For those of you who have written a book, you know that it takes a lot of mental and emotional exertion. Sometimes, it can be even more tiring than physical labor—at least that is how I have found it to be. You can get “stuck” in your head, with all kinds of thoughts swirling around, reviewing concepts over and over, trying to find just the right string of words to make the sentence cogent or spin an idea to make it alluring or persuasive. It is a lot of work. Continual effort and attention to a particular task can easily fatigue you, and it can certainly cause you to lose your concentration. It also causes your work to become clumsy, or even worse, boring.
For my book, not only did I write the Introduction, Afterword and my own memoir, but I organized the whole project including gently but firmly shepherding each author into telling her life story and crafting and re-crafting each memoir to be accessible and interesting to a mainstream readership. It took years of concentrated effort before it finally it all came together into the cohesive package that it is today, and I had to learn to pace myself to survive the arduous mental process.
I needed a way to get out of my head and into my body. I needed some “movement
therapy” to counteract the hours and hours I spent at the computer thinking, writing and editing. One of my most fun therapies was (and still is) Zumba—a Latin dance aerobic fitness program that originated in Colombia and is sweeping cities across the U.S. My Zumba class is more like a dance party than a fitness workout. And our instructor, Martha Hubbell—a native of Colombia, South America—is a high energy, inspiring, fabulous dancer and instructor that helped me dance my worries away. And for this I have acknowledged her in my book. For me, Zumba has become therapy for the soul where I let go of mental fatigue and Salsa myself into shape. My classmates and I have formed a Zumba tribe in which we laugh, dance and party together to get happy and stay healthy several times a week. It’s a blast!