This project has been percolating for some time. In 2000 I was incarcerated….hmmm…. checked in to Princess Margaret Hospital for a stem cell transplant. Although everyone was wonderful at the hospital, it sure felt like a jail term to be trapped in the hospital while everyone else was wandering free in the streets.
So when I wasn’t being visited by family, friends or various clergy, I began to write. I didn’t journal, I’ve never been the journaling type. Rather I began to write children’s stories. I wrote a story about a pig who was sent on a quest. I was proud of one of the lines. When this lazy pig complained he didn’t want a quest, he was told that the “quest had asked for him”. To me this seemed like a great metaphor for my illness and treatment, a quest that I had not asked for.
“Ah” my brain began to whir, ” I don’t have to write about things directly, I can use metaphors and images to convey how I’m feeling.” This was liberation and I began to play with poetry. In a sense, my poetry and short stories became my journal. These venues were a much more satisfying means of scratching that itch of expression than a journal ever had been.
More recently I began thinking that I could not be the only one. Surely there were others out there that were also finding creative ways to journal their illness experience. Thus, the book idea was born.
I also began to wonder what it would be like to be a doctor breaking bad news to a patient, or what it would be like to serve up Tim Horton’s coffee all day long to people who are dealing with various stages of illness. This curiosity broadened the scope of the book to include many perspectives.
I will update you as we move forward.