Stealing Spoons

3 min readNov 25, 2021

Wiser Energy Management

Anyone who knows me in real life might use the word “stubborn” to describe me. Or possibly even “tough.” I have a dear friend with whom I went to a writing workshop, out on the Oregon Coast one spring. He still refers to the walk we took next to the ocean as the “Cutter Death March.” I might possibly have been a tiny bit stubborn when it came to walking in sustained back-breaking winds next to the water. Maybe.

Being this stubborn usually serves me well. I am aware, though, that there’s a very fine line between being stubborn and being stupid, and I do try not to cross it. I still make mistakes. We all do.

Currently, I’m recovering from full knee replacement surgery. I’ve had to be very careful lately and not be too stubborn about pushing through. Or rather, as my husband keeps reminding me, Gentle.


One of the things that I’m still battling is general brain fog. Immediately after the surgery, I could not focus. I managed to work my way up to about an hour, then recently had a setback, and I’m back down to merely thirty minutes of concentration. After that, my brain is fried and I need to take a break.

I was talking with my husband in the car today, as he drove me to another PT appointment. (Still not approved to drive yet!)

If I needed to, I could force myself to work. To write. To concentrate. To get whatever was needing to be done finished, off my plate, out the door.

But I’d be stealing tomorrow’s spoons to deal with today’s issues.

(Spoon theory: Metaphor used to describe how much energy daily tasks use.)

Could I sit in a car without getting out to stretch my legs for hours at a time? Sure. I could push myself through that, through the pain of that.

When I got out of the car, I might stand up and then fall down immediately. But I would pick myself up again, and I would walk. Part of that stubborn streak, ya know?

And I’d pay for it for a few days afterward, my knee swollen and throbbing.

This weekend, I’m stealing next week’s spoons. I’m at a science fiction/fantasy convention for the next couple of days. (Side note: Someone at a party at the con asked…




Leah Cutter sold her first short story back in 1997, and continues to write and sell both her fiction and non-fiction. She supports herself with her writing.