December 11, 2019

I wake, tired and nauseous, knowing I will have to go back to bed to get more rest. A few broken hours of sleep won’t cut it. But I come from the shower – the heat having warmed my bones, settled the pain, and opened my eyes.

The writing is the work. Since the end of NaNoWriMo in November, I’ve been engaged in other work — important bill-paying work — but not the work of my heart. The only exception is the night at WordStorm last Thursday, where I read my intimate piece on play and desire, and tonight, when I will go to the third meeting of the Nanaimo writer’s group to continue to stake a claim on my desire.

I have been thinking about the novel, Lost*, and realized that my work is all about the interior life. There are scenes of action and movement, but for the most part, my work is about a character’s — and my — interior life. These are the thoughts, emotions — and lack thereof — and the motivations that drive us. These motivations are often unconscious, and yet it’s these motivations that change the world.

Reading the piece on play and desire last week reminded me that my passion is writing. There is so much in life that comes first — illness, scrabbling to make a small living on a not-liveable wage, supporting those I care about the most: and finding a way to repair the wrongs of the world by untangling the mess of my past.

Neither of the latter are small goals and are ones I’ve neglected.

I think — what can someone small and insignificant like me do? The answer is, of course, write. To tell the world how the marginalized, the ill, and the possibly crazy see the world, and perhaps catch a little truth of how we all see the world if we were only brave enough to admit it.

I’ve thought a lot lately about John Donne’s prose poem “No Man is an Iland” — and realize this is how I’ve lived my life. I have been intimately concerned with the effects of my life on others — even during the lost years of my mental illness when it seemed bare survival took up all my time, and I could not act on correcting the wrongs I did. Perhaps I can now. Perhaps writing is the only way for me to do that as a chronically ill person.

I realize that a lot of my writing on Blackbird at Night is not about invisible illness so much, but about the experience of illness — the interior life of the chronically ill and possibly crazy! My novels are definitely about this, as are the short stories and poems. It’s what I do. When you are limited in moving through the world, you move through an interior world.

 And so I’ve promised myself to spend a little time each day setting down what’s going on in my interior life and how it affects how I see the world outside. I’ve tried journalling in various forms, but with Dabble, I think I’ve finally found the way to bring those daily thoughts together, no matter where I am or how I’m doing.

Some of these thoughts I’ll share on Patreon and others will quietly simmer beneath the surface and, in time, will inform the work I share. I think that’s how most writers work. However, I also promise to stay true to my roots of integrity and authenticity, so sometimes, I’ll share the things that might be easier to conceal and bury.

Sharing the difficult things is scary and sometimes painful, but it’s my firm belief that expressing these things is the only way we’ll grow.

With love,

Jane

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