In Sickness and In Health

Since the end of May, we’ve been having a strange old time of it at home. Without warning, my wonderful wife was hit with bad pains – she said they were like labour, so I think that’s pretty bad – and our lives since have been dominated by dealing with them, trying to prevent them, and trying to find someone medical who can tell us what caused them. Decent progress so far on the first two points, but little luck on the last one, though life-threatening things thankfully have been ruled out. On the advice of our excellent acupuncturist and herbalist  we are looking into dietary changes, from the mildly inconvenient (excluding dairy), to complex and tricky (gluten-free), to the downright radical (a pre-agricultural diet reputedly excellent for inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s). I have mainly been at home, helping to look after our strong-willed toddler – not easy;  and trying to stop my equally strong-willed missus from over-exerting herself – which is, if anything, harder.

Why put all this on a blog about writing? Partly to explain why I’ve not blogged here for a while, but not only that. Writing, for writers, can feel like life itself. Take writing away from us and we feel something vital is missing; we feel less alive than we know we should be, as I imagine zoo animals must. But there is a layer underneath it which is more real, or at least there is for me. The foundation of every good thing I do is the support of my wife, and the complex mesh of loves, duties, frustrations, and desires, that is home. I didn’t need her illness to remind me of that, but it has thrown things into a sharper relief. I haven’t written much this month, but for once I don’t feel it has mattered. Sometimes other things are more real.

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