Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ups-a-Daisy, or the Ups and Downs of Butt-in-Chair

So I haven't posted any updates here lately, largely because I haven't been doing any actual writing. I know, bad thing to admit. Worse that it's true. The only writing related accomplishment of the last two weeks has been finishing a synopsis of Knychtspelle, the novel I've co-written with Emily Leverett.

(Thanks to Stuart Jaffe, by the way, for guidance on how to write a synopsis in an organized and relatively painless way. See his directions here.)

So, what's my excuse this week? And why am I writing about it?  Because that's the way life goes sometimes. Sometimes you have to just power through and sometimes you have to accept that life has twisted your ankle and you'll be limping for a little ways. In my case the "twisted ankle" is more like a twisted brain. (Tee hee. There you have it. I just admitted in print that I'm off plumb.)

Frankly, I'd rather have the ankle twist. Recently my neurologist recommended I try a certain prophylactic drug to stop my migraines. Fabulous! I said. Unfortunately, the side effects that only catch 1/3 of users have caught me.  Dizziness. Nausea. Fever. Joint pain. Sleeping 13 hours a day. Slurring and stumbling. Just driving the 2 miles from work to home was dangerously difficult. I tried to outline a new novel idea, but all I could manage was one sentence. Then I went back to bed for four hours. So that's my excuse for not writing lately.

I'm blogging about all this because, at the risk of being preachy, this is one of those attitude tests that life throws at us all the time. Let me repeat that. This is normal. This is life. This is why Proverbs says that man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. I don't mean this pessimistically. Quite the opposite - life is good and beautiful. But what makes life beautiful is not usuall an absence of difficulty. What makes life beautiful is most often what we do with our difficulties.

Obviously, I'm going off the medication. And I'll sit down with the doctor and talk about other options. But the real test is what I do internally. Self pity is a damned ugly thing, my friends, and I say that from experience. As C.S. Lewis, said I'm not swearing here; I mean it literally. Do I simply treat my medical needs, or do I make them the source of my identity? Do I curse God or do I praise Him? The answers to these questions determine whether or not I'm living an ugly life, or a beautiful one into which some trouble has fallen.

If that sounds too preachy or too "New Agey" consider the wisdom that I've heard from multiple experienced Christians. Whatever choice we make about how we respond to particular problems is a choice we're making for our eternal characters. The people we choose to be today are the people we're practicing to be at age 80. Someday, I may be an addled old lady in a rocking chair, but I hope I'll be the sweet old loon who makes the nurses laugh, not the crabby old bat they pass off to the new guy.


  1. Wise words! Attitude: checked. We were remarking in Drewry's class yesterday how you seem to have gotten slammed nonstop with sickness the past few semesters and it's just not fair! But it looks like you're handling it better than most of us would. I hope you get some answers soon, but thanks for the encouragement in the meantime =)

  2. Thank you, Amanda! That's one of the things I love about the APU community. You are all so supportive.


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