Quote of the Day Mea Culpa

Oops

Oops!

Upon further review……. I discovered that I didn’t exactly follow the rules in the quote of the day challenge.

What I was supposed to do was write one quote for three consecutive days, and nominate three bloggers on each of those days to do the same. I was also supposed to explain why I selected each quote.

Okay, so I’m a dumb ass. Guess that’s what happens when you try to whip up something during your lunch break.

So consider the fact you received three quotes today instead of one a bonus. I promise to be good tomorrow.

 

Day 1 of 3 Quote Challenge

Quote

Thank you to Angela of Fuck MS fame for the nomination.  Her’s was among the first blogs I discovered when I started mine, and I’ve always enjoyed her frankness and willingness to bare her soul, not to mention her writing. I’m not the most technically savvy person in the world, otherwise I’d drop her a link to her site right here. So I will list it the old fashioned way and encourage you to give it a look: https://fuckms.ca

It was hard to come up with three quotes, and if I were to do this next week I might have come up with different ones. The quotes that follow have always resonated with me for a variety of different reasons, and here they are:

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud – Maya Angelou

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans – John Lennon

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu

My next obligation is to nominate three more victims, I mean bloggers, to join in the fun and games.

The first is the great Billy Mac, aka Superman. I love his writing, his point of view, and the fact he isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself, something we have in common.  Plus, he’s been feeling a little down lately and I thought this might give him something to occupy his thoughts, perk him up, or piss him off. Either one is good enough for me: https://goodtobealivetoday.wordpress.com

Nominee number two is Tom, author of the blog Tom Being Tom. I’m not sure how I stumbled across Tom. It was probably through either Bill or Grace, but I love his style and the topics he writes about. His last topic:  https://www.tombeingtom.com/routine/    definitely confirmed that we are cut from a different cloth.

My final nominee is Susan: https://flowergirlink.wordpress.com  Susan turned me onto poetry, and, for those of you who read my blog,  had the uncanny ability to shame me into writing a poem. Her poetry sings, and she writes fine prose too. What drew me to Susan however is her story, but if you want to know more about that you’ll either have to read her blog, or the guest post she authored on mine several weeks ago.

So there you have it. I hope I passed the audition

 

“How did you come up with the idea for that story?”

idea

I wonder if I’m doing this right.  I often thought of this as I  wrote my first novel, wondering if my process was similar to other authors or if I was in an orbit of my own.

Jeremy Mac (no relation to Billy) is among the Facebook friends I quickly accumulated. He was one of the first who agreed to read my manuscript and offer a quote I could eventually take to prospective publishers.  We hit it off from the start and frequently stay in touch via Messenger.

Requesting a published author to review a manuscript is a big ask. Most of them have other jobs in addition family obligations and their writing obsession.  Jeremy didn’t hesitate, but he did ask if I would read his book Embracing the Darkness, and offer a review on Amazon. How could I say no?

Honestly though, I was skeptical when I saw the book’s cover because his genre is not among my favorites. Jeremy was so gracious with his time and generous in his praise of my work. What would I write if I didn’t like it, or thought it was just okay?  These concerns fortunately never came to fruition because good writing is good writing, and in this case, it literally reminded me that you should never judge a book by its cover. Other than one scene that made me cringe, I genuinely enjoyed the story.

Jeremy’s most recent work Shadowmancer, is a riveting read. It’s intoxicating, creepy, and has a unique supernatural hook that I have never seen before. I think it is going to enjoy a lot of success.

Jeremy’s creative process is different from mine, which I think proves two things. The first is that each author’s approach is unique and is neither right nor wrong, but what suits them best.

The second is what I’ve always suspected. Authors are very interesting and colorful characters.

Thanks for sharing your story Jeremy.

“How did you come up with the idea for that story?”

