Exercising privilege: Blogs, Tweets and Podcasts

Today marks the three-months-to-the-day date since I went “under the knife” to remove a tumour from the upper lobe of my left lung on November 30th last year. Hallelujah! Three months down and I’m feeling better—stronger, healthier and more optimistic—every day.


I’ve said before that I thought I’d heard “them” say that it would take me six weeks to get back to normal after the surgery… I was wrong, of course. What “they” had meant was that it would take six weeks for my body to recover from the outrages and trauma inflicted upon it by being opened up and gutted like a fish, ribs split apart and wedged open (to the discomfort and discomfiture of cartilege and connective tissue) for however long it took to do whatever the surgeons did to me. Not that I’m complaining. Not so at all, so please don’t even think that. I’m abjectly grateful that they were as dextrous, caring, well-trained and phenomenally competent as they were and I will be grateful for the rest of my life to the presiding surgeon, Dr. Micheal Humer, who brought me back from post-operative pneumonia and what I know to have been the brink of the Abyss. No, the point I was going to make was only that it HURT–a lot! But those initial six weeks are now long gone—remembered with faint stirrings of lingering disbelief, but gone—and a second six-week stint has followed them, during which I have made great, at times unbelievable, steps towards being healed. For one thing, I’m working out regularly now at the gym where I live. I’m going there five days out of every seven and I’m loving it.


I can imagine some of you wincing and saying, “Whoa! Five days a week? That’s too much.” But no, it’s not. I started, very gingerly and cautiously, in the last two weeks of my first 6-week recuperation period—doing very little other than starting to move again, though I kept at it steadily, walking a little more every day. And then I graduated to weight training, using the circuit training facilities at our very well equipped gym. Again, I started slowly and used great caution. Now I’ve been exercising for seven, almost eight, weeks and I’ve diversified because my weight-training workouts had stretched to more than an hour a day, every second day. I decided to alternate upper body and lower body on separate days, with a day off between each pair, and to keep Saturdays and Sundays in the sequence, so now I’m in the gym for about 40-45 minutes a day, five days a week, and I love the two days off in between blocks… And I walk in the mornings, on a treadmill at home. Thing is, though, that most of the people using the gym are trying to lose weight, wearing themselves out on treadmills and elliptical training machines. I’m trying to put it on, after losing more weight than I could ever afford to lose… So I’m not interested in running myself into the ground. My interest is purely in getting into shape again, and building a bit of muscle instead of a girdle of fat.


So now that I’ve started feeling good again, I’ve been able to get back to work, and I’m going to attach a couple of links here to things I’ve done in the last few weeks. The first of them is a written Q&A interview I did for fellow novelist and colleague Lorna Suzuki, on her weekly blog. She contacted me soon after I had been released from hospital, so it took me a while to respond to her approach, but when I did she sent me the questions she wanted me to answer, and since it was the first time I had really tried to apply myself to something analytical since my operation, I may have spent more time on it that I normally would. It came out as long and detailed, but Lorna liked it and decided to issue it in two parts. The first of those appeared last Sunday, February 24th, and the second part will be featured this Sunday, March 3rd. You'll find the Blog here:




The other piece is a Podcast, an audio interview with a young author called Andrew Buckley who has a new, or relatively new Literary Podcast called “Write Out Loud”. Andrew lives near me and approached me recently about doing a piece on his show, offering to travel to my home to conduct the interview in person, rather than doing it on Skype with all the potential difficulties entailed in off-site recording. I had a moment of doubt when he told me that I would be his seventh interviewee, but it vanished instantly when he informed me that my predecessor on the show—his sixth guest—had been Jane Johnson of HarperCollins UK. I know Jane Johnson to be one of the best known publishing executives and most highly respected editors in the United Kingdom, and the fact that he had managed to “land” her as a guest on his new show really impressed me—it will impress you, too, if you listen to what they generated. Anyway, the interview I did with Andrew runs just short of an hour, and I’ll leave it to each of you to judge for yourself whether I had anything worthwhile to say or not. You’ll find it at:  http://www.planetkibi.com/write-out-loud.html


Strangely enough, the biggest difficulty I've had recently, in terms of getting back into the swing of things, is an utter inability to get back into the discipline of composing (and posting) 144-character messages on Twitter… Go figure. I simply can't seem to come up with anything appropriate to say there. Shyness? Maybe it is. I simply don't know, but I've been literally tongue-tied in there for ages. I'm going to have to remedy that soon.