Imagined Workout Diaries of Famous Writers

Lisbeth Fitness, Fun


William Faulkner, 1 RM Deadlifts


William Faulkner, 1954. Photo by Carl Van Vechten.

The bar is heavy, heavy, heavy, like my soul, and I lift, bereft of muscle it seems, marrow a long ago illusion in this dark place. I am unable to raise the bar without it being followed by a heavier, more thunderous crashing down. My heart aches. I used to think fun was to accomplish something I thought perhaps I couldn’t. I was wrong. Deadlifts are not fun, not today, oh not today at all.

Ernest Hemingway's passport photo, 1923

Ernest Hemingway’s passport photo, 1923.

Ernest Hemingway, “Murph”

Pull-ups. Blood. Thank God there are women here in small, tight pieces of clothing. I feel like a man.

Toni Morrison, “Elizabeth”

toni morrison back cover of sula

Toni Morrison.

Don’t be afraid. I’m here, but I’m gone. The yellow stripes on that man’s faded blue shirt bring forth long-shuttered memories in a kind of rain that knows no cloud, magically dropping liquid to earth with the strength of those who had seen death, or worse—life unending. I walk back to the barbell and find it disappeared, like the young girls who knew no mothers other than the toothless aunts on the porch, rocking in their memories of life swole up in their throats like so many soaked sunflower seeds, or love long ago ended, poisoning them as it nourished.

The workout long ago ended. No one is here. My voice echoes in the emptiness of this hollow space, and this moment. All that’s left to do is what the young girls do who have known the ache of this life—weep, weep, and weep some more. The rings sway in the shadow of the setting sun. I have no idea what time it is. I never made it out of the warm-up. Such is life. Chalk cakes the bottoms of my shoes, mocking me and this life all the way out the yawning cargo bay door. Where o where sweet demon did I park my car?

Lisbeth Fitness, Fun

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