I am often asked why I write.
For me, the answer is quite simple. For me, writing is as essential to life as breathing. It is a time when I unload my mind, unleash my soul, and open my heart, all to exceptional emotional and intellectual satisfaction. It is the method by which I express my thoughts, my fears, my dreams. If I could not write, I would wither up and die.
Sounds dramatic, huh? Obviously, you have never had the essentials for writing ripped from your life. I am not talking about pen and paper. I am talking about the ability to thread words together in a way that entertains, provokes, and inspires. I am referring to the art of crafting scintillating prose from confused musings, random thoughts, and vague facts. I am speaking of the facility to make writing sing though vivid imagery and intriguing stories.
For almost 20 years, I had that ability. Then I lost it. To a culprit called Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
In 2002, I woke up and my legs refused to move. I tried to pull them into various positions until I could finally reach a phone a few feet away to call for help. What followed is a bit of a blur, as I was subjected to some pretty horrendous tests and then left to deal with the soul-crushing diagnosis. MS. Suddenly, a world that bordered on perfection came tumbling down. And I was lost. And I lost myself.
Here’s the thing. MS is a very fickle and cruel disease. Because it affects every single person differently, there is no way to predict its course. And similarly, there is no one definitive treatment and no cure. As I wallowed in despair, reading all the depressing literature on the disease and struggling to find a treatment that would provide some relief, I stopped writing. I could not find the words.
I was a single mother with a toddler and no one could tell me what my future held. So I did what any self-respecting lawyer would do. I put my affairs in order and waited for the inevitable to happen. Death.
Except I didn’t die. I was just exhausted. Within five years I had had seven major medical procedures. I had been doped to the gills and cut to the bone. My life was a blur and I was barely hanging on. I couldn’t write because I couldn’t hold a thought long enough to get it down on paper.
I prayed. A lot. I cursed God for inflicting this inhumane disease on me. Then I begged him for help. One day, I realized it was all up to me. I was the only one who could change the course of events. I needed to take back control of my life.
So I hauled my ass out of my little pity party and made some changes. I began to challenge my doctors and force decisions about treatment that I felt benefited me. I refused treatments that seemed more an excuse to bill my superior insurance than to treat my disease. I stood up and made sure everyone understood that I would no longer be a victim. I was a warrior and I intended to fight.
My mind cleared, my body began to feel strong. And one day, I sat down and started to write. Simple things at first. A poem. A brief monologue. A scene for a story. I picked up a few editing jobs and reacquainted myself with the beauty of the written word. Then the ideas started to flow.
Now when I sit down to write, I am continually grateful for the ability to make magic with words. That’s why I write. For the magic it creates in me and the magic it creates for others.
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