June 4, 2009

I was at the gym

Filed under: Backstory — jenny @ 7:20 pm

No, not recently. This was many years ago, before we had kids, and before I realized that, well, I don’t like the gym. Don’t like my prowess (or lack thereof) being on display. Don’t enjoy the monotony of the machines. And really hate the virtually inaudible televisions playing through all of it. Anyway, even if I did like the gym, I can’t afford it any longer.

But back then I could, and my husband and I made it a point for about, oh, three weeks to go each morning, shower, and head off to work from there. Sometimes we even had time for a dip in the Jacuzzi together. All right, there were some cool things about the gym.

Anyway, there I was, climbing up the stairs in an endless flight to nowhere, and looking around vacantly. A book on the floor caught my eye, as I have always preferred books to TV, and I squinted to see it. What a great title! I thought.

Arugula’s Mother.

What could a book called that be about?

After a while–a very, very, very long while it seemed–my workout was done and I stepped down and ambled sweatily over to that book. (Oh, OK, I probably wasn’t sweaty. Rare was the day that I worked up a real sweat.)

The book belonged to someone who unlike me had achieved the mantle of sweatiness, one of those workout people I wished I could be. She was running so hard she didn’t even notice me glancing down at her book.

Which wasn’t called Arugula’s Mother, or anything like it. I actually don’t remember the title, only that it began with an A, which was all my workout-numbed eyes had picked out at a distance. It didn’t matter what the real title was. I had already come up with a story to go with Arugula’s Mother.

And so my first novel was born.

What was the story about? I’ll be back to tell you tomorrow.


  1. Oh, how cool! Don’t you love how sometimes some things work in the weirdest ways? I usually come up with my best thoughts (1) in the bath or (2) on a walk. Let’s hear it for exercise!! ha ha ha

    Comment by Savvy — June 4, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

  2. Interesting, Savvy! I read about a writer who routinely kept pen and pad near the shower in case she was struck by an idea. I’d love to hear some other odd venues. Does it have to do with our minds being switched off at that moment?

    Comment by jenny — June 4, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

  3. Aw, can’t you lettuce in on it now?

    Comment by Alan Orloff — June 5, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

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  5. [...] day I was scheduled to read, I held up the first ten pages of Arugula’s Mother in one quavering hand. My voice shook when I started to read. I had nothing more at stake than what [...]

    Pingback by Suspense Your Disbelief » But you’ve at least heard of Oprah, right? — June 15, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  6. [...] did I love this Moment. Read it and when you get to the first mention of Penryn, recall a post of mine from the backstory column. Are we writers connected by our processes or what? There is an [...]

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