Writer’s block, the Immobility of Illness, and Where to go from Here

Ever since my surgery last October, I have been fairly silent here. Not totally, but enough to have made me wonder: will I ever update my blog again? This was by no means for lack of want or even effort. I lost count of the number of posts I have started and then abandoned, failed to finish. (Just for the record, having just counted the ones I did not just toss outright, the total is 76 posts started.)

Thinking about this now, I am reminded of what now must be hours of me staring at a blinking cursor, not having the slightest idea of what else to say. This has never, ever, ever ever, been a problem before. As those that know me well can attest to, I am not often at a lack for words.

It goes without saying, this is/was beyond frustrating.

So I started to investigate: what was swallowing my words, my voice. I first wanted to understand my muted state of being and then figure out a way to position it differently, use what was keeping my words and thoughts inside as a fulcrum to expel them, write again. Writers block had always seemed like just an excuse to me. No longer.  I get it.

Or perhaps, I am just looking at discovering my own excuses for feeling that I have had a total lack in the department of things to say.  Perhaps the process of treatment and recovery is so boring and so utterly stationary that it just does not compare to before. Perhaps there is an overriding shame of being snared by yet another malady that the pounding echo of a mostly blank computer screen sounds far better than all the gasps of air it takes me to obliterate yet another disease from my blood.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps….

As I am one with multiple advanced degrees in over thinking things, I can not tell you of all the possibilities I conjured to explain my silence. Mainly because I certainly can no longer remember them all, nor would I have the time nor database space to chronicle them all. That, and it really would not matter as I believe I have fished out the main reason: my outward behavior is echoing the most throbbing worry in my mind — I have no effing clue what I am doing nor what comes next.

I have spent so much of the past year floating, drifting, floundering, that even the grounding power of words, allowed me to establish no roots. Which is the height of irony, as I have basically established myself as a full time resident of Chiang Mai. Oh universe, you are such a kidder. You really are….

Awhile back I was messaging back and forth with my friend Slander (fairly certain this was his birth name, but you never know…) and I told him that the worst part of this whole thing – and by whole thing I mean stretching back to when I was first diagnosed with Lupus – is that I constantly feel like I am drifting in a deep sea of limbo, one where I get very wet, so wet that not only my fingertips prune up from constant contact with water, but all my appendages turn to flesh colored raisins. This limbo does not even allow me to guess what my next move/s should be. I know deep down this is an issue that everyone faces and has faced since time immemorial, as each choice flows before them, but  I can not escape from the idea that these choices seem to occur on something akin to freeway interchanges, where my current state seems to resemble living within an amorphous amoeba that is constantly shifting shape and structure. An amoeba fully uninitiated in freeway construction, let alone driving techniques.

Frankly, I feel tied to a fated outcome. And rather than grasp choices of free will, I find that I spend my time looking for oracles, even as I know damn well the likelihood of them not existing, yet choosing not to look for them even seems too like too much of a choice.

I feel forced, plunged into this ever lingering sense of limbo, like I am sitting in a dunk tank and after an constant barrage of balls lobbed from all directions, one finally hits the plunger and I splash! right into that watery existence, soaking head to toe, just to remind me that at any time, any sense of relief, when I think I have escaped the stasis of being kept in amber like a bug,  I have not even escaped the confines of the cage where this pool of despair looms below. Yep, there is that whole waiting game again, the fogged over horizon of having no clue when or where this path ends. The total absence of knowing. I know full well that this is my own manufactured hell, but all the same: I am snared.

I feel this coursing through my veins as much as the cancer cells that still remain. And that I first wrote that as cursing gives you a better idea of just how much this is effecting me mentally.

The other day I was speaking to a friend who knows someone very young, far too young (not even 30) suffering from breast cancer. My friend relayed her wish that it would either just kill her quickly or that she could just defeat it entirely. The idea of fighting a slow losing battle for the next decade or so just feels far too consuming. I understand this thinking. I COMPLETELY understand this thought process. It makes more than perfect sense to me. In fact, nothing makes more sense. The lack of knowing often seems harder than the actual fight to rid ourselves of an unwanted invader.

We are all equipped to deal with the illnesses in/of our bodies. Our immune systems will or will not be effective. What we are not as equally equipped to deal with is the mental side effects of this. We have a choice, deal or break. I have faced that for over six years now, and I have pushed on, refusing to break, even when that was seemingly the only option. But currently I feel far too amassed in this congealed limbo that feels far too much like quicksand.

This quicksand swallows words much like a pillow often consumes so many screams of teenaged angst and frustration. Getting words and thoughts down seems quite secondary when every bit of time and effort could be better used locating a way out, avoiding being swallowed alive, completely, by the limbo you so dearly want out of. And just treading water is beyond exhausting.

I started this in late march of last year. I kept wanting to update my blog, but there would be days when the most i could do was exchange a word or two. And I would celebrate completing just one new sentence. And then by May, I got to the point where I accepted that my words were hopefully going through a process of gestation, and stopped opening this and other semi-formed posts, waiting for them to be born. I have opted to leave most of this as I found it — though I cut out a good bit to be another post entirely. I also added a bit here and there to make it flow and make sense.

I know many people have complained to me about the silence here. And I really am sorry for the abrupt cessation of writing. But as you can see, it apparently was just not in me. And while I have no idea how often I will post here (my general sense is once or twice a week), I am now back in business. I have been writing, have found my words since sometime in the beginning of December (which would be nine months from when I first started gestating this piece. hmmm…..). At first I was sure it was a fluke, as I had just about given up on ever coming back here. But they keep coming.

And I welcome this with a huge sense of relief. And by huge I mean huge on a galactic level.

The next few days, I will post a few posts about this past year, and how i have been dealing with the limbo I describe above. For those still with me, please stay tuned. 



About Randy

I'm just a guy trying to out run his dying kidneys and live life as vibrantly as possible. Until I can't. I grew up in Tejas. Went to school in Vermont. And currently live in Brooklyn. But not for long....
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2 Responses to Writer’s block, the Immobility of Illness, and Where to go from Here

  1. sudaca70 says:

    I’m so glad you’re back in here… I certainly cannot neither understand the process you are going through nor even imagine how it must feel like but just the fact that, every now and then, we are able to find some news in here is actually quite comforting… “As I am one with multiple advanced degrees in over thinking things…”, that I can relate to… Promise me not to ruminate over way too much about things; you have just found a new life so try to enjoy it as much as you can. You deserve it.
    Take care… And keep us posted!

  2. Emma says:

    Good to read this, Randy. While I can’t fully relate to your health and medical struggles, I can relate to your struggles with writer’s block. I have been writing in starts and fits and am redeveloping confidence to start posting again, not to mention trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life! The statis is hard to understand and convey to others, but what you have written here resonates with me. Glad that you are back in the saddle and look forward to reading future posts. Emma xo

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