What You Need To Write While You’re Sick


Yesterday, other than a blog post, I did no writing. A fever held me hostage. Achy muscles. A swirling head.

This morning I woke up some time around 11 a.m.  still not fully recovered from whatever illness had overtaken my body. I reminded myself that I had missed my regular writing session yesterday, and then I remembered something Joan Didion wrote in the preface to Slouching Towards Bethlehem about writing the title piece:

I was . . . as sick as I have ever been when I was writing “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”; the pain kept me awake at night and so for twenty and twenty-one hours a day I drank gin-and-hot-water to blunt the pain and took Dexedrine to blunt the gin and wrote the piece. (I would like you to believe that I kept working out of some real professionalism, to meat the deadline, but that would not be entirely true;  I did have a deadline, but it was also a troubled time, and working did to the trouble what gin did to the pain.)

Today I’m half-heartedly working on my book. I’m fighting off chest congestion, but the fever is gone. I think I may need gin to get rid of the cough. And maybe that would get rid of the blah writing day I’m having.  Anyone out there want to send some gin my way?

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3 thoughts on “What You Need To Write While You’re Sick

  1. You’ve got to love Didion! It is hard to write when you’re sick, but I find that sometimes having a stuffy head frees me from over-analyzing and over-editing my work. Hope you feel better.

    • I’m feeling better this week, even without gin. It’s good to see you’ve started your blog again.

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