Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Painful Moments of Literary Observation

So 4 AM this morning as I lay (dying? writhing?) in my bed at Emergency, I was passing a kidney stone and thinking: how will this experience help my writing? I was also wondering when the morphine would arrive, but that's not pertinent to this blog. The first thing I noticed is that extreme interior pain tends to reduce one's (let's say a character's) conversation skills to one word grunts. "Painkiller. Now. Please." Also, it is a cliche, but one cannot help appealing to higher powers: "Mother. Mother. Make it stop."  (Many a dying soldier in World War One cried out for their mothers in the end). Another reaction, even if that character is not religious, is to still pray between clenched teeth: "Dear God, please make it stop." And finally, the third reaction is swearing. Which thankfully I (err, I mean the character) refrained from while the health personell were in the room.

The other thing I learned was that even in real life some symbols can hit you over the head. While alone in the room, staring up into the far too bright fluorescent light, a large fly began to buzz around me, sounding a lot like a B-52 bomber. It would land on my knee and stare, divebomb near my ears, or quietly tickle my arm. I couldn't help thinking that this fly was way to obvious as a symbolic piece of this all too real story. That fly = death. I did inform the fly that he had come far too soon and was being a little too obvious. He laughed. He knew he was safe. After all I couldn't get him with my IV hand. And various other medical cables meant that I couldn't move. I was happy when he finally left through the open door.

I also learned, thankfully, why Coleridge and other poets liked morphine so much. But I did not write Xanadu once I'd had my hit. Instead, I slept.

And there is a happy ending. The stone is passed. And I am home. Now to use all this new knowledge to my advantage.

Art

P.S. AC/DC is also a relatively good painkiller. Place iPod earphones in ear. Crank up to 11.
P.P.S Stay hydrated folks. Please.

7 comments:

Deb Marshall said...

Man oh man and glad you are at home and it is ooooover. You are so on about how the writer brain works....how can I use this. Just back from a back packing trip. Whole time I was imagining one of my characters up there-bit more pleasant than your experience, well not so much for her. I kept throwing rocks at her and chasing her up trees. Anyhow 'nough rambling from me!

Deb Marshall said...

Man oh man and glad you are at home and it is ooooover. You are so on about how the writer brain works....how can I use this. Just back from a back packing trip. Whole time I was imagining one of my characters up there-bit more pleasant than your experience, well not so much for her. I kept throwing rocks at her and chasing her up trees. Anyhow 'nough rambling from me!

Lia Keyes said...

Well, YOU've been busy while I wasn't paying attention, haven't you? I don't know... Turn your back for one minute and all hell breaks loose, B52 flies included. What a nightmare!

So sorry you've been through such a painful and scary experience, Art. Sending you hugs and all the very best for a speedy recovery!

Wish I had written Xanadu... just sayin...

Arthur Slade said...

Thanks Deb! Of course, I'd rather not go through the experience. And yes backpacking does sound like a lot more fun.

Arthur Slade said...

Thanks, Lia. And yeah, those B-52 Flies are very aggravating.

I wish I'd written Xanadu, too.

Linda Aksomitis said...

Art, goodness sounds like an ordeal! I'm glad you've recovered. Isn't it awful how we writers can look at pretty much "any" experience as fodder for writing?

Arthur Slade said...

Yes, it is Linda. We're awful, we writers! ; )