Walking is also an ambulation of mind.
— Gretel Ehrlich
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
– John Muir
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
He who limps is still walking.
– Stanislaw J. Lec
I am in the middle of rewriting some action scenes from the WWII novel. One thing working on this book as taught me: I cannot write action scenes sitting still. I have to feel the adrenaline with the characters. Since I don\’t have access to a Douglas DC-3 to crash land for this, that means a run. Walking works for emotional scenes, but for action, it\’s running and the faster the better. With the soundtrack from a horse movie in the MP3 player.
The biggest thing I\’ve noticed in writing books I\’ve read, at least the ones by actual novelists and not just nonfiction writers, is the love of some kind of physical exercise of the rhythmic type, either walking or running. No cycling, no machines, no aerobics class. Not even treadmills, it\’s outdoors, even in the rain. Walkers include, CS Lewis, Tolkien, Madeleine L\’Engle, Annie Dillard, Natalie Goldberg, Terry Brooks, David Morrell, Anne Lamott. I ought to take a poll, to see if my favorite novelists do as well. Or at least my favorite novelists this week, since that seems to be a changeable thing.
I\’m sure Austen, and the Bronte\’s walked, it\’s what they did back then. I\’m betting on Dostoevsky too, at least for travel, if not exercise. I\’m thinking Margaret Atwood as well, mostly because her characters spend so much time in physical motion, that I would imagine she does as well. Besides, she\’s Canadian, which is so much like British, except without the Queen and the accent, so she must walk.
Walking helps writing, it informs is. Talking on the other hand kind of messes things up. Hemingway used to warn people that if you used up all the words talking about a project, you wouldn\’t have any left to write it. I am so guilty of that. I get all excited about something then talk about it once too often and poof, I sit down to write and I don\’t \”see the scene\” anymore. I\’m trying hard not to do that with this new book. Which is easy, since I\’m still in the research and stewing/dreaming stage. It will be a walking novel, not a running novel. And I think my dog is quite happy about that.