Oh how I do love this question, even if I don’t have an answer for it, because when asked, often with glowing enthusiasm, that alone tells me that my story genuinely excited or wowed or horrified or turned on the inquisitive reader only in a way that mystifies the mind. For me, as a writer, no question (or hell, no amount of praise for that matter) is better.

However, I do not begin writing– a book, a novella, a short story, a poem– expecting for the work to be received that way, or simply thoroughly enjoyed, by others. No. Such thoughts don’t even exist until the work is somewhat of a half-ass clean draft.

I write, first and foremost, for myself. Because once an idea for a story pops into my head, it begins to tickle and entice, nearly to the point of seduction. It can be likened to a little writing minx stirring inside my head. Sometimes she whispers, “Come on. Breathe into me…” followed by a feathery touch of allurement. Other times, if I put her off long enough, she’ll stamp her foot and yell, “Hey! Get to it!”

So I begin to put down a few words, and then those words take shape, form colors, characters and atmosphere. It starts to play out like a movie on the theater screen of my mind and before I know it, a new world is created.

Words don’t always come easy, though. All too often they will stall or stop completely, as if the little minx stops the reel of film rolling inside my head.

“Oh you little bitch,” I’ll growl at her. “Bring me all this way just to slam me against a brick wall. Grrr!”

But I push and fight, chipping away at that hated wall, eventually clawing my way through it to the final finish.

And then edits begin.

An entirely whole other beast.

Ugh!

But, how did I really come up with the idea for that story?

Concerning my first two books, the answer is simple. Pleasure Spiked With Pain and Frozen Faces @ 4:20, both written years ago, are loosely based off of my younger, careless life, so the near facts were nothing to recall. And as far as the fictionalized areas went, which are in fact the greater portion of the books, well…a good amount of the words were inspired/influenced by a lifted head.

For those of you who are not in the know, I’ll not go in depth on cannabis’s potential to unlock doors of the imagination, unleashing fresh new worlds you never knew existed. Just be assured that cannabis does, or, at the very least, has the potential to do so. It’s an excellent antidote for that hated Writer’s Block as well. It’ll torpedo right through a brick wall.

As far as the rest of my work goes, which are all a good distance from the contemporary genre that my first two novels are under and were not written under the influence of cannabis thank you very much (Little sigh. Ok, maybe a teeny tiny bit here and there. Eye roll.), the answers are not so simple. Sometimes what sparks an idea may be something I saw on TV or a song I heard or something that happened throughout the day. An article I read. A conversation I had. A dream…

Oh the dreams. Such gifts that can be easily wasted if you do not possess the discipline to write them down the moment you wake, when the dream is fresh and still nearly pulsing with life, because, woe you make the mistake of putting it off or, even worse, going back to sleep. I’ve regrettably done both and found time after disappointing time that the dream fades to the point of a hazy memory, only to recall later, if you’re lucky, a slight idea of what it had been about. For several years now I’ve slept with pen and paper at my bedside. No matter what time it is, no matter how tired I am, when I wake from a dream alight with potential for a cool story, or perhaps just a scene within a story, I’ll snatch up that pen and paper and will not stop writing until I have even the most insignificantly minute detail jotted down.

And then there are the ideas that have always been there, those that have dwelled within, or even haunted me, ever since I can remember, their origins long forgotten but, over time, ever evolving until finally it comes to a point when I must pen them to life.

Embracing The Darkness, an erotic hardcore horror released last December, was such a story, lurking inside, haunting, likely due to my growing up watching all the great 80’s horror flicks. I love horror, especially the hardcore fare, but I’d always been very reluctant to write it, and quite honestly it is due to the fact of how hardcore I thought I might get , and that frightened me. It may seem ridiculous, but what really gave me pause was fearing what people might think. Like, “Oh this guy is a real fucking sicko.” But after much encouragement from others, I gave it a go. Turns out, it’s one of the best things I’ve done. It was quickly snatched up by a publisher and has gotten rave reviews. Not to mention I’ve been asked numerous times, “How did you come up with the idea for that story?”

