No this post isn’t a new poem, such as I’ve been posting to this blog on most days in April. This post follows on from a conversation/chat with a friend on Facebook, John Malone. John is a real friend, as well as being a Facebook friend. We share some things in common, both writers and poets, both with a sometimes quirky sense of humour. this is a link to John’s blog – it’s a mighty fine one, well worth reading!

This is something I posted on John’s blog recently:
‘I try to sit in the best spot in a meeting, so I’m where I can hear the best. I pay attention when people are talking, and I look at people too, to pick up clues. I don’t really think about these things, I just do them. My poor hearing in my right ear was picked up when I was in junior primary, then we moved house. I’m not sure whether anything was ever talked about by my parents. I did well enough at school, so I suppose it didn’t matter that my hearing wasn’t very good.
Having written all of that, I’m wondering whether this slight disability had anything to do with me becoming a writer? It feels like it may have been involved in the way my life has gone. Thank you for this question John – I’d never written anything about these issues before, or even rally thought about them.’

John then posted a comment in reply, mentioning his stuttering problem from when he was younger. And so now the two of are thinking about whether these sorts of ‘disabilities’ may have led us to becoming creative writers. I’m wondering what it is that makes a creative writer. Certainly having a hearing issue means that I tune out of conversations sometimes and sit and ponder life.

I rarely think about my poor hearing in my right ear, it’s just a fact of life. It’s only since I’ve become more aware of disabilities through meeting up with other people with disabilities, that I’ve begun to wonder. Would I have been a creative writer if my life had been more ‘normal’, if I could hear everything said to me? Would I have been happy to simply do what everyone else does, and not think terribly deeply about things? Am I putting more into this whole issue, than it deserves?

I also have another, newer health issue. I was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis in 2010. This has brought me a deeper understanding of what it can mean to be ‘disabled’. I’ve met some absolutely amazing people who are living with MS, living well, and facing their struggles with hope and courage (and good humour). Having MS has certainly opened up new opportunities to me. It has given me insight into ways different people deal with things that happen in their lives. Some face what they have, and deal with it well. Some hide from it, some deal with it badly.

Since receiving this diagnosis, I have begun working on my memoir, dealing with my new life with MS. This memoir is written in verse, with some poetry as well. It is the book I was looking for when I received my health news – a book I couldn’t find. I hope ‘Mick Jane and Me, Living Well with MS’, will be published later this year. Certainly this memoir wouldn’t have been written if I didn’t have this disability.

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