Standing Up For The Write Thing

I admit it, I’m part of the standing craze.  Yep, just one more weirdo thing I do.  It definitely works for me.  I’ve always been a pacer and this just gives me an opportunity to get to that habit more quickly.  I also notice that I can keep my focus longer if I’m standing while I write.  Yes, I’m standing right now.  I thought I’d share this article with you though- apparently standing is not everybody’s cup of cold brewed coffee.  Do you stand when you work?  Let me know!  ~TH~

Join in the standing craze? Nah, I’ll sit this one out.

“Stand up, if you want to live.” This seems to be a theme, lately, among health writers. If you stand more and exercise more, you will be healthier than if you simply exercised more. Stand up. Stand up right now. Keep standing up. Write everything standing. It lengthens your telomeres and, as far as we can tell, lengthening your telomeres is the way to immortality. They are like the little protective plastic thingies on the shoelace that is your DNA. Well, I won’t stand for this. We are fortunate to live in an era where comfortable chairs exist. For thousands of years, this was not the case. Our ancestors did not suffer and have to come home from long days of hunting mammoths in order to sit on a big rock so that we could deny ourselves the comfortable chairs they would have killed to possess.

Yes, there is a long history of standing.

“Nothing conduces to brevity like a caving in of the knees,” as Oliver Wendell Holmes liked to say, explaining why he wrote opinions while standing up. Then again, Vladimir Nabokov wrote standing up, and I wouldn’t call “Lolita” brief. ( Well, admittedly, he started off writing standing up, then concluded the day writing lying down, and he did it all on index cards, he told Playboy.)

“I generally start the day at a lovely old-fashioned lectern I have in my study,” Nabokov said. “Later on, when I feel gravity nibbling at my calves, I settle down in a comfortable armchair alongside an ordinary writing desk; and finally, when gravity begins climbing up my spine, I lie down on a couch in a corner of my small study.”

Victor Hugo also wrote standing up. I can barely read “Les Misérables” standing up, let alone write the thing, which must have involved a great deal of staring out the window wondering how to make a singing orphan more winsome. That strains the knees.

Maybe he knew what he was doing. Then again, it is generally unwise to latch on too tightly to the habits of famous writers and creative types. Otherwise you would fill your apartment with perfumes and loll around in a bathrobe letting them wash over you ( Wagner apparently did this) or spend a good deal of time sitting around nude letting the air wash over you, like Ben Franklin did. And he lived a very long time.

Well, you will probably say, writers and creative types have strange routines and should not be listened to. But if something is proven by Science to lengthen your life, why not go for it?

To this I say that I have long suspected that all people who reach a certain age are inducted into a vast conspiracy (like the Illuminati, but wrinklier) where, whenever any researcher asks What It Is They’ve Done To Live So Long, they say, with a straight face, something completely and totally ridiculous. “I eat onion sandwiches,” they say. Or, “I jump into a frozen pool every morning at dawn” or “I hire a man to come wrestle with me in the afternoons” or “Me, I like to fell pines.”

I think it was Twain who found it suspicious that the people who recommended these grueling routines were always such hearty types. One had to be, he thought. Those regimens would kill anyone else who tried them.

And that’s how I feel about all this standing. It’s all very well, in theory, to stand all the time and lengthen your telomeres and become functionally immortal. But have you actually tried it? I can stand for bursts, intermittently. But when it comes to standing I am a sprinter, not a marathoner. My two-minute stand is something to behold. I can stand as long as I know that eventually I will be able to sit down. That thought is what sustains me.

Well, you say, more people have died lying down or sitting down than standing.

True enough. The only person I know who died standing was Branwell Bronte, who died leaning on a mantelpiece because he wanted to prove that he could do it. But we can all agree that this was stupid.

Standing more lengthens your life. Maybe, if we were really good about it and stood up all the time, we could get to be immortal. But who would want to be immortal if you had to stand up all the time? That, to me, is a fate worse than death.

In conclusion, I’m not going to stand here and take this. I will take this, as I prefer to take everything, sitting down. Comfortably.

2 thoughts on “Standing Up For The Write Thing

  1. As a matter of fact, I have found that standing to type (on a real typewriter) is a lot easier than sitting to use a computer keyboard. There is a certain “piano virtuoso” aspect for me, with dramatic hand motions, which a computer just doesn’t appreciate.

    Health benefits aside, I find that staying on my feet makes me available to step away, refill my coffee cup, and pick up where I left off without having to stand up and sit down.

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