Thursday, January 17, 2013

Looking for help

It's been over a year now since I effectively stopped writing regularly in our blog. The reason I perportively gave at that time was because I was going to work on writing a book about this experience of a patient as a doctor. I haven't done a very effective job at doing either over the last year. As I reflect on my life at that time, I had just switched from Revlimid to Velcade to treat my disease. While Revlimid had more physical side effects, Velcade has produced more insidious psychological side effects. As a result, my motivation suffered. It is very difficult to write without motivation. It would briefly return on Wednesday evenings when the morning dose of Decadron produced a state of hypo-mania coupled with insomnia and mild dis-inhibition. (This is where I am tonight.) All of which can be useful for writing.
Yet I would occasionally force myself to sit and write in fits and spurts. As such, the book is now essentially written. I am now ready to free it from the solitary confinement of my mind (and a file on my desktop) to let others read it, and critique it. This is actually a scary proposition. That is why Barbie will read it first. I trust her. Over the last week I have been quite anxious about publishing it. What if people don't like it? What if they can't relate? Millions of books are written. Why does the world need another one? I tell myself that my only audience is that of my future grandchildren, and that helps me to keep going. Sometimes I think that I will share great, previously un-thought truths, some enlightened revelation to benefit humanity only to realize that there is nothing that I have ever thought, said or written that hasn't already occurred to some millions of other observant humans so many times over the last 10,000 years; and then I realize, "It's new to me, and is therefore of great value." "These are the lessons that I needed to learn."
Do we really need books anymore? Books take too long to read when we have social media. Of course there are blogs which represent the cyberspace union of narcissism and voyeurism. But given their wordiness, they might require a longer attention span. For those with medium attention spans there is Facebook. While those with limited attention, and prone to quick boredom, can opt for Twitter. For pre-schoolers there is Pinterest. (I like to look at the pictures.)
There are times when trying to describe the scope of a life requires more, and therefore more investment from the reader. I once heard, while attending a lecture on chaos theory, that in New York City there is only sufficient food on the island of Manhattan to last for three days. And yet, there is no master plan on how to get this food resupplied on a daily basis. It just happens. Any regular mathematical model would fail in trying to describe this so the problem is given to those who can speak in the terms of chaos theory.
Imagine that Manhattan is a book. Chapters would be found in SoHo, the Village, The Upper East Side, Time Square. The pages are made up of the restaurants in China Town, the penthouses near Columbus Circle and the Galleries in Chelsea. The words are us. We build the stories of the book everyday of our lives. But you couldn't truly read the Book of Manhattan if you never left Wall Street. You would have to take the Subway for a day at the Met; a stroll in Central Park. You would need to stand in Battery Park and gaze off at the Statue of Liberty. However, while you may get a feel for Manhattan, you could ever comprehend it all.
A single human life is more complex than all of Manhattan. Are lives are not as ordered and planned as we think they could be. Chaos is all around us and in us. It has been difficult for me to assemble even a year and a half of my life so that I can make literative sense to those that may read it. I struggle to tie strings of relevance with a knot at each critical turning point to guide the unfamiliar along this foreign path. My only tools are memories and words; woefully inadequate. There are passages of my own prose that are torture for me to read as they rekindle painful memories that are immediately real. And yet I know that my failing as a writer can never convey that same visual memory burned in my brain. So why bother.
My hope comes from the reader. They will subconsciously recognize my gaps in narrative and fill them seamlessly with their own imagination, experiences and intuition. Our common human wisdom may serve to save this endeavor. This gives me some hope. My story, in a way, becomes their story in the sharing.
Once Barbie, and a few others, read this and it is finally done. I have no idea how to publish it. Or how to even start. I have heard that I could put it as an E-Book on Amazon. I don't know. If anyone has any good suggestions. Please let me know.