Turning Words on Their Head

A few weeks ago, I attended an amazing yoga workshop on inversions, specifically shoulder stand, tri-pod, head stand and hand stand. Although I’m very comfortable with shoulder stand and tri-pod and decent at head stands, the mere thought of a hand stand made my stomach lurch.

There’s nothing natural about a hand stand. It’s a scary thing for me to just throw my legs up in the air while balancing only on my hands and the wall behind me. What if my feet don’t find the wall? What if I buckle at the elbows? What if I collapse off to the side? What if I hurt my wrists? My head? But I find that if I can just push through my fear, my body is better for it. The reward is a new, fresh perspective on making myself the healthiest and strongest I can be.

Getting up the courage to complete the second set of revisions to my novel has been a lot like getting up the courage to do a hand stand. I’m afraid of what I will feel. I’ve devoted, what, ten months of my life to this book? Will I hate what I’ve written? Will I realize that a story line is no good? Will I need to ax a scene I’ve poured my heart into? Like hand stands, I’m so scared of what I’ll feel, that I just don’t do it. Right now, I’m 80 pages into revisions of a 240ish page novel. But I could be further along. I spend so much time staring out into space, wondering about what the end product needs to look like that I don’t put myself in the position to actually finish it. For example, I keep trying to find new and inventive phrases to describe crying. “Tears sprung from her eyes.” “Her eyes moistened.” “Tears dripped down her cheek.” (All of them now sound awful to me. Maybe my problem is that there is just too much damn crying in my novel.)

But I need to stay the course, throw the words up in the air, and hope they find their balance, their support, and root to the page like starfish hands to the floor.

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