Friday, February 17, 2012


So often lately I can’t seem to get out of my own way. I have these ideas for posts and write them in my head and know just how they should go, the points they should cover and the links and resources they should include.

And then I sit down to write them (or add to the few lines saved in a draft folder) and I don’t have the mental energy or clarity to do them the way I want. So I get stuck—if I can’t do the stand-alone, substantive pieces I’ve planned, I don’t do anything.

Really, that’s not what writing—or blogging—is about. After all, when I hit rough patches in my freelance work or in the book draft, I don’t stop altogether. I just move to a different section and come back to the problem area when I’ve worked it out.

Even more than that, I find that what I want to write about lately aren’t always the things I am comfortable writing about, or aren’t necessarily what a blog about chronic illness covers.

Aside from days like today, when weeks of feeling sick caught up with me and I am flat-out, heavily medicated, almost hospitalized sick, chronic illness in of itself isn’t something I spend too much time thinking about, and the fundamentals of it—symptoms, treatments, fluctuations—have never been all that interesting to me as a writer. Of course it’s part of my daily life, like when my lungs are so tight it is hard to carry my daughter upstairs, or chest PT happens at a time when she needs me. But family stuff, parenting stuff, work stuff, and, well, life stuff consume most of my attention and efforts.

It is the relationship between chronic illness and all those other facets of life that is a richer source of material, and I suppose it always has been.

Blogs grow, writers grow, interests grow. My life has changed a lot since I started this blog as a single graduate student. My roles are different now—mother, wife, full-time faculty member, published author—and as a result of these changes, I am different, too. Of course—we all are. So instead of fighting this constrained feeling, this writerly need to express the ideas that really resonate with where I am now, I need to work through it. Just write, I tell my students during free write exercises. No caveats, disclaimers, hesitations, or explanations.

That’s my plan, then, to try and find my equilibrium in this space, to be a more engaged writer, reader, and commenter. Some of the topics I’m interested in exploring more include parenting, parenting after infertility, clean cooking and eating (for children, too), writing, and, as a testament to this blog’s roots, how to be a better patient—because that role still matters, and continues to change as everything else does.

As readers, what are you interested in discussing more?

And finally, because it is an important piece of equilibrium for me, a quick installment of (Weekly) Grace in Small Things:

1. Lazy, happy dogs sprawled on the rug, sleeping in the warm beam of February sun streaming through the front window.

2. A giggling, chuckling toddler whose laugh reaches every corner of the house and always makes me smile.

3. Words with Friends, which makes time spent in exam rooms and waiting areas go much quicker, and is a small, silly way my husband and I keep in touch during the day.

4. The ability to say yes, without hesitation, when my worried doctor asks I have anyone who can help me out while I get over these infections.

5. Catching up with a good friend and wonderful writer this week whose continued success and dedication is awesome to watch.


abcsofra said...

I love to read it all. Whether you write about parenting, writing, or will always have a chronically ill slant because you are chronically ill after all. That doesn't mean it will scream...I AM ILL! No, it will be you writing it instead as a subject you want to write about. And isn't that what really matters after all?

Rachel said...

I like playing WWF with my brother to connect over the thousand miles between us. :)

Laurie said...

Thanks so much, abcsofra. And yes, you are right, that is what really matters.

It's like my life stretched and now my blog needs to fit it....

Rachel, I can imagine what a nice way that is to connect over long distances!

britta said...

I agree...I enjoy reading it all, because we all (well, most of us) also have chronic illnesses and are trying to figure out how and why things work or don't in our own lives too! You will always have readers whether you write often or every few months!

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