Saturday, August 21, 2010

Unintended Benefits of Clarion West: No. 37 in a Series*

*(actually the first in a series, but there will be more.)

I expected to go to Clarion West and whip my writing into shape. I also expected that my body would surely suffer from lack of sleep, the endless hours of slaving away at an overheating laptop, my body sustained by poor choices of sustenance such as Fritos, moon pies and ice cream.**

As it turns out, I lost about 8lbs at Clarion West, and it wasn't due to stress, either. I didn't have a car in Seattle, so most of the time I walked wherever it was I needed to go:  the coffee shops to write, to fantastic Korean hot-pot shops to slurp noodles, to the zoo (with a little help from the bus)...

I probably walked 2-3 miles a day and sometimes more. It made a big difference to my mood, my stamina, and general well-being. I've found that since I've gotten back to L.A. ("Nobody walks in L.A!") that I've been restless without those daily walks.  I'm going to the gym 3-4 times a week, but it just isn't quite the same.  Pushing for more active weekends helps.

My diet has changed a bit, too. I'm eating a lot less meat now--something I've been trying to do for awhile. Some of my fellow Clarionites were definitely an influence -- when you share meals you learn to enjoy what other folks love.

When I posted a couple of weeks ago that Clarion West changed my life, I wasn't just talking about the writing and the great new friends. This is the best I've felt in a long time, and I'm going to do everything I can to keep feeling this way.

**many gallons of ice cream were consumed at Clarion West. You have been warned, future workshop attendees.


G said...

walking is the_best! lots of luck on finding a good groove now that you're back in your natural habitat. (I hear the paddling there is delightful! :P)

(mmMmmm, ice cream.... yum...)

Sandra Odell said...

I miss walking as well, whether it was walking to the library, to the drug store, or to any number of places for ice cream.

Not sure I'm with you on the eating less meat, though. Green things...they just ain't ripe!

JohnR said...

I'm go glad that CW turned into a health plus for you! I took a hit in a few ways: my aerobic peak dropped some and I ate much less healthily and less vegetarian than I do at home. That said, I benefited in ways I didn't expect: my physical therapy progressed--probably due to all that walking! And I actually drink less alcohol than pre-workshop, which still mystifies me!

And like G said: I hear the paddling's good around here. ;)

Lauren said...

You know, when I was in LA so many years ago I walked everywhere. But I am also a freak and didn't have a car. It's possible, if annoying. Nothing like the wonderful walking we did in SEATTLE!

I love this blog post--and I hope you find a way to channel that restlessness into activities that fuel your MIND!!!!

For me, the experience wasn't too different from my normal life, although when I got back I didn't want to get into a car again for a very long time.

Ink Gorilla said...

The real trick is going to be keeping it up in my "natural habitat" as G put it so well.

(may be making more than a few pilgrimages to the OC...) :)

Stephanie D. said...

Great post, Andy! So glad the workshop has fostered healthy habits. I don't walk as much in LA but I do get to ride my bike around Long Beach, which I missed while in Seattle. Having said that, I also miss Full Tilt ice cream. :D