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The Gym and the Rare Book Room

(Peter, the Strand events coordinator, with me in the rare book room)

What NEVER gets old or unexciting for me:

--my love and gratitude for my family

--my love of writing

--my joy offering workshops in Strand's rare book room

--my ‘high’ when my work is published.

My current Buffalo News op-ed makes me as giddy as my first published piece in 1972. I shared my journey to the Buffalo News spot last Wednesday with my writing class.

I’ll share more at my Strand Bookstore workshop March 14 and include: how to target, submit, persist, edit, edit some more, work with editors, and remain true to oneself. I’ll give writing exercises my students and I do and love, which can turn into published pieces, or simply trigger other ideas that are expressions of one’s heart and soul.

I love the Strand’s staff. I love being surrounded by rare books. I love working with the attendees from beginning writers to seasoned pros. I know several of you who have already registered including: a retired business woman who has never written anything personal and a published novelist/essayist who gets going with my prompts.

Newcomers and returners: Come join us in this super cool room for an inspiring, fun night. Details and registration information on this link: Nancy at The Strand

And here’s the online version of my February 25, 2019 Buffalo News Op-ed piece:

My View: Squat, stretch, repeat: adventures in the gym

Published February 24, 2019

By Nancy Davidoff Kelton

My husband suggested I join the health club where he is a member, saying it would be fun. Fun for whom?

I joined. It is a new year. I got a decent price as the second family member. At my next annual check-up, when my internist asks about my exercise regimen, I will have more to say than, “Huh?”

Here are my 37 musings before and during my so-called workout:]

1. When will I eat? 2. Where? 3. What? 4. Pizza is my first choice. 5. Probably a bad idea after a workout. 6. Bad for whom? 7. Maybe pizza instead of the workout. 8. With seven locations of the club, I have choices. 9. One is to stay home. I could have my pizza delivered. 10. Or go at a different time or to a different location from my younger husband. 11. His workouts are longer and more focused than mine. He does balancing things, on one foot, that I cannot pretend to do. 12. His thighs are thinner. 13. At the beginning of my complimentary session with a personal trainer, when she asked if I had questions, I said, “One. Will you promise this is it for us and you won’t try to sell me a package?” 14. She promised. Then she showed me the best ways to squat and stretch. 15. I squat and stretch. I also do planks for 60 seconds. 16. Counting by threes. 17. And two sets of 12 repetitions on the machines she taught me to use. 18. Unless I do none. 19. I use more towels than machines. 20. My favorite gym activity: using many towels. 21. My second favorite: yoga. Restorative. With every other kind of yoga, I get stuck in the pretzel pose. 22. And I only like Shavasana. 23. I pretend I like everything about restorative yoga so I can lie still at the end. To music.

24. My third favorite activity: swimming. 25. If I don’t have to share a lane. 26. Particularly with the man who splashes and uses two noodles. 27. And between laps, talks to me. He may even be flirting. 28. Which is surprising. I wear a bathing suit, goggles, a swim cap, a wedding band and my thighs. And I am a senior citizen.29. He is more senior. Maybe late 70s or 80. 30. My friend, with whom I discussed these pool episodes, said he is definitely flirting. 31. And “age appropriate.” 32. I wonder if my thin, younger husband, who does balancing things on one leg, would be jealous or amused about the flirting. 33. I wonder if other “age appropriate” or inappropriate men will flirt with me. Ever again. 34. My other gym activities include: using weights and more towels. 35. At the end of my complimentary session with the personal trainer, I asked how I can lose weight. 36. She said exercise alone will not do it. Neither would Shavashana. After reminding me to go easy on the sugar and carbs, she said, “Eat smaller portions. Much smaller portions. Only eat when you’re hungry.” 37. Oy!

Nancy Davidoff Kelton, a Buffalo native and published essayist and book author, teaches writing at the New School and Strand Bookstore in New York.


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