I have so much work to do with my writing. My first attempt at a story, a few months after the stroke, was paragraph after paragraph of expository writing. Summaries, no description, no imagery, no character development. As I wrote it, I imagined all the description as I usually do, but somehow it never hit the page.
It was just sentence after sentence of summary, the kind of literal writing I chalk up as “notes to self” while writing a draft.
Ugh, I thought. But I couldn’t write anything else. I could NOT write fiction. The descriptions, the imagery, the characters, any facet of imagining and transmitting imagination…absent. Inaccessible. Locked up in some part of my brain. The road to imagination was SHUT. Avalanched. Blown up.
Thank goodness for non-fiction, I thought (yes, I know figurative language exists in nonfiction). I kept that draft of the short story to look at later, to view as a point of comparison.
But slowly, my fiction writing capabilities came back. I looked at that draft of writing void of figurative language–and knew I was getting better. Metaphors, imagery…all of that started to appear again in the new writing.
Still, I’ve got a tendency towards exposition. It’s what I do when I tire…and I tire easily these days. As a result, it takes FOREVER for me to write a story. Now–one of my strengths is plot, so I can still sketch out plot with expository writing…but that does not a story make.
Anyway. Lots of work ahead.
Head down. Go. It’s how I run. Head down. Count to ten. Look up. Head back down. Count to ten. Look up.
I’m on this marathon of recovery, and I just run on hope that my writing will end up even better for all of this. The process looks and feels so different. I get highly discouraged. Am I better? Am I even competent again? Keep going. Head down.
This last stretch is difficult. I’m almost there. I am told that “I am okay,” but I know I’m not all the way okay just yet. I know what my capabilities were, and I know what they are, and I see the gap. It kills me–so much that I think I’m wearing a little groove on my lower lip from biting it all the time. Biting my lip, biting my lip, biting my lip. Keeping myself from screaming, from crying. Am I imagining what I used to be capable of?
It’s hard to bitch about being at 90%. It’s an “A,” right? No one understands. People are ready for me to be okay, and sick of me being sick. And there are plenty of people worse off than me, so who am I to complain?
Bite my lip. Bite my tongue. Head down.