March 18th, 2009
I've felt like this for years, actually. I wish I'd got it out sooner. I might have done more writing and less moaning.
"According to BBC statistics, 1 in 5 people in the UK is disabled. Then - ipso facto - there must be a proportion of those people who are writers, and successful ones at that."
Sorry, that doesn't follow at all. That's like saying "1 in 10 people in the UK is Asian. But some people have three ears. Therefore - ipso facto - a proportion of Asians must have three ears."
It's an inductive generalization rather than necessarily being true. For instance, the three-eared gene may be limited to the Thai part of the population, or the Swedish. Or all three-eared Asian babies may traditionally be electrocuted at birth. See what I mean?
"You must think you're good enough for publication, otherwise why do you do carry on!?"
Oh, I have a whole pile of reasons for writing. Only one of them is my overweening self-belief. There's also escapism, self-fulfilment, the need to find something useful to do with my hands when not fiddling with myself...
Thanks for the link to Hillenbrand. Ah, she writes non-fiction? That's interesting. I never actually read Seabiscuit.
That link to the story of her illness was brilliant. Especially for me, since we have so much in common.
For instance, the way the slightest thing can set me back for weeks - going out, eating, taking a shower. The way my lymph glands swell, just like hers. Getting infections, sores, being helpless. The incompetency of the doctors, the bitchiness of nurses and the casual, nasty insults from people around us. Also, a lot of people have assumed that I have ME (I don't), and then go on to inform me that it's psychosomatic like they did with her. I don't care, to be honest. If they're the sort of people who like to jump to conclusions and then sit in judgement, I'm clearly not going to change them.
Other things that were incredibly familiar to me in her story:
"Because looking at the page made the room shimmy crazily around me, I could write only a paragraph or two a day... It took me six weeks to write 1,500 words."
Hooray for perseverance!
"After years of seeing people almost exclusively on television, I found their three-dimensionality startling: the light playing off their faces, the complexity of their hands, the strange electric feel of their nearness."
Every time I go out, I gawk at people like an idiot. Most people take it for granted, but it's my amazing special treat.
"When I was too dizzy to read, I lay down and wrote with my eyes closed. Living in my subjects' bodies, I forgot about my own."
This is exactly how I write as well. On my bed, with my eyes closed and in my head, sending my being into other bodies in other worlds. The typing is almost an afterthought, saved for when I feel better and can sit up.
This is the bit that scares me. It's when her book became a success:
"That spring, as I tried to cope with the dreamy unreality of success and the continuing failure of my health..."
And that's the rub. If you're ill, success will inevitably mean that your health declines, because success is exciting and therefore stressful.
So what's the point in aiming for it at all? I'm not stupid, so why do something I know will make me extremely ill?
It's that or vegetate, I suppose. But it's very counter-intuitive, like putting my hand into a flame.
Oh, and thanks for looking this all up, sweetie!