Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Superpower of Pain

I have spent most of the last six days  in bed. I've had sciatica, a terrible pinching of the sciatic nerve that runs down your leg from your hip. It's given me lots of time to think and read and listen to short story podcasts. And it gave me time to think about how efficiently pain focuses your mind. When I tried to stand or move in a way my sciatic nerve didn't approve of,  a sharp burning pain would run down my leg, the worst pain ever, and I've had two children. It really forced me to clear out all other thoughts and focus on it alone. It was like a superpower for focusing.

I lay there in my bed thinking how much I wished I could have pain's focusing power for other things. When I'm writing, so many things push there way in and fuzzy up my mind, make me lose track of what I really want to be doing. The everyday stuff like- I forgot to feed the cat, I should go buy milk, what will we eat for supper?

And then the outside critics: no one will understand that, that is the worst sentence ever written, that is the most pompous sentence ever written, is that even grammatically correct?

 And then my constant inner doubts: no one will ever publish this, why on earth do you think you have the authority to write about that? You're a complete poser. Quit wasting your time. She (fill-in-the-blank) is a much better writer than you. With all of that mental noise I wonder how I ever manage to write anything at all.

Pain never allows that. If something starts up, pain shuts it down. How I wish my writing could have that superpower, how  I wish it could say- NO! We will not be listening to any of that! How much easier this job would be.

8 comments:

@maggiezlenz said...

Oh Lauri, you have all my sympathy. I suffered so last week that I ended up crying in public, and also saying it is more painful that childbirth! I suffer from Sciatica often, but find that I need to move, no matter how painful- the nerve miraculously is released after a few days although the latest episode lasted 4 painful days. May you soon feel better!

Sue Guiney said...

Ugh. Poor you. I do hope you start to get better soon. But at least you haven't lost your sense of humour!

Cozy in Texas said...

I hope you're feeling better.
Ann

t said...

So sorry to hear. From what ppl say, the answer is exercise/sport. Tho' you say the answer is writing, ok.

Lauri said...

No t, it is all about moving and stretching. I didn't mean writing is the answer, I meant that I want the focus of pain for my writing.

Thanks Sue, Cozy and Maggie. Slowly slowly improving. Working with a chiropractor now.

Wada Goitsemang said...

I hope you feel better soon :)

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Except for the sciatica (thank heavens, I'm a wimp when it comes to pain!) those whirling thoughts could have been mine. Hope you're better soon!:)

Lauri said...

And more than a month later only now having some improvement. The sciatica was then a herniated disc and now I'm taking the right meds and finally able to walk again. Yay! A bit of light in the tunnel.