Relationships with…inanimate objects?

Okay, bear with me.

I was in a bit of a fuzz this morning. All day I pondered what to blog about, considering the other Mysteristas have had such wonderful things to say on the topic of relationships.

People? Check. Books? Check. Characters? Check. We’d covered it all. Or so I thought.

Two things have been my nemesis today: my day-job computer and my chair. Yes, my chair.

It started early, as soon as I plugged in the day-job laptop. No WiFi? What? (pause to search for switch, maybe it got bumped to the off position). No switch. Why no WiFi? (checks phone – no, that’s connected just fine) I read for the ethernet cable. Kind of defeats the purpose, no? One has a laptop for portability. Hard to be portable when you’re tethered to a cable. The WiFi is working now, but it’s gone on and off all day.


Next up: how do I get rid of that horrible tightness in my back? I tried standing. Three days of on an off standing. And while I have a friend who swears by it…nuh-uh. Sure, the standing alleviates the pain in my hips. Torture on my feet. And my knee. And my back, probably because I’m standing in a weird posture in an attempt to take pressure off my knee.

Sitting isn’t helping. One, it makes my hips hurt more (I have what is called cam and pincer impingement in my right hip – go Google it if you’re interested in the gory details, I’ll wait). And my lower back – OMG.

So I started playing with the various knobs and levers on my chair. Futzed with what I think is the lumbar support (I yanked it off accidentally – pretty sure that won’t help). I’ve come to the conclusion that I have the world’s most un-ergonomic chair. How much does a good chair cost? Yikes. Better figure out how to work with what I’ve got.

And at the end of it all, I realized something. We all, especially writers, have funny, intimate relationships with the inanimate objects in our lives and we don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. Think of computers. What writer do you know who writes long-hand or by manual typewriter? Okay, they probably exist, but I don’t know any. Maybe for when they are stuck or for a change of pace, but I don’t know anyone who writes a 90,000-word novel longhand. And besides, even if they do, they just need to type it up for submission to an editor, or an agent, or CreateSpace.

That’s beside all the research. No one can go visit China in the 1800s, or check out the streets of Paris at the drop of a hat – especially if you have a day-job or kids (with all their assorted activities). Internet to the rescue. You know, as long as the WiFi works – unless you’re still working on a desktop (and I know almost as many writers who use one of those as who write that 90,000-word novel longhand).

Then there’s where you write. I’ve heard stories of past writers who sat in the bathtub (talk about hell on the back) or stood. Recliners, sofas, lying on the floor – it had better be comfortable or else writing those 90,000 words is going to feel like walking over hot coals. Or thumbtacks. Or…something.

The point is, our success is kinda-sorta dependent on our physical, inanimate space. Our chairs, our pillows, our shoes, our technology. And we don’t tend to think about it…until the headache, or the back pain set in.

So I will continue to search for the perfect chair and desk position. I’m fond of my recliner at home, but kinda hard to transport that to work.

In the meantime, pass the Advil…and maybe the phone number of a good chiropractor.


Author: Liz Milliron

Liz Milliron has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. She survived growing up through reading, cutting her mystery teeth on Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark and, of course, Nancy Drew. As an adult, she finds escape from the world of software documentation through creating her own fictional murder and mayhem. She lives near Pittsburgh with her husband and two teenage children, and fantasizes about owning a dog again - one of these days.

11 thoughts on “Relationships with…inanimate objects?”

  1. Good points here indeed. And while I don’t write longhand, I’m a stickler for a certain kind of pen—that I’ve been using for, um, 20 years or so? Talk about a long relationship!


  2. Ah, the chair. I have a desk and work and at home. Two chairs to plague me. Each is beautiful to behold but neither comfortable. I am coming to conclude that sitting is bad. But the chairs are so pretty – I cannot give them up. So I do yoga almost every AM concentrating on core strngth every other day.


  3. Fun post, Liz! The inanimate object I have the closest relationship with is my Kindle. I love reading real books but would end up with hand cramps after long bouts of reading (such a nerdy injury, lol). With my Kindle, no hand cramps plus I have my entire library with me everywhere I go! B-)


  4. It’s so important to find comfort in our chairs and positions to keyboards or whatever writing tool. I have added a box to rest my feet on while I type, and that helps make my chair much more comfortable.


  5. It’s a small plastic container, about 6 inches tall, but it’s just the right height to elevate my knees to the right angle, thus keeping my posture aligned. It helps my back, and is an inexpensive alternative to a fancy chair. Good luck!


  6. Try creating your own lumbar support. A small pillow or a rolled towel? I would love working somewhere exotic. Like bed, all stretched out and elegant. Not gonna happen with my back.

    (Good for you, Keenan, on that yoga. I’m trusting that Jazzercise will ultimately strengthen my core as well.)


  7. Love this post! I’ve been writing so long, through so many “lives” that I’ve had everything from a home office to where I write now, which is on 1/2 of a small dinette in our 30-foot RV (my husband gets the other 1/2). We live and travel full-time, which is wonderful, yet it has driven home for me the fact that no place is perfect. If I have a boring view out the window, I find myself wishing I was someplace amazing. If we’re parked where I can see the ocean or mountains or desert, I’m distracted by the beauty. I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I’m looking for something that will let me fidget, I’ll find it 😉 Of course, fidgeting to alleviate back or shoulder or hip or other pain is another story….

    As for forging strong bonds with a thing — take away my laptop or my Canon camera and I’d go nuts without my favorite tools to capture words and images.

    So glad to have found your blog!


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