- by Eileen Dreyer
So there I was minding my own business, my deadlines set, my story in progress, ideas popping up like weeds in a front lawn. I’d even packed for a three-week trip to Ireland where I was going to hide, hibernate and write until my fingers bled. All alone. On the west coast by the ocean. Did I mention alone?
I’d been planning it for a long time. I knew exactly what I was going to work on during the hours I wasn’t walking the headlands(alone) or sitting in a music pub with a Fanta in my hand. Instead, the day before I was supposed to get on a plane, I landed in the hospital. Nothing terrifying. A bout of what we lovingly call the ‘family disease.’ Diverticulitis.
Okay, I thought, I can take care of this. Done it before. Get some antibiotics, reschedule the flights.
It happened again two weeks later. Time, my doctor told me, to vanquish the little bugger once and for all. Which meant surgery. Again, nothing terrible. Except it involved general anesthesia and 4 days in the hospital. And two weeks of an absolutely dead brain. In fact, this is the first thing I’ve written since three days before surgery.
I didn’t really hurt that badly ever. But neither did I get off the couch. I couldn’t even make it to the internet and Facebook, which, for me, was dire. I just sat watching old black-and -white movies I didn’t have to pay attention to and wondered where my brain went.
It continues to amaze me how something like this wallops you. Even if you don’t feel particularly awful, suddenly you’re asleep on the couch drooling gently into the cushions, while your open computer blinks longingly, as if to say, “Remember me?”. I was even at the stage a few days ago of thinking, “Aw, the hell with it. I’ll give ‘em their money back. I don’t want to write anymore. Not romance. Not suspense. Not anything. I just want to sit here and…” Gently drool into the cushions.
I’m glad to say that while I wasn’t looking, my energy rebounded. I actually find myself thinking, “What would such-and-such a character do in this situation?” I even picked up the book on astronomy I’m reading for research. I can almost feel my brain cells sparking like out-of-time sparkplugs, trying to generate enough energy to turn over the creative engine.
I did some walking, some shopping, some lunch (oh, all right. I also had 22 people over for Thanksgiving, which might have set things back a little. But it was mostly fun) (okay, I did end the evening on the couch drooling). And slowly I realized that the voices I’d thought were lost, had only had the volume turned way down.
They’re coming back. And I can’t wait to sit down and see what they say. I would have done it days ago, but, well, life intruded.