of all.

Bay Cliff is the basis of a good portion of my MG fantasy series. The MC, Ava, goes to boot camp, and a majority of the scheduling and organization of the camp is based on the experiences I had at Bay Cliff. Although Bay Cliff is far from a boot camp, it does have a rhythm that helps it flow effortlessly.

Bay Cliff is the most inspirational place I have ever experienced. I’ve been to Paris, which was awesome, but it didn’t compare with the beauty and uniqueness of what Bay Cliff offers. Which is what I hope to explore and share with others through my books. If and when I ever make a decent amount of money from my writing, I’ll donate a good portion of it to Bay Cliff. It’s a plan I’ve had in mind for many years, and I sincerely hope it comes to fruition.

What about you? What life experiences have most impacted your writing or is your inspiration for your writing? Have you ever spent time at a summer camp? Did you love it or hate it?

Happy writing! Bay Cliff in my heart forever!

 

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” 
― Fred RogersThe World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

“It has been said that life has treated me harshly; and sometimes I have complained in my heart because many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me…if much has been denied me, much, very much, has been given me…” 
― Helen KellerThe Open Door

 

Don’t Underestimate Me

Underestimate

I think people underestimate me. I’m tall, quiet, shy, polite, and have a hard time telling people ‘no.’ I don’t exactly look threatening. A former patient of mine said I was as cuddly as a teddy bear. Not even joking about that one.

So I think that people may not believe me when I tell them I can do something.

This morning and afternoon I worked at my second job at a nursing home/rehab center. (Remember I’m a physical therapist). After receiving my list of patients, I was immediately told by another therapist: “Don’t even bother going to see HER before breakfast. She NEVER works with anyone. You can try, but she’ll say no.”

I smiled sweetly at this therapist I’d never met before and thought to myself: “Just watch me.”

Within ten minutes, I had the patient laughing, smiling, and telling me all about where she’d gotten her nails done and how long ago her 50th wedding anniversary was.

Afterwards, the other therapist was shocked that the patient had worked with me. That she’d been wrapped nice and tight around my little pinky finger.

I don’t think people realize just how persuasive and sickeningly sweet I can be. It’s felled many a snarky patient.

But besides that one therapist underestimating my abilities before she’d even see me work, she passed judgment on the poor patient simply because she hadn’t wanted to do therapy before breakfast. Is that really fair?

There is a great deal of prejudice against the elderly these days. Far more than the up and coming generations. We treat them like children, speak to them like they’re babies, and shove them around like a piece of overcooked steak on a dinner plate. No wonder they’re a bit testy! I would be, too!

I’m awfully tempted to write a book from the perspective of a nursing home patient. I know many other therapists who do the bare minimum with their patients, telling themselves it’s okay because they’re old and not expected to do much.

Excuse me. No.

They have more to teach us than we can teach them. My patients in the nursing home love me. I’m going to go ahead and toot my own horn. But they also know that when I come to get them, it’s not going to be an easy session. Because I won’t give up on them. Just because they’re old doesn’t mean we shouldn’t put just as much effort into helping them as a young athlete with an ACL tear. If I believe that they’re going to get better, and I push them because I believe in it so much, then they’ll start to believe in themselves, too. And they do. It never fails.

Why am I ranting about this?

Because I think that so many people also underestimate writers. We get that scornful look when we tell people what we do, as if being a writer is a blight on humanity, and only those who can’t get a “real” job fall back on writing as a means of supporting themselves.

I hate to disparage any writer. I’m sure I’ve done it in the past, but I really try not to. The sheer amount of time required to produce any amount of creative working is immense, and it irks me when we tell these people that they’re not good enough, even if we don’t like their work. That they haven’t contributed anything to society.

Hello? Go ahead and tell Anne Frank (if she were living), that she didn’t make a darn bit of difference in the world. Or tell that to J.R.R. Tolkien. Or J.K. Rowling. Or Shakespeare. Or Jane Austen. Or Charles Dickens. I could go on for days.

Where would we be without writers? Without the dreamers of impossible dreams?

Don’t underestimate people. We can’t afford to. We have no idea what kind of talent and drive we’re squelching when we try and hold people back from pursuing goals that may change the world. (And this goes for writers AND the elderly).

Don’t underestimate me. Because behind this quiet, shy, introverted demeanor beats the heart of a warrior waiting to strike.

Happy writing!

 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia

“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”
― Scott LynchThe Lies of Locke Lamora

“One should never underestimate the power of books.”
― Paul AusterThe Brooklyn Follies

Inspire Me, Please!

Image

All right, peeps. I’m taking a dramatic stance and telling you to inspire me!

Although I have been writing a lot during my free time (which isn’t much right now), I am looking for new and bold inspiration. Primarily in the form of locations in the United States. Sorry other-landers! Please don’t stop reading here!

I may have the possibility in the semi-near future to travel across America and get paid for it. Bonus! Of course, I still have to work, but since I love to travel and can’t afford to do it on what I make since grad school was so freakin’ expensive, I think this is an admirable way to achieve my traveling goals.

What I need from you is an advertisement on different parts of the country that I could possibly go. Each assignment would be about three months long.

I love living in Michigan. There is so much beauty here (despite its downfalls), and I find a ton of inspiration just by visiting cool places here. But I want to see more! I’m greedy. I can’t help it.

So… Inspire me!

Tell me about your part of the country and why I should work there (theoretically in the short term, if it works out). Googling images and facts about different states only goes so far. I want to hear from the natives.

But be warned. I hate being hot. HATE it. Especially if I’m just standing still. So it’s unlikely I’ll go to a southern state unless it’s in the winter. But if it’s only for three months, I’d probably endure, especially if there’s ample inspiration to be had.

And for my non-U.S. blogging buddies, tell me all about your country/county/province/city, etc., and make me WILD with envy. 🙂

Thanks for participating and happy writing!

 

“It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.”
― Douglas AdamsThe Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

“I read; I travel; I become.”
― Derek Walcott

Unlikely Inspiration

Isn’t it funny how people can go through life and never notice little things that we writers find immense inspiration in?

I don’t understand it. It’s not that I’m continually on the look-out for inspiration (mostly inspiration just bashes me over the head with a club and pulls me back into it’s cave), but I can’t help noticing the little details of life that get overlooked by non-writers.

Take today, for example. I was working on a patient’s shoulder (remember I’m a physical therapist?), and I was explaining how important the shoulder muscles are, what they do, and the fact that they’re much smaller than their lower body counterparts. A little anatomy lesson: the shoulder is basically the hip joint of the upper body, but it actually does a great deal more than the hip. And the muscles that control the crazy things we do with our shoulders are fairly small. Especially when compared to the large spinal and leg muscles like the quads, hamstrings, calves, etc.

Anywho… I suddenly thought: what would it be like if the muscles that controlled our shoulders were just as big as the ones that control our legs? If we had muscles the size of quads controlling our shoulders, what would the outcome be? Would the power of those muscles make every single baseball pitcher throw over 100 mph? What would someone like that look like? If I invented a new creature who looked like that, how would people react to him/her?

Well? Think for yourself what your shoulders would look like with muscles the size of your legs instead of the spindly little muscles that currently control our most versatile joint? Can you picture it?

I sure can.

See what I mean? Now all I can think about is naming my new creation, and using the laws of physics, mechanics, and kinesiology to understand how a creature like that would move and be. And how I could weave it into my stories.

How can people not see the potential of a story in the seemingly insignificant details of everyday life? Anybody got a clue? I’d sure love to hear the theories.

You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it. ~ Neil Gaiman