to see who the others are.
I am in pain today. I was in pain yesterday. What's so funny about that? Well, it's the old bit of trouble that I wrote about in Writing From Life (available on Amazon as a real or an e-book). My trouble is Writers' Bottom and I'll put the details at the end. Suffice to say here that it's an abscess on the buttock. It turns up every so often when I've been overdoing the sitting down stuff, like writing. When I take it to show a doctor it miraculously disappears. (It does take quite a time to get an appointment.)
So what is there to laugh about? My WB reminded me of happy days at Writers' Holiday, Caerleon. One year I arrived with abscess. One of my gorgeous friends was Maureen (who died far too young). She was a chemist and went out to buy me some ointment and dressings and she kindly administered to me. Now Jane Wenham-Jones was there too and I reckon the following was her idea but she's never admitted to it.
One day I limp into the kitchen, hand on rear, and there they all are. My friends. They have scrubbed the kitchen table and are all wearing some sort of masks over the lower part of their faces. I swear at least one had found rubber gloves to put on, but that may be my imagination. Their idea was to operate. I declined politely and not so politely. Jane later added my bottom to her end-of-week talk.
And, for those of you who thought WB was all about it spreading to obese proportions from all the sitting we do, read on.
A WARNING TO ALL WRITERS
Excuse me for tackling a delicate subject and such a personal one but I really think it should be aired. It’s something not many people talk about and an item that, as far I know, has never been tackled in any How To Write book or article in any writing magazine. Consider this a first. Also consider it a warning.
Writers tend to sit around a lot. We sit and think. We sit and write. We sit and think about writing. Therefore shouldn’t we take care of the seating department? I’m not talking chairs here. I’m talking bottoms. We never think much about them, do we? (Or maybe some of us do. There’s a lot of erotic literature about and the Victorians loved well padded posteriors.)
In the final five weeks of last year I sat down to write my great commercial novel. I’d honed up on novel writing, done my research, planned my outline, knew my characters and was ready to go. In fact I managed 60,000 words. Now that’s a lorra lorra words and a lorra sitting down. It didn’t particularly worry me because I’ve always been a static sort of person, well suited to long periods of physical inactivity. But then, at my halfway stage, disaster struck in the form of an abscess on my right buttock. The squeamish should skip the next bit. It was as big as a saucer and gave off so much heat I could have roasted chestnuts in the leg of my knickers, that is if I was the kind of old fashioned girl who wore knickers with legs in.
I spent ten days lying on my stomach, taking antibiotics and painkillers and being pestered by my minor characters demanding that my second best-seller (the second one in the six-figure, two-book deal I’m dreaming about) be all about them.
Occasionally I tried writing. Doing it in a prone position seemed to be the answer but I soon realised, with horror, that I’d virtually forgotten how to handwrite. Standing up was painful so that was also out of the question. Most of my time was spent thinking, making notes and phoning friends. And here comes the point. Several writer friends informed me that they too had suffered the very same malady when writing their longer works but they’d never warned other writers that this could happen. They’d never knocked off an article on Writers’ Bum, the equivalent to Tennis Elbow and sent it off to a magazine. Apparently, women appear to be more prone to WB than men, probably because the female of the species is more sensitive. I reckon I must be a direct descendant of that Princess - the one who could feel the pea beneath the mountain of mattresses.
Allow me to suggest that, prevention being better than cure, we should all take a daily constitutional in future.
Stephen King used to be my excuse for not taking exercise - he was nearly killed by a truck whilst taking his daily four mile walk. Perhaps I’ll try some local footpaths, as I don’t want this experience again. They should be safe enough.
Anyway, let this be a warning to you. Please take this article seriously. I swear it wasn’t written tongue in cheek.