Despite how much logically and emotionally I know that my health is not my fault, I feel like shit. I feel like everything I do has failed and everything I have tried is not as good as it could be or not good at all. I recognize this all and I see them as subjective extensions of my disability. I can’t do much to fix my health but rot away and wait for good news.
Last week, I was asked by a security guard before my doctor’s appointment: “How many legs you got there” / “How many legs do you have?” I don’t remember the exact verbiage, but I can tell you that I was mad and it wasn’t funny. I filled out a survey and emailed the office manager. Today I received a response about this “recent unfortunate event.” I replied by saying that disabled people are often treated poorly.
It’s not so much that “once upon a time”-style stories are boring, which is to say simple stories with conventional structures, it’s that the meat on those bones is often uninteresting. The sorts of media I enjoy the most are the plumpest, meatiest, and flavorful imaginable. On those bones of a straightforward story, in a few lines, a skilled writer can convey information to progress the plot, share character or worldbuilding details, or progress society.
I woke up this morning with a headache. It was because of the way my pillow had arranged itself throughout the night, it lifted up my spine too much, causing severe pressure to my head. I’ve had experience with this before, but I woke up in the headspace where I ask: How could this be applied to “The Story?” Does John experience occasional, severe headaches? If so, does that outweigh Trishna’s severe, frequent spine pains?
I’ve been feeling terrible for the past few days. There’s the physical and mental stress of enduring constant pain, without relief. There’s worrying about whether medical relief will intervene to relieve the pain long enough to get into better health. There’s societal pressures regarding doing things to maintain sociability – not socializing, but being societal. There’s the constant, never-ending, feeling of wanting to do more than I can. There’s all that, but I’m feeling better now.
How have my own disability experiences affected “The Story?” I don’t believe by much. I am not disabled in the same ways as Trishna or John, but my own experiences can amplify the sensations that I would have been able to intuit but not intimately know without having experienced them. There is a certain value, then, to write about what you know – but I know these characters. Wouldn’t that be enough for knowing about them?
Spoilers?: Minor [knowing yourself, characters]
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Compared to yesterday, I had zero spine flare-ups, but compared to a baseline average, I had plenty of physical opposition from my lower back, tailbone, and left leg for dominance of my consciousness. I had purposefully decided to take today off, but I half-figured, if my health were in a decent condition, I might try to do at least something. The most I could do is cook food for myself and mentally prepare for tomorrow.
I consider each time my spine pain gets really bad to be a spine flare-up. Months ago, one was enough to knock me out for the day. Today, I had three. Even writing this, my tailbone is flaring up, so if you wanted to count empirically, how many flare-ups did I have today? How many dozens or hundreds of times did my spine steal my focus, reduce my quality of life or physicality with pain?
“How many legs you got there?” I was stunned by the question the security guard greeted me with after I used my crutches to get up the ramp into the clinic of my new[est] doctor’s office. I was too tired from the act of moving my broken body from my apartment, down the stairs from my second-floor apartment, and, hesitant against arguing with an authority figure, I just stuttered, stammered, and ignored the ignorant question.
If you want to be a writer, most of your time should be spent learning how to write, other than resting your mind, taking care of societal obligations, and otherwise taking care of yourself. Assuming you’ve handled most of that, regardless of whether you play a videogame or broadcast, you should be spending your prime thinking time engaged with writing. Don’t let things distract you from your central goal, but, some distractions can help you.