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January 4, 2019: The Writing Life: Ownership

There is currently a term in kinesiology or movement studies circles; it’s owning your own movement. I’m not sure who coined it – it could have been Gray Cook, who was one of the founders of the Functional Movement system program. It’s a tough term to define in just a few sentences, but I will give it a go. To own your own movement means to move with balance, agility, coordination, and flexibility. When you own your own movement, you also are at a certain level of competency, which is one that is matched by your capacity. The term was originally in relation to human movement, but the Intrinzen people (Steinar and Kathy Sierra) looked at it in relation to horses.

A human example: I am now able to do many things that I could not do previously; before working with Ben who is a trained Functional Movement trainer. For instance, I can again get up from the floor without using my hands. And I now have full rotation of my arms. Ben believes that owning one’s movement is the end result of strength training, but I think that ownership also comes when one also does cardio and body awareness work. In other words, they’re all interrelated.

A horse-related example: Tyra and Hrimmi and Raudi (limitedly) can touch their rear legs with their noses. I worked with them on this, using the target. At first this was

Tyra kissing her hoof
Tyra kissing her hoof

Alys doing the half kneeling landline press
Alys doing the half kneeling landline press

very difficult for them and they would express their frustration with this exercise by walking away from the mat. Now they do this readily; in fact, sometimes too readily. One way of challenging with yet another problem is to change the environment. To this end, I am going to put the mat on a slope. It won’t be as easy for them, but once they get it, they will again have owned their own movement.

Today I made a more expansive comparison, which is I related owning one’s movement to writing. Writing is only minimally movement related, so I’m going to call what I’m talking about ownership, although an apt comparison can be made to owning movement. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, we (generally) own our writing when we develop the ability to problem solve. This comes about when we both become adept at revising and knowledgeable about our composing process. I own my own writing; the past few day’s project best illustrates this.

I had to write a cover letter to go with my proposal for the University of Alaska Press. I put it off because I knew it was going to be difficult. I dealt with this difficulty by letting my subconscious work on it. All good writing poses a problem and the problem here was how do I answer the question, why is my book a good fit for University of Alaska Press readers? I then referred to the University of Alaska system mission statement, and figured that I might use it as a framework. This was as far as I got. I didn’t think that what I’d come up with any good.

Today I returned to yesterday’s work and then realized that what I’d written wasn’t as bad as I first thought. Here’s what I wrote: “If You Come to a Fork in the Road will be an excellent fit for your Press because it complements the mission of the University of Alaska system, which is ‘to discover and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, and creative expression.’ My audience is those, like University of Alaska Press readers, who read your books having internalized this mission. More specifically, my Alaska-related topic will be of interest to educators, environmental researchers, historians, and the general public.” I then elaborated as to why educators, environmental researchers, historians, and the general public will be a good audience for this book. I problem solved in categorizing and sub-categorizing, which is something I’d never done before.

I’m most likely not done with this letter, but I am close. It’s always a judgement call as to when I might have Pete make further editorial suggestions. But, most definitely, I do not do this until I feel like I have problem solved and therefore have ownership of what I’ve written.

Next: 5. 5/5/19: The Writing Life: Never a Day Without a Line

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