― Shannon L. Alder
I want nothing more than to be in a place to share with you all the highs and lows of my time at AWP this weekend. But whether it's the Sunday night blues, or the reality of life hitting me like a MAC truck right now I'm just not up for it. My AWP post will have to wait until next time, for my next "Write to Heal" series...if and when the doc can confirm for me this week that writing will still be a part of my future, my healing, me.
Sounds cryptic, I know. But here's the truth, my right hand ring finger ulcer (though it once showed promise of healing well) has taken a turn for the worse. The ulcer is beginning to spread again, further down the bone and it is red and swollen and hurts often. This is not a good sign.
While I had a great time at AWP this weekend, meeting people, going to panels, learning about publishers, it was bitter sweet. I had to keep repressing the urge to just throw my hands in the air and say fuck it, I might not be able to write for much longer anyway, so what's the point?
Thinking about all the self-doubt and fear I heard at AWP and hear at least once a week from most writers about rejection letters etc. I can't help but think: At least you have hands that work. At least you are not afraid of losing the physical ability to write.
I submit everything, to everyone, and try to write often because I don't know when it will all be taken from me. So please...REJECT me...at least it means I wrote something. It proves my body, my hands are still good for something.
I know I'm being dramatic, two missing fingertips isn't the end of the world. It doesn't even have to mean the end of my writing career...in fact...as I type this now I'm only using 8 of my digits...so sure.. why the hell not..go ahead and just chop the damn thing off like I did the last time. But I guess I just wonder...why does that have to be the answer?
I know my current hand doc is going to do everything in his power and ability to save my fingertip, but I know that that will also come with a cost. Financially, emotionally and psychologically. And just the mere thought of that exhausts me.
I have had to reimagine so much in life, change course, bury dreams, start over. Just not sure how many more times I can keep reinventing myself.
I let go of acting because my body said no.
I let go of teaching full time because my body said stop.
I let go of motherhood because my body said I won't and I can't.
I don't want to have to let go of writing.
Sure, I can try my damndest to be the one-handed/8 fingered literary genius that takes the world by storm, but it's going to cost me and it won't be easy. It takes me twice as long to get the words down, I make twice as many errors trying to get my fingers to reach the right keys, and one day of writing leaves me with cramping, tingling excruciating pain in my wrists and fingertips for two days after.
I try to pace myself, take breaks, stretch and only do what I can. But it's frustrating to have to stop when you're in the middle of a good writing moment or when the ideas are flowing. And yet, I succumb to the pain and let go of the urges to press through.
It won't be easy, no one ever said life would be and I'm not willing to give up just yet..on this wicked finger or on writing, I guess I just hoped the pain free, angst free days would last just a little bit longer.