It’s that time of year when folks suffer from so-called Seasonal Affective Disorder when not enough sunlight leads to depression, anxiety and social withdrawal. Well, I think I have a major case of Seasonal Writer’s Disorder when too much writing indoors leads to severe weight gain and stress. OK, stop laughing. I am quite serious and I have scientific proof.
The first phase of this experiment began during the spring of 2012. That’s when I started to write my travel memoir, “Amalfi Blue – lost & found in the south of Italy.” I started writing it indoors during the rainy season, the outline and short daily notes. But as the Mediterranean sun began to bathe Sorrento in its warmth, I moved myself, and my laptop, to the terrace where I sat amidst the Lattari mountains and orange groves and a vision of the mystical Vesuvio in the distance. I was able to concentrate and would sit for hours, working on the book and my tan. I ate healthy and only stopped briefly for a produce-filled lunch, generally using the four-hour siesta break to write, a lot, and then head to the gym, walking a mile and a half each way, to and from.
Fast forward a mere eighteen months. “Amalfi Blue” has been a Kindle bestseller (proudly peaking at #16 so far) since its release and I am surging ahead with my first murder-political thriller, “Shrouded in Pompei.” The outline began during my usual spring stay in Sorrento but I have labored throughout the fall and winter, writing most of it indoors here in New York. The symptoms of Seasonal Writer’s Disorder crept in slowly, seemingly friendly at first, it brought snacks and dark chocolate and all sorts of goodies to fuel the long hours of sitting on my ass all in the name of plotting the next great American novel. But it has left behind a fat behind and about fifteen extra pounds, despite salsa dancing and gym workouts. I cannot believe it has come to this, that my passion for carbs and dark chocolate has turned into the spiteful, jealous sibling of my writing in the confined spaces of New York offices, apartments and libraries.
Oh Lord, please deliver me from this malady, return me to the sun, I don’t care if it’s in the south of Italy, just somewhere where the scenery drives my passion instead of the plaster walls which cement my stress. Let “Shrouded in Pompei” pave the way to my seaview home almost anywhere in the world!