Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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11. Literary Pilates

My pilates teacher said, “You don’t need a pilates instructor. You need an exorcist.”

I am a famously bad pilates student. In the old days, I would have been in the remedial class with others who were physically geeky and destined for careers in academia. Now, I am mixed in with fit, fine women who have stomach muscles and a refined understanding of right and left.

Building muscle tone is not so much about heavy lifting. It’s about repetition. It is about trying and trying and trying until you get better -- similar in many ways to writing. Those first few pages or lifts, you think, I can do this. A few more and you’re exhausted. Only over time (maybe) do you build the strength to make it look easy.

I am in one of those lazy phases now that overtakes me on the exercise front. I get to the point where I have achieved my goal (ran 10 km) and I think I can give up training and maintain my skill level. I have a sneaking suspicion that I have reached a similar level of complacence on the writing front.

I haven’t seriously written since last August and I haven’t run more than a mile or so in a few years. I need to get back to book number two and the pavement, but I think that maybe I don’t have the legs anymore.

Maybe I should take up literary pilates too. Or hire a spiritual exterminator.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Beverley Stone

Beverley Stone grew up in outport Newfoundland before moving to Toronto to attend Osgoode Hall Law School. Her first novel, No Beautiful Shore, is published by Cormorant Books (2008).

Go to Beverley Stone’s Author Page