A Brief Explanation and Drawing from the Darker Side of Life...

I know I've been quiet again, but with good reason. I won't go into great detail but will give you all a quick overview. In the last few years, I've been having greater and greater difficulties with pain, mobility and balance in the lower half of my body. The main cause for all of this is still being investigated by my doctors, including neurologists. And although one explanation seems likely, I am not going to say anything until we finally get a concrete diagnosis.

Naturally, I've been finding the prospect of not being able to get around on my own legs very unsettling and upsetting. Mostly because I only recently turned 60. I wasn't expecting to have problems like this until much later in my life. I certainly did not expect to start having problems beginning in my mid-50's, which is when this all began. 

Anyway, as things have gotten progressively worse, I find myself dwelling on an old Styx song called "Crystal Ball", from the album of the same title. 

At one point in the song comes this particularly passage:

"I wonder what tomorrow has in mind for me.
Or am I even in its mind at all?
Perhaps I'll get a chance to look ahead and see.
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball..."

Now, I've always loved this song and I still do. However, these days I find myself wondering that if I ever did find a crystal ball would I see a wheelchair staring back at me?

I guess the reason I keep thinking back on this song is because back in the 1980's I had to spend an hour in a wheelchair as part of a curriculum for a class I was taking in college. I had to roll about indoors, and outdoors, on the campus so I could understand firsthand what challenges a wheelchair bound person would face. While I was pleased to learn that I could handle moving and manipulating the chair quite well, I was even more touched by how many total strangers helped open and hold doors for me. Naturally, I was extremely grateful for their help especially with the doors, because we didn't have a lot of automatic/disabled doors back then at the college. I also got to experience a number of people I didn't know helping guide me up or down a ramp. It was really a special experience for me, and I've never forgotten it.

And at the time, besides giving me a lot of the insight for what it was like for a disabled person, the experience made me more grateful for what I could do. And as a result, I began using my bicycle more, and even began taking more and more long walks, and jogging in the mornings. I even eventually began taking dance classes, plus other activities. 

Of course, at the time I was attending college, I never pictured myself having to deal with such a possible future for myself. And I know this to be true for a lot of people who have become paraplegic or worse. Unfortunately, things happen in our lives like car accidents, falls, etc. Or a person can develop a very serious and debilitating disease that affects not only their life, but the lives of those closest to them as well.

So, I guess what I'm driving at is that this whole experience has been quite an eye-opening journey. I'm constantly trying to adjust to my circumstances, as well as trying to come to grips with the things I can't do like dancing (especially ballroom style), or taking those nice long walks, wandering through woods, or going down to the beach and walking across the sand (which really kills me, because I LOVED doing that). Hell, I can't even reach the ocean water these days, at least not without a nice long pier and a lot of help.

But my condition has also made it harder for me to write. Not that I can't type anymore mind you (although sitting has become more difficult for even short periods of time, never mind longer ones). It's more, my brain is so busy trying to deal with all that's been happening, and how it affects how I look at myself most days. 

Which brings me to today's topic about drawing from life for your writing. In spite of all I've been going through, I am still generating loads of new story ideas. My biggest challenge is just being able to sit comfortably long enough to be able to really flesh them out. And believe me, I've been having so many thoughts and ideas coming to me, since this all this began. 



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