I sold my beloved Herman Miller Aeron chair last night. I was sad to see it go, but the Aeron could not keep pace with my body's remarkable capacity for deterioration.
I sat on the Aeron at an old job and loved it, so much so that I paid $1300 for one for my home desk. But it never felt quite the same. Maybe the one at work was worn in better, or maybe its supernatural comforts were all in my head, tricking me to stay at a job that was sucking my soul dry. For whatever reason, it didn't work out between the two of us, and now the Aeron is just another carcass in what is becoming a vast chair graveyard.
There's lots of bodies buried in there. Kneeling "chairs." Exercise ball "chairs." Ergonomic fucking super chairs. Amish kitchen-table chairs. Adjustable chairs wrapped in felt for traction. Dining room basic-bitch chairs. (And yes, I've tried standing desks, but those are not chairs.)
Of course, no chair can solve my problems. My chronic pain issues go back to birth, so I'll probably always struggle with disc herniations and hip pain. But the right chair can make a difference. Case in point: the Örfjäll/Sporren. It's from Ikea. Of course it is. Why do I bother shopping anywhere else?
I bought it on the weekend. So far, so good. This chair works okay for me because I can sort of hitch my lower ribs over the back of it, which keeps my spine elongated. (That's a hot tip I got from the Gohkale Method.) Plus I can roll my shoulders back, which is hugely important. All sitting is rough business, though, and no chair will ever be perfect. But I'm hoping the simple, common sense ergonomics of this chair will help me power through the winter writing.
Of course, getting up from a chair is the most important thing. Just stop writing every 25 minutes and stand and stretch, Saso, gawd. I also do this stuff called Foundation Training. It's been a lifesaver, literally. The rehab exercises Eric Goodman has come up with -- plus the brilliance of my rehab trainer Nicole -- have made a huge difference. I'm not normally one to spread the gospel, but I see so many people in the world struggling with back pain, especially writers. This program may be worth checking out.
My advice for back pain sufferers is this: Listen to your body, work on your posture, learn how to breath, get up and move, and don't feel hopeless --- you can get better. Oh! And don't spend on your chair what you should spend on your mortgage.
This chair is the chair, man. It has a name: The Aeron. It has three men taking credit for it, that's how money it is. I'm talking Herman Miller. I'm talking Bill “The Man” Stumpf and I'm talking Don Mother%^$*ing Chadwick. It's the "evolution of an ergonomic revolution." Forget cowboys on white horses, okay, it's gonna be a fleet of gnarling office workers riding through town on these badboys that's gonna save you.
$700 and it's all yours, baby. And if you think that's too much green, then I'll chew at you what a hotshot producer trying to swindle me once chewed at me: "If you don't invest in yourself, why would someone else ever invest in you?"
There's a thoughtful review of The Weather Inside in the latest issue of Event Magazine. It's very balanced and I feel lucky that Cathy Stonehouse took the time to consider my weird little book. I was kind of blown away with how bang-on it was. I read it tonight and I was like, um, whoa. She doesn't just get my book, she kind of gets me. *Gulp.*
It's not online, but here's a taste:
"Overall, Saso is a superb writer, excelling in secondary characterization and the evocation of life’s absurdity. She produces so many great scenes, dialogue exchanges and set pieces: Avery ambushing cycling weatherman Calvin Straight on the street; Steve the building manager cooking up Greek comfort food in Avery’s kitchen; Avery visiting her chill GP to discuss her alarming symptoms.... Yet her virtuosity is also a liability: I sometimes felt Saso was either seduced by her own prodigious talent for humour, or..."
To find out her other theory and more (she does take me to task for a few things) you'll have to download the issue. ;) Thank you, Event and Cathy.
I have mixed feelings about this stage of my novel-in-progress. I can see the finish line and I’m loving it. I’ve never had more fun writing something. Ever. And I’ve written a lot of things. What I’m hating about this stage, though, is the fear of death that comes with it.
I’ve felt this before. Specifically when I was wrapping up my first novel. I attributed it to First Novel-Itis. Because, duh!, it was my first novel and eccentricities were allowed! I was hoping it was a one-off. But no. It’s baaaaack. That feeling of being desperate to see something through to the end. For me, the day-to-day implications include washing my hands more, thinking about dying, riding a wave of non-functional sleep, thinking about dying. Oh! And a panic attack when a homeless guy wanders into my office, looks straight through me and says, softly, “Are you Emily?”
Do these symptoms sound like a ticket to OCD City? A pass to Paranoia Park? Probably, yes. But they will go away. They did last time. My first novel came out and I could breathe again. Sleep. Wash my hands less than a surgeon. My book made it! I made it! WE MADE IT!
I think I understand this fear. After years of struggling, I’ve finally realized a dream. I don’t want to lose that; I want to keep living it and doing what I love: which is writing books. Also, it’s an ego thing, of course it is. Somewhere inside I must think that people will read this and like it and make me feel like a Certified Novelist Person. Add these psychological factors to the stress on my nervous system caused by the percussive electrocutions of chronic neurological pain, overzealous sitting, too much Nespresso, and blamo: a recipe for Fear Of Untimely Death (aka FOUD).
I’m not too worried. With some luck, my second book will come out and I’ll return to my normal dirty gross careless ways. And when it’s time for book number three, the cycle will begin again. You’ll find me barricaded in a Vegas hotel room with Kleenex boxes for shoes. But trust me, it’ll have been worth it.
On November 1 at 6pm, I’ll be guest reading at Daniel Griffin's event at Ben McNally’s (Toronto's most excellent, fun-loving, author-supporting bookstore). There will be a total of four writers at this event! Wow, right? Daniel, me, Rebecca Rosenblum and Mark Sampson. These three are exceptional writers, but they’re also very entertaining readers. They really put some muscle into it. Plus we’re just reading short sections, so it’ll be like speed dating! Maybe you’ll fall in love with a new novel, or maybe you’ll drink too much and make out with a book case. Either way, it’s a good story. I hope you can make it!