Big grin.

But my newest work probably tops them all.

Shadowmancer is a supernatural erotica about someone whose shadow is an entity of itself, an entity that thrives off of the sexual energy of others. My readers know just how erotic I can be, but this one licks the icing clean off the cake.

The idea was born from the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula, starring Gary Oldman. I was about fifteen years old when I first saw the movie but I’ve watched it a few more times over the years. There’s a scene when Dracula enters a candlelit room, and his shadow continues to stretch across the wall, reaching for an unsuspecting Keanu Reeves. This eerie image, both horrifying and erotic, branded itself in my mind. Ever since then I’ve quietly played with the idea of such a shadow, one that not only acts as a direct extension of its host, but sentient as well. I let that supernatural fantasy incubate up until a few years ago and then– no doubt spurred by my little minx– I decided to try to breathe some life into it. So far, according to my ARC (Author Review Copy/Approved Readers Copy) readers, Shadowmancer is being well received. A good number of them have already asked me that one question I love so much, and some of them haven’t even finished reading it!

All because of the seed of an idea that was planted so long ago, before I had even begun to entertain the thought of being a writer. Before I understood the creative power of an idea.

Ideas, for me, are created from dreams, through observation, losing myself to the wonder of my surroundings, observing what is there and breaking it down and piecing things back together to suit myself, my imagining.

My world.

And, of course, to appease my little minx.

I cannot close without first saying that this is a great blog! Great writing! I am a fan of it, and I am honored that Steve asked me to be a part of it. Thanks buddy!

My Restless Leg

Restless leg

The potpourri of symptoms I’ve previously chronicled include a severely drooping foot, no leg strength from just above the knee, an ankle that constantly wants to turn sideways, and occasional cramps in my toes, the arch of my foot, and my calf. And let’s not forget balance, specifically the lack thereof. I’m not exaggerating when I say that a strong and sudden gust of wind can cause a loss of balance and an unexpected fall.

The one symptom I’ve never mentioned before, which happens to be the most annoying, is something called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).

Here is a quick definition: RLS causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs, creating an irresistible urge to move them. Symptoms commonly occur in the late afternoon or evening hours, and are often most severe at night when a person is sitting, resting, or lying in bed.  They also may occur when someone is inactive and sitting for extended periods (for example, when taking a trip by plane or watching a movie). There are a variety of sensations that generally occur within the limb that prompt the jerking movements: crawling, creeping, pulling, throbbing, aching, itching, and a feeling akin to an electric current. Research shows that people with MS are about four times more likely to have RLS than people in the general population.

In the scheme of things, my RLS isn’t a big deal. There is no pain or discomfort whatsoever that alerts me to its arrival.  Nonetheless, it’s aggravating to the extreme.

First of all, I can’t control it. Without warning, a jolt electric current surges into my lower leg, causing the toes to curl upward and the foot to lift. Sometimes it’s a quick twitch, and other times it lasts a few seconds, where the big toe is trying its damnedest to touch my shin, or the leg sticks straight out with the heel pointing forward, before it flops back to earth.

Secondly, when the twitching begins, it can occur as many as three times per minute. Do the math. It’s hard to enjoy anything when your leg acts like a flopping fish desperately trying to find its way back into the water.

I’m not self conscious about the way I walk or things of that nature, but I am about this, primarily because I think it looks bizzare. When someone parks in a handicapped space or you see someone with a cane, you expect to see them them walk differently or have a more difficult time getting about. Imagine sitting next to someone who looks perfectly healthy at work, in a movie theater, a sporting event, a wedding, or sitting in their living room over drinks, and their foot/leg begins to spasm and doesn’t stop. If you get too close, you might even get kicked.

The spasms always occur when I’ve been sitting for extended periods of time, like right now as I’m writing this piece. They can and do occur at work, but all I have to do is get up and walk around to make the twitching disappear. I don’t always do that because the spasms don’t impact my ability to do my job, but there are other times where getting up and walking around is impossible, like when I’m driving.

