Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Illness and This Writer

The view from the family room window
I went on a car ride yesterday.  Now to most people this isn’t very significant.  To me, however, it’s a big step in getting well.  I’ve had the something that’s “going around” for the past month, at times coughing so hard that I bruised a couple of ribs.

The “something” keeps going around and coming back to me like a boomerang.  Or could it be karma?  At any rate, I’ve had it three times this winter, having missed all of October in a tussin and codeine haze.

The haze and I have become old friends.  The haze beats back the piercing knife thrusts when my ribs speak to me during a cough.  The haze lulled me to sleep even when the only way to sleep was sitting up in a chair all night.

The point of this blog, however, isn’t about physical pain.  It’s about mental pain.  It’s about being a writer who usually wakes up ready to sit in front of a keyboard and have fingers dance across keys, carving out one image at a time from a prescribed number of letters and a few incidental punctuation marks.

Codeine, while taking away the physical pain, adds to the mental pain.  Suddenly the keyboard is a jail cell where the words and images are locked away with no hope of their reprieve until the codeine warden fades away.

I read messages from the front.  On Facebook, fellow writers are meeting each other at conferences, touting their wonderful reviews, and glorying in their word counts.  I’m ecstatic for them.  I “like” and halfheartedly respond.  My goal is to appear alive, connected, when I know I’m not.

The entry morning of a much-heralded conference appears, wanes, and in my stupor, I enter my name late and am shuffled to the waiting list.  My fellow writers dance and sing at being accepted and I, in my haze, rejoice with them.  Even those ill can support.

I promote my book and try to look optimistically at the future.  I finish writing the last of the trilogy of novellas I’m working on.  I hand the pages to my husband and daughter, but know the story isn’t as strong or as well written as the two preceding it.

Codeine says not to worry.  Everything will be all right.  One day at a time.  I so want codeine to be right.

So I take a car ride to see first hand that the world is getting along perfectly well without me.  I take a car ride to cheer myself up.

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