I’m going to give some stuff away today, but first, I have to tell you that I got sick last week.
I got sinusitis. Have you had this disease? A friend – a previous sufferer – and me were discussing that it should have a more appropriate name. Because ‘sinusitis’ seems like a really bland, innocuous name for the thing we both had.
We made a short list of potential names that we could submit to the medical fraternity to replace the harmless-sounding ‘sinusitis’ moniker – names like ‘Imminently Exploding Head Disease’, or ‘My Eyeballs are Hurting Now Career’, or maybe ‘Extreme Facial Agony Syndrome’.
Yeah, that was what I had. I confess that, when I finally dragged myself to the doctor, I cried in the doctor’s office. I was like, ‘Please don’t send me home with nothing! This can’t be normal!’, which was kind of embarrassing but also fruitful. I was given strong painkillers and antibiotics, and my husband was surprised that actually, yes, there appeared to be something genuinely wrong with me (because rolling around groaning is not, in our house, sufficient indication that there’s a problem).
So I took the painkillers and antibiotics, and then… Wow. Just wow. I’d been in pain for days, and now it was gone. I had not experienced that before, outside of childbirth. I think I laughed a little in the car on the way home, because it felt so amazing, and I was so relieved to be a person again (and the pain killers were a little spacey, yeah?).
I can’t say there are many things that throw writing completely out of my head. But this was definitely one of them. And since I got sick, and now in recovery mode, I haven’t had a chance to do any writing. In fact, that’s okay. It’s meant I’ve had a whole week of not setting my alarm for an early morning – actually, it’s meant a whole lot of not doing anything at all. And I am okay with that. I think, for the moment, recuperating is enough.
Because earlier this year I read a great article by Isobelle Carmody in The Victorian Writer*, about how you have to be quite exposed to write. Carmody expressed it a great deal more beautifully than me, but basically she said you have to be out of your comfort zone – you have to open yourself up, and be vulnerable. She described it as ‘having that safe smoothness rubbed off how you live your life’. She felt that generally people work towards giving themselves a comfortable life, that most of the time we walk around really unconsciously, not really seeing or hearing or experiencing things, especially the every day things.
But you can’t do that if you want to write. You can’t be unnoticing – or maybe you can be, but you’ll make rather dull writing. We are all, Carmody said, normally looking for ways to be comfortable, but writers have to seek outside their comfort zone, where ‘everything hurts and everything feels scary’. She referred to it in terms of letting life sandpaper its way over you, so you’re open and unsafe. And you have to have a certain amount of mental stamina to do that, to allow yourself to be open like that.
Last week I got sandpapered all to hell. I’ll remember that, but now it’s time to absorb and recuperate, and then I might be able to draw on that experience when I return to my writing (in a few days – a week is a long time for me not to be working). I’ll also be able to build myself back up for the next sandpapering, and the next. If I want to keep writing, and not burn myself out, I need to have that store of mental and emotional stamina. It’s something I’m constantly striving for – sometimes I feel like I have it, and other times I just feel exhausted. I just try to take it easy and remember that this is a long haul process.
So – recuperating! Yay. Recuperating, at this stage, seems to involve a lot of napping and reading. I mean, I’m still doing all the usual household things that you do within your family, and to keep the house running, but in between those things I’m napping and reading. Which is great – that’s a recuperation strategy I can totally get behind, you know? And Christmas is coming, which I’d almost forgotten about until now, when it’s a month before Christmas and I haven’t bought anything for anybody. So my plan is to recuperate, prepare for Christmas, and then cheer, because we got through this amazing year.
Would you like an early Christmas pressie? As I’ve been so slack with preparations this year, on account of books launching and so on, I was surprised to discover that I have actually got a special pressie for those of you who read the blog.
Here it is – it’s the very last of my Every Breath launch packs. A poster, a t-shirt, and a signed copy of the book. Voila! (wow, I feel so organised!)
If you’d like to win this prize pack, then put your name in the hat. I don’t really do the rafflecopter thing, so I’m just going to ask people who would like to enter to either: 1) Comment here on the blog, or 2) Comment on my Facebook page, or 3) send me a Tweet @elliemarney. That’s it – just do one of those three things, with your name (your first name or Twitterhandle is fine), and then in 2 weeks, when I put up a new blogpost, I’ll draw somebody’s name out of the hat, and you might be the winner!
So – in my weakened state *cough*, that it is for today. Although it would be remiss of me not to mention that Every Breath features in the December issue of Dolly magazine, and has been getting lots of lovely new reviews…so now I’ve mentioned it. Next blog post, I’ll draw the winner of the Every Breath prize pack, and also interview a cool new YA Crime author. Until then, enjoy what’s been (for us) a late start to summer, with plenty of rain and not too many baking-hot days just yet. Take care, don’t get sinusitis, see you next time J
And now it’s time for my nap.
* The article is called ‘Fish Hook in my Heart’ from April 2013 and I recommend you look it up, it’s a ripper.