I have to be extremely careful when the leg starts flailing while I’m driving, because my bad leg is the right one, which controls the accelerator and brake. Try accelerating or braking  when your foot is trying to curl backwards. I’ve learned to brake with my left foot if necessary, and most of the time I can coast the few seconds during which the spasm occurs. If I’m on the highway when this happens, cruise control comes in handy. Nonetheless, my next new car is going to have to be equipped with hand controls whether I like it or not.

If I am at a public event or gathering of some kind, I don’t stay on my feet for extended periods of time, which means I’m usually sitting. In these situations I try to make sure there is some distance between me and the person I am sitting next to or across from, and do whatever I can to hide my legs. Sometimes, I’ll cross my feet to prevent the leg from protruding too far should the spasms start.

Then there is the issue of trying to fall asleep when RLS is active. In K’s recent post, she rightfully said that I don’t get enough sleep, but one of the reasons for this is that it doesn’t seem to matter what is going on with the leg when I’m dead tired. I’ll still fall asleep in five to ten minutes. Otherwise, the twitching, which occurs almost every night night, makes it hard to get comfortable.  I become restless, annoyed, and eventually wide awake. Of course, I could walk around to make it stop, but it takes more than a brief stroll for that to occur. Either way, it takes a while before sleep comes, and I get even less sleep in the process.

These are some of the reasons why I find RLS so annoying, but it is not the reason

K lamented that I do a lot of things that Shodan can and probably should do. Why? Because it gives me a sense of control over my tormentor. From my perspective, giving into MS by letting others do the work I am still capable of doing is like conceding to an enemy that wants me  to wave the white flag of surrender, which I simply refuse to do. So even though snow removal is very difficult, and I do stuff in the yard that my son could do more easily and in a fraction of the time, I find ways to compensate, which allows me to complete the task. This is all about my will being stronger than the MS, and not letting it get the best of me.

None of that works with RLS.  It’s as if the disease is taunting me. “So you think you can ignore me? You think you have control?” it whispers. “Let’s test that theory while I fuck with your leg for a little while. See how that works for you!”

I am absolutely impotent in this situation, which serves as a not so subtle reminder that I’m denying this inconvenient truth: if and when MS decides to throw the hammer down and takes control over everything I stubbornly cling to, I will be powerless to stop it.

And that is what bugs me the most.

Marriage and MS

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Steve has asked me to guest write for his blog. So here it is, from the spouse’s perspective. As I write this, we are spending the day at Yale Smilow Cancer Hospital, where Steve receives his infusions. Walking around this facility, it’s difficult not to be humbled. I found myself strolling behind a preteen girl riding a motorized wheelchair sporting a Make-a-Wish back pack. I ached for the young woman, perhaps in her early twenties, laboriously shuffling along with her walker, determined to make it to the infusion chair on her own, as well as the brave young boy, no more than eight years old, hooked to the apheresis apparatus.

Once the nurse found Steve’s vein on both arms, and the process began, I sat with him to chat. It’s a boring procedure, as he must stay awake while squeezing a rubber ball to facilitate blood flow. I’m not good with blood, but I’ve become accustomed to bearing witness to such things. I’m thankful that I wasn’t there for the visit where the machine malfunctioned, spilling blood all over the place.

Steve and I have been married thirty years, and during that time we’ve gone through many happy moments as well as more than enough difficult times, thank you very much. I am also well aware that we are blessed, and many people have been dealt an even tougher hand.

I often joke that one man is quite enough, but in reality, I believe that marriage is sacred. Marriage is tough, and many nuptials succumb to real-world pressures. As young couples, we bask in the joy of a wedding, never really thinking about the actual wording of those vows. Few of us realize the importance of “through good times and bad, in sickness and in health.” If you stay together long enough, none will escape the bad times, and rarely will a couple avoid the sickness part. It’s not easy.

