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"I write with my whole body. It's best if I'm alone because surely I look like a maniac. Forget coffee shops. Librarians have eyed me warily. Even though I don't write longhand, I still have a physical relationship to the process of writing. I tap, sway, and chew through sentences. (Gum is handy; otherwise I'll gnaw through pen caps.) I stand up, pace, sit, dither, and bounce. I bob my head. I open doors and windows. My tongue is always out. It is not a solemn process. It is not graceful or serene or pretty. Writing is wild. Frenetic. Maybe I am forcing blood to the brain. Maybe I am pulling images from air. Maybe it's my way of finding and harnessing rhythm. In any case, there must be something to it because I can't write in any other way. Moving my body keeps my brain focused and awake. I think I must look the way small children do—all that uncontrollable energy sending them into spasms. I don't generally move through the world like this, thankfully, but I suspect it helps me tap into something more primal and unkempt, which resonates with the gut love I have for this work."
Jessica Hendry Nelson is the author of If Only You People Could Follow Directions (Counterpoint Press, 2014)