A few weeks ago, I found a blog post about a woman who did 300 sit-ups a day for 30 days and her abs looked totally different. I have no intention of doing 300 sit-ups every day, but there was a time when I could, and my core could use a little, well, tightening. So I wrote down the sets and thought I'd try doing them a few times a week to see what happened.
Hubris was mine. I was born with strong abdominal muscles. Even when I was completely out of shape as a child, I could always do more than the required amount of sit-ups in P.E. or for the Presidential Fitness Test. Sit-ups have always been my place to shine. No problem, I thought, to this 300 sit-ups business. I just need to get back in the groove.
I did the sets on Friday around noon. They were hard, I won't lie, but I was able to finish them and pick my ass off the floor afterward. Friday was totally normal.
Saturday, I woke up and was unable to lift my legs. Apparently, there is a muscle here:
I can't even tell you. It's like exactly where my legs connect to my torso. FIRE RAGING FIRE. Do my abs hurt? No. Do my upper thighs hurt? No. Hips? No. Butt? No. JUST WHATEVER THAT IS.
I went to bed last night in fear, because anyone who has ever worked out too hard knows the agony that is the TWO-DAY SORE. It's like your body saves up all the worst of it for the SECOND day after you overdo whatever it was you overdid. I woke up this morning and had to lift my legs with my arms to get out of bed, because there was no way I was going to flex whatever attaches my limbs to my body. I winced my way to the bathroom and found myself massaging analgesic cream into areas of my body I never thought I would and pounding Advil. About an hour ago I made Beloved go for a walk around the block with me, because even though I did not in any way wish to move, I know if you don't, the stiffness mixes with the TWO-DAY SORE and it's all downhill from there. I would like to be able to walk without looking like there is a pole up my butt by 2013.
So I can do my sit-ups again, because anything that brings the pain like that must work like gangbusters! Only this time, maybe I'll build up. Apparently, I'm not 17 anymore. Aging can suck it.
PS: I got the scientific drawing above from the Lloyd Release Procedure, which looks scary. I'm fairly certain I violated copyright law. I'm not exactly sure where to find safe anatomy images. I checked Wikimedia Commons and got nothing. Same with Flickr. Ideas?
I'm so excited to show you the cover for my young adult novel, THE OBVIOUS GAME, which will be published on February 7, 2013, two days after my thirty-ninth birthday.
Those of you who have been reading me for a while know what a labor of love this book was. While there was an awful lot of pain and sweat I didn't write about, I think you saw enough to know there were many days I didn't know if this would ever happen and many days when I really, really wanted to just throw down.
I'm glad I didn't. Not only is this book finally finding its way into the world, my publisher has generously offered to donate a portion of the proceeds of the book (I don't know how much yet) to the Eating Disorder
Foundation, which was recommended by my friends at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver. It's my greatest hope that this novel will not only be worthwhile as a novel but will also help parents and families understand and feel compassion for someone suffering from an eating disorder and offer hope for a full recovery to those who are in the grip of it. UPDATED 1/14/2013: My publisher has informed me they have been unable to get in contact with the charity and are putting this plan on hold until they can hammer out details.
This novel was so much harder than SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK was, and I thought that was really hard. But the novel was so much more personal and so much a combination of craft that I had to learn on the job and inspiration and revisions and rejection and more revisions and hours I could've spent doing something else. I know a lot of writers talk about the pain of the writing process. For me, there is actually never a blank page because I don't sit down to write without a lot of couch time first in which I figure out what I want to say and visualize the scenes in my head. So I guess maybe I'm "writing" when I'm not writing, but that works for me, because I have so little writing time (as does everyone -- how many novelists don't have day jobs?) I have to be getting thousands of words out every time I schedule a 9-midnight with myself after my daughter goes to bed. Usually on Mondays. I seem to be more tolerant of flogging myself on Mondays, not sure why.
But I wouldn't do it if I didn't like it. I love it. I feel energized by it. I love thinking about what I'm going to write next. This is fun for me. Otherwise, I would never put myself through the rejection.
If you're working on a novel, take heart -- everyone feels the way you do on your darkest day sometimes.
“Everyone trusted me back
then. Good old, dependable Diana. Which is why most people didn’t notice at
Praise for The Obvious Game:
"Lovely, evocative, painful and joyful all in one ... much like high school." -- Jenny Lawson, author of LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED
“I couldn’t put down THE
OBVIOUS GAME. Arens perfectly captures the hunger, pain and uncertainty of
adolescence.” -- Ann Napolitano, author of A GOOD HARD LOOK and WITHIN ARM'S REACH
"THE OBVIOUS GAME is a
fearless, honest, and intense look into the psychology of anorexia. The
characters—especially Diana--are so natural and emotionally authentic that
you’ll find yourself yelling at the page even as you’re compelled to turn
it." -- Coert Voorhees, author of LUCKY FOOLS and THE BROTHERS TORRES
"Let’s be clear about
one thing: there’s nothing obvious about THE OBVIOUS GAME. Arens has written a
moving, sometimes heart-breaking story about one girl’s attempt to control the
uncontrollable. You can’t help but relate to Diana and her struggles as you
delve into this gem of a novel." -- Risa Green, author of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF
THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL
"THE OBVIOUS GAME explores the chasms between conformity
and independence, faith and fear, discoveries and secrets, first times and last
chances, hunger and satisfaction. The tortured teenage experience is captured
triumphantly within the pages of this unflinching, yet utterly relatable,
novel. - Erica Rivera, author of INSATIABLE: A YOUNG MOTHER’S STRUGGLE WITH
When we were in seventh grade,
Amanda and I snuck out of her house one foggy Saturday night to meet her
boyfriend, Matt. We spent more time planning our escape than we did actually conducting
We’d made a list while pretending
to do our homework:
Wrap flashlights with black
electrical tape. (check)
Make fake bodies out of pillows
to hide in our sleeping bags. (check)
Booby-trap her bedroom door with
string across the threshold so we could see if her mom had tried to check on
Assemble all-black outfits,
complete with stocking caps, so we would blend in with the shadows as we
Arrange the rendezvous point
ahead of time with Matt: the third-grade playground at the elementary school.
It wasn’t until we’d successfully
shimmied down the fence, jogged the four blocks up the street, and seen Matt
sitting there alone on the seesaw that I realized I had nothing at all to do
while they giggled and kissed. I’d been so caught up in the planning portion of
our escape that I didn’t notice how pathetic my part in it seemed.
I twirled on the swings across
the playground and out of view, once again pretending to be totally cool with
it. The thing was, though, I wasn’t cool with it. I felt about as important as
the guy who wrote the cooking instructions for Pop-Tarts.
We probably would’ve stayed there
for hours if I hadn’t finally strode over to the jungle gym, coughing and
kicking rocks as I went. Amanda poked her head out.
“What’s up, Diana?”
“Can we go soon? I forgot to
bring a book.”
Her expectant smile turned sour. “Okay,”
she finally said, disappearing in the darkness. “Just five more minutes.”
I wandered to the edge of the
playground, thought about turning back on my own, letting her get caught out
there by herself. But I wouldn’t. That’s what friends are for. She knew it. I
Everyone trusted me. Good old
dependable Diana. Which was why most people didn’t notice at first that I was
It's really happening! Huzzah! Let's bring out DJ Nibbles.