In our case, I was the partner with the chronic ailments – migraines and stomach woes were part of the deal. Steve was supportive and steady, plodding through whatever came our way. While I had more endurance for pushing myself through exhaustion and icky days, Steve was hardier. He went about his day, living on little sleep (I can’t even argue about it anymore), and enjoying good health.

So, when he first described his initial symptoms, I urged him to see a doctor. And when the initial diagnosis came back as “tight hamstrings,” I said bullshit, and sent him to another. When he was formally diagnosed with MS, my initial feeling was shock. My friends acted like it was the end of the world, and yet, a part of me knew that Steve would take this on as he had everything, strong and steadfast, placing one foot in front of the other. Little did I know, that this would become a metaphor for his life, as he struggled to simply get around.

Having said that, my husband can be a pain-in-the-ass, and MS has made him even more so. He refuses to get enough sleep, he pushes himself when he shouldn’t, and he argues with me every time I urge him to pass on the heavy lifting to our son. “I can do it!” he’ll say. He reminds me of a stubborn toddler. I try to understand that it’s a matter of pride and independence, but really, we all have to let go of those twenty-year-old capabilities.

Speaking of arguing, my once easy-going, go-with-the-flow man, isn’t flowing anywhere. I swear what Steve has lost in physical ability he has gained in debating acuity. I say black he says white, my apple, his orange. You get the point.

After knee surgery, I hobbled around with a cane. My shoulder ached, my back felt out of whack, and I couldn’t imagine dealing with this, Every. Single. Day. It gave me a brief glimpse into what he must endure, dragging that leg around, and yet, try as I might to be patient, I sometimes find myself annoyed when he blocks me into a corner, or walks right in front of me, necessitating a quick pivot around him. All in the name of balance. Or his lack of it. Secretly, I think there are times he uses his MS, perhaps not even consciously. “Honey, why don’t you just throw the cat food can in the garage bin?” “I want to conserve my walking.” I don’t always understand how six more steps could make a difference, but then if every step is a feat of balance, and he’s tired on top of it, I suppose it does.

And then there is the worry and angst. Worry about his health, worry about my ability to take care of him and our family, worry that this horrible illness might break his spirit; and angst from watching him struggle. Sometimes it actually hurts to watch him walk up the stairs. Other days, I want to scream out loud when I see him schlepping around the yard, dragging a garden hose or carrying something cumbersome. Sometimes I do. “Let Shodan carry it,” I yell out the screen door. “I can do it myself,” the toddler screams back.

And then, when I find myself exhausted and frustrated, and even a bit pissed, taking care of the house, my mother, my son, meals, laundry, house maintenance, I try to remember to take a breath and count my blessings. Steve is still able to work, and this affords us a nice standard of living. His MS has progressed, but not as quickly as it could have and may still. When I find myself panicking about the future, I try to embrace his idea that whatever may come will come. Most important, I know that we are in this together.

If you enjoyed reading this essay, I would be most appreciative if you would Like and Follow my author page and pass the word!! https://www.facebook.com/kimmarkesichauthorpage/

 

 

Relationships

Relationships

Author’s note: Wouldn’t you know it? My wife’s post had more views than any of the others that preceded it. I’ll be hearing about that one for a while.  Be on the lookout for an occasional post from K in the future. In all likelihood, it will occur after the pain-in-the- ass husband has gotten her to the point where she needs to vent.

Let’s start by stating the obvious: living with a chronic condition sucks. It changes your life by not only placing physical limitations on what you can do, but also provides mental and emotional challenges that did not previously exist. A future that may once have had limitless potential is confronted with storm clouds as far as the eye can see.

All of which make relationships so important. Whether it’s your spouse, life partner, good friend(s) or all of the above, loving relationships make you feel whole and help distract you from your struggles.

