Loosely Literal: Summer Reading Round-Up, Booty Pop Edition
Well, it’s summertime again, which means yet another round of workouts designed to get you in shape for both the beach and the bookshelf! By following this regimen 3-5 times a week, you’re guaranteed to lose weight, feel great, and make your friend Brittany wish she read books at night instead of repinning lo-carb recipes onto her lo-carb Pinterest board. Satisfaction guaranteed! Unless you’re always dissatisfied, then only the Lord can save you.
Step 1: The Long Squat
In the courtyard where your hot neighbor can see you, take a wide stance with your toes turned outward. Place Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s long-awaited sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, between your legs. Squat down so that your hips are in line with you knees. Read a page, then squeeze your butt to stand back up. Squat again, turn page, and repeat. Continue for 55 years, or until your neighbor asks you to marry him.
Step 2: Small Backs, Small Children
Stand up straight with your feet together, Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Small Backs of Children in your hands. Keeping both legs as straight as a fraternity brother’s sexual orientation, shift your weight onto your left foot. Bend forward from the waist as you extend your right leg back. Keep the book in front of your face, and read a page or two. Then squeeze your butt as you lift your chest and bring your right leg back to meet your left. Repeat until you’re halfway done with this richly emotional tale of war-torn Eastern Europe, then switch sides. Note: for added strength training, ask the sad divorced lady who lives next door to you to balance her small child on your back.
Step 3: Curtsy Lunges
Grab that teensy set of dumbbells you bought at Target so your muscles wouldn’t get too “manly” and grasp one in each, ringless hand. Place Lauren Holmes’ story collection, Barbara the Slut and Other People, approximately three feet behind you. With your feet together, toes facing forward, shift your weight into your left foot. Reach your right leg back so that it lands directly on the book jacket. Bend each knee to a ninety degree angle. Say, “At least I’m not a slut.” Press into your front heel to come back up to standing. Repeat this movement on the opposite side, remembering to really shame Barbara by digging in with your left foot. Continue until your legs fall off.
Step 4: Sprints
Start reading Judy Blume’s new novel for adults, In the Unlikely Event, the plot of which centers on a series of passenger plane crashes in the 1950s. Allow this reading to trigger all of your own fears and anxieties about plane crashes, including that one time when the turbulence got really bad over the Atlantic Ocean and you clutched and called your 250-pound male seatmate “Mommy.” Feel your sympathetic nervous system go into overdrive. Start running. Stop when you’re no longer afraid/you pass out/never.
Step 5: Envy-Driven Side-Skaters
On an easel you coyly borrow from your hot neighbor, tack up Alexandra Kleeman’s You, Too, Can Have a Body Like Mine and a poster of Gisele Bündchen. Come to standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your left foot wide to the left and tap your right foot behind you. Then jump to the right, landing on your right foot, and tap your left foot behind you. Continue until you look like Gisele Bündchen.
Sally Franson received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and was a 2012 GRPP Fellow. Her work has recently appeared in Witness, Room, elimae, and Bartleby Snopes, among others, and she was the winner of the Loft’s Fall Writing Contest in 2012. She is also a recipient of a 2014 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. In addition to teaching and finishing her first book, Sally is a contributing writer to The Fiddleback and Paper Darts. sallyfranson.com