“We’re told that sitting is the new smoking. Well, I’m currently in the middle of a new book so I’m burning my way through several packs a day, Hemmingway style. When my writing is going well or perhaps especially when it isn’t, I sit tucked tightly at my desk for hours on end, not daring to move in case I lose the flow or miss that spark of inspiration that might just light my way out of the hole I’ve dug myself into. But then I come to my senses and realize that what I need to move forward is to, well, move.
There’s a lovely walk not far from my house along an old train track, now replanted and repurposed so city dwellers like me can escape their concrete confines and sample a bit of nature. So, when I’ve sat for too long, I’ll take this walk partly to enjoy the light through the trees, the fresh air and the birdsong, but also for an experience the polar opposite of my work. The feeling of being outside, of movement, does something to my brain and that’s partly, I think, because it’s not just my back that gets stiff from too much sitting. My mind needs a stretch, too, and this walk does just that. It loosens those tight connections, helps me think about the book in a different way, gets me moving again.”
—Mike Gayle, author of All the Lonely People (Grand Central Publishing, 2021)