I’m naked. Well, almost. I’m wearing only a fig leaf.
That’s the way it feels sometimes, writing this blog. Looking at my comfort zone through the rear view mirror. I enjoy it. But It’s exposing.
To be clear, I’ve no qualms about sharing the content of the stories. That’s just life. It’s posting something I’ve written, for all to see. That’s the scary part. At least it was. I’m mostly over that now.
I’d wanted to try writing stories for a long time. But I procrastinated. My excuse was lack of inspiration. A self-imposed obstacle I overcame by using my own experiences as material. There was, it turned out, quite a lot to play with.
Receiving feedback on your writing, good or bad, is the best way to improve. I was thrilled when a friend, a published author (looking at you Nigel), said of my first post ‘very tense and evocative… Looking forward to the next part’. I needed that validation. But you have to take the rough with the smooth. Another friend said my writing style is ‘a bit verbose’. Ouch.
I love it most when a reader tells me they laughed out loud. Silently, I hope it’s at one of the parts I intended to be funny.
Some family characters are, sadly, no longer alive. I use the blog to reminisce about their bonkers sense of humour. I’m not above using fart stories for a cheap laugh, and neither were they. Let’s face it, the comedy larder always has a well-stocked shelf of fart jokes. My family are not prudes in this area. To illustrate, my maternal great grandmother’s legacy is a selection of colourful phrases to describe fart types. A sample:
‘That one had its slippers on!’ = secretive, silent, noxious
‘Two sniffs of that and you’re a greedy bugger!’ = stinky
‘Grab that one and paint it blue!’ = inexplicable
But I digress.
An unexpected pleasure of writing the blog is reconnecting with old friends, schoolmates and teachers. Reflecting, for example, on how little we communicated about the accident at the time. Not in a judgmental way. We were kids. I don’t recall anyone, other than the police, asking me about the details of that night. We also mused on our frequent boozy capers.
Recounting the repercussions of the accident has, via Facebook groups, connected me with others with the same injury (BPI). They’re far more knowledgeable about the physiology than I ever was. There are incredible treatments now that weren’t available back in ’83. I’ve learned that I’m lucky. Many suffer intolerable pain. Always looking for new treatments to ease their suffering. My pain has always been manageable.
Finding your tribe is easier in the digital age. In closed Facebook groups, BPI survivors share tips and support one another. Such a different experience to mine. Until 6 months ago, when I started the blog, I had no contact with other BPI-ers.
It’s not all gloom in the groups. The recent discovery of a one-hand-operated-Bagel-Guillotine created excitement among the US members. Now able to slice bagels cleanly into two halves. Previously impossible with only one hand. I may start eating bagels just to try it.
Joining these groups led to an interview for The Capable Body podcast. I’m a veteran, it seems, in the BPI survivor community. I was happy to do it but wasn’t sure I had much to say. I needn’t have worried. I couldn’t stop talking. The podcast will be released in a few weeks.
So where now for this blog? There is no plan. As long as I’m enjoying it I’ll continue. The goal is to write better stories. The best way to do that is practice.
I urge you to get your kit off. Figuratively of course. Provide feedback in the comments below, on the Facebook page or over a beer at the pub. Anywhere. Come in. The water is lovely.