Relationships are the ballast that keep our listing ships afloat. They are the mortar that keep our psyche intact. The people in these relationships accept us for who we are, not what we once were or may be. They pick us up when we are down, and kick us in the ass when we’re feeling sorry for ourselves. The sum of these are so vital for us to maintain our self esteem and keep plodding forward.

One of the many things living with something a chronic condition teaches you is how solid the relationships in your life truly are.

I’d like to believe that “in good times and bad, through better or worse, in sickness and in health” mean something, but I’m not naive. Health issues can break up the best of established marriages, and cripple new ones. They are especially corrosive when kids are involved. My MS journey validated what I always knew but perhaps never fully appreciated: K is an exceptional, wonderful human being and I’m lucky to have her.

In terms of relationships with friends, the only benefit of getting something like MS in middle-age is your friends are long-established, and you don’t need to hang with them as much because you have a history and have already carved out lives for yourselves. When you do connect, the atmosphere is laid back, low key, and comparatively mellow. The danger of being isolated and alone due to physical limitations is low.

Finding and/or maintaining friends and lovers in your twenties is much harder when a chronic condition invades your world. Appetites are insatiable at that age. You’re  ravenously exploring what life has to offer. Hanging with the crowd becomes impossible when you’re health weighs you down. While it might not be their intention, it’s hard for friends not to leave you in the dust in that situation. After all, life is a 100 yard sprint at that stage of your life. That’s hard to accomplish with an anchor chained to your leg, and you, tragically, are that anchor.

friends

As far as dating is concerned, not hanging with a crowd makes it difficult to meet and mingle, plus there is the issue of how much to disclose and when to disclose it. Honesty is such an important foundation in any relationship, but if you are forthcoming about a condition like MS from the start, you run the risk of not even getting out of the batter’s box. But if you aren’t forthcoming at all or lie about it, you’ll eventually be exposed as a liar and a fraud, which is worse. Most people aren’t willing to look past your flaws if you can’t be trusted. Talk about a dilemma!

Then there is the issue of feeling lousy or living with pain. It hard to feel or muster the fire and passion that’s taken for granted at that age when that twin-headed monster lurks.  My only advice is to be persistent, stay true to yourself, hope the best, and when you unearth that hard-to-find diamond who looks beyond all that, hold on as tightly as you can without smothering them.

Some may subscribe to the premise that my life took a cruel turn. I can’t deny  there is some truth that assumption, but I don’t dwell on it because my condition didn’t surface until I was close to fifty years of age. That isn’t ancient by any measure, and my retirement years will no doubt be different from what I hoped. Hell, my fifties have been a lot different from what I expected. But, I was able to live it up in my youth, and the years that followed the diagnosis haven’t changed my ability to enjoy life. I can live with that. The last decade has certainly had some challenges and difficulties, but the pace of my life was already beginning to wind down when MS came calling, making the bitter pill easier to swallow. I’m pretty chill when it comes to my reality.

If I were in my late teens or twenties? I’d be a basket case. The perspective my life experience has provided is extremely difficult if not impossible to grasp if you’ve been saddled with this at such a tender age.

My heart bleeds for anyone who has.

Writing Into an Identity

Flowergirlink

Susan’s story is an inspiration. When I discovered her blog, I was immediately struck by her poetry that is beautiful and moving. While I never considered myself a huge poetry fan, I’ve long admired poets because they paint pictures and elicit emotions with an economy of words that is impressive. I was also intrigued, amazed actually, by the presumption that she was totally blind, and could craft such wonderful art. I soon learned that Susan in not completely sightless, but that that doesn’t make what she does any less impressive. I admire her perseverance and tenacity.

If you enjoy poetry, please visit https://floweringink.wordpress.com 

And if you don’t, visit the site anyway. If you’re like me you will be instantly converted.

Thank you Susan.

I discovered Steve’s blog through another blogger, and when I began to read Steve’s posts, I felt through his words a succinct determination, gentle honesty and a real desire to help others.  I find all of this incredibly admirable, and as I read more, I found his humor and strength and an atmosphere of camaraderie.  It was an incredible honor to me when he started to read my blog and then invited me to write a guest post for his.

