The time comes in every author's life, and it is one that we try to put off as long as possible. It's not something we like to consider, nor to talk about, but it is inevitable, and never convenient.
I need a new writing chair.
Now, you might be thinking, "That's not much of a problem. I can't see why this guy would devote an entire blog post to a chair." And you'd have a point. But there are mitigating circumstances that, you know, mitigate this situation:
- A writer spends an inordinate amount of time in his/her chair;
- Those of us past the age of, let's say, 40, are susceptible to back ailments, carpal tunnel and other serious maladies when we spend too much time sitting in a position that is not properly aligned;
- A writer thinking about discomfort will not write as well;
- Bottom line: I had nothing to write about this week.
I'm not one of those authors who gets all weepy and nostalgic about objects, at least not the ones I use for my job. The chair I'm in has served well and long, but it has a ripped armrest, a squeaky base and a very clunky lean-back feature. It needs to go.
You'd be amazed how difficult it is to find a decent writing chair these days. Or perhaps you wouldn't. I have no idea how long it's been since you tried it. For all I know, you're in the chair business full time and are much better versed on the subject than I am. You're probably just waiting for me to make some sort of chair-related factual error, so you can pounce on it and prove how hideously ill-informed I am.
I'm sorry; what were we talking about? Oh yes. A chair.
This is not the kind of thing one can buy online. A chair has to be at least momentarily test driven before a purchase. Something seen in a picture on a website could look just fine and fit into the budget, but might be so hard, so stiff or so generally uncomfortable as to make all the other things irrelevant.
Aesthetics are secondary. When I asked my wife and daughter about a second model of a chair I was considering, one that was $40 less because it was a different color, each of them said, "Who cares what it looks like? It's a chair."
I spent the afternoon before Thanksgiving stalking chairs with my children, who were along for the ride and (what was for them) a free lunch. And we went to one of the office supply chain stores where I had a credit account. The place (which shall remain nameless--it was Office Depot) was fully stocked in the "executive chair" section.
It took some major sitting to finally settle on one particular chair, which admittedly was a close facsimile of my current one. The price was reasonable, assuming that one's definition of "reasonable" is stretched to the late-2011 level. They even had one in stock. I handed over my Unnamed-yet-Office-Depot card to pay for it after the obliging store employee showing me the chair had handtrucked it to the front of the store.
And then my card was declined because I didn't have a balance on it. Apparently, I don't use my card enough for them to bother giving me credit when I actually want to buy something from them. I didn't have another card I wanted to use, so we're back to square one.
A writer's workspace--like anyone else's, when you think about it--is a huge part of the work day. My chair is important because I don't want to notice it; it should not distract me from what I'm doing. Same as my mousepad, my clock (does anyone actually use a regular clock anymore?), my file cabinets and my completely inadequate shelf space. It's not that I wouldn't be able to write without them; it's that the right ones make the task less diffused. It becomes easier to concentrate.
So once I find the right chair, I can finish this next book.
Yup. That's the excuse I'm using today.