I can’t deny I am a bit nervous to be a guest here, but more than that I am excited to have been asked.

I am a poet and a writer.  I am married to an Irishman, and we have 2 pugs and 2 cats.  We live in Hollywood, surrounded by an array of interesting characters that often appear in my poems and stories.  I also have a degenerative retinal disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa.  I am going blind.

I grappled with what to write about for this post.  RP seemed an obvious thing, but it doesn’t stand alone.  It isn’t something I hold at arms-length and look at objectively.  It doesn’t define me, but it is part of me. It has become a constant pattern in the fabric of my life, one I didn’t choose and never would have chosen, but one that is indelibly tattooed on my existence.

On the day of my diagnosis, my life changed. RP crept beneath my skin. I couldn’t deny it or shrug it off; it was here to stay and I had a choice to either let it destroy me, or to accept the reality of it and figure out how blindness was going to mesh with my life. It was to be a long and harrowing path littered with obstacles, both literal and figurative.  I felt like my identity had been shattered and I was tasked with finding the pieces and creating something new from them.  I began the journey of learning to become a blind person. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time.

The first 7 years after my diagnosis, I continued to work as a Human Resources Manager, struggling to cope with my disease, while keeping it a secret.  During those 7 years, I came home almost every day, exhausted from over use of my eyes and unable to do anything but lie on the couch, in the dark, because I was in so much pain.  At the time of my diagnosis, I had 50 degrees of peripheral vision (This diagram is a good example of the human visual field), at the end of those 7 years, I had 25 degrees; I had lost half of my remaining vision.  I decided to stop working.

At the time of my retirement (as my husband calls it), I had the grandiose idea that I was going to write full time.  From a very early age, I had a dream of being a writer.  I had always felt like a writer, even declared myself a writer, but the writing itself was inconsistent, at best. I had a few poems published in my early 20’s, but life pulled me under its wheels and my writing voice turned into a whisper. I was a writer who didn’t write. That would remain the case for some years.

When I stopped working, it became clear that I hadn’t really dealt with my RP.  I hadn’t allowed myself the time, and suddenly, I had nothing but time.  I decided I was going to write a book, that writing would be the best way to figure out how to piece together the identity of a visually impaired woman.  Day after day, I sat down at the computer and nothing happened.  I couldn’t feel my voice.  I had no idea who I was.   It was as if everything I had been before RP had gotten demolished by the looming presence of a disease I couldn’t face.

In an attempt to get motivated about the book, I started my blog.  My posts were few and very far between.  I wasn’t looking at myself from a writer’s perspective, I was looking at myself from a blind perspective. I was no longer a writer, I was a blind woman trying to write because I felt I had no purpose; I became weighed down by feeling empty and lost myself in the process. I felt like a failure and a fraud. Then, an old friend of mine made a suggestion that changed my life.  She told me to step away from the blog and go back to what first made me fall in love with writing.  I followed her advice and fell back into the arms of poetry.

I felt my voice return and my passion for language resurface.  I remembered why I had always dreamed of a writing life, why I had fallen in love with words.  I felt my pulse flow onto the page.  I was able to write about RP, to face the reality of it with what felt like a brutally beautiful honesty. I wrote about blindness.  I wrote about my family and my neighborhood and the world around me.  In the return to writing poetry, I rediscovered my passion and it made me feel braver.  I returned to the blog and started posting regularly. I found a writing community that is generous and inspiring. I started sending my poems to journals and magazines and I started getting published again.  It was a true awakening.

It turned out the journey wasn’t one of becoming a blind person, it was one of becoming myself, but I can’t deny that RP played a significant role in leading me back to writing and helping me write into an identity that had been lost.  RP isn’t something that I have and it isn’t something that has me.  Like being a writer, it is simply a part of who I am.