You Look Just Fine!

I–like many others–have lived with the effects of a health problem that isn’t apparent to others. We live conflicted lives because of this. Even though we try to disguise our symptoms and appear “normal,” we yearn for understanding. Some people search long and hard for a proper diagnosis. We worry that it’s all in our head. We worry that others think we’re crazy. And, we’re actually relieved when we learn the cause of our symptoms, even though the diagnosis is a chronic condition that will not get better. If you’re in this group, you know what I’m talking about. If you live with someone like this, you probably understand to a degree.

In my new book, Chronic & Invisible, I relate my personal experiences of having polio at age 15 and coping successfully with it until I was in my 60’s when the symptoms started coming back. The average person doesn’t know about Post Polio Syndrome, just like the average person may not know about dozens of other invisible health problems. What’s it like to live with this type of problem and what’s it like for others to live with us? More importantly, how do we cope and live successful, happy lives? Which we do!

If you have a chronic, invisible illness, I’d love to hear how you handle it publicly and with your casual acquaintances.

 

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I Did It! But, Why?

Today, I sent a query letter and the required attachments to a publisher.

This represents the first time I’ve submitted anything, although I’ve been writing most of my life and have quite a few finished works. However, I’ve never had a huge desire to be known as an author.

So, why am I now seeking publication? My answer is simple. Primarily for the challenge of it and to learn more about the process by going through it. I’ve always learned by doing.

I wrote a book, Happy Birthday, about how women process birthdays as they age. I self-published that book because I wanted to learn about the complex and challenging process of self-publishing.

Now, after four years of focusing on writing my memoir about how I struggled to live an adventurous life after facing down paralytic polio, I’m pushing my learning experience a bit further.

My memoir, Chronic & Invisible, is done. I usually would stop there and move on to the next thing. Of course, I could self-publish it now that I’m better acquainted with the procedure. However, I like a challenge.

I’ve learned a good deal about the getting-a-publisher quest from my friend, Alison Taylor-Brown, the Director of the Village Writing School. As a matter of fact, she posted her day-to-day, week-to-week, journey of submitting her most recent book. See one of her posts here.

AlisonAlison is my mentor and model for my first time around. One of the chief things I want to emulate is her persistence and attention to the suggestions she gets every time she sends her manuscript to someone. When Alison gets a rejection letter, she may spend a day grieving, then she goes right back to work—whether that means changing a few things and re-submitting to the same person or doing some major re-writes and starting over. Always with her incredible can-do spirit!

So (deep breath), here I go with Chronic & Invisible.

I’ll keep you posted!

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Writing Can Be Dangerous

Back in the days when we communicated at work via office memos, I learned that my fullsizeoutput_2919cryptic messages were often taken in a way I didn’t mean. Then, someone would get their feelings hurt or get mad and dissatisfaction would bloom like spring daffodils. There weren’t any problems before my memo. Just observations or changes that needed to be made. However, my writing created a problem.

Fortunately, the mess was easily solved. I walked to the person’s desk, sat down, and chatted face-to-face. Or, I picked up the phone and had a real back-and-forth conversation. In the end, this took less time than dealing with the backlash of the m
emo and resulted in ending most of the discontent.

Isn’t there something to be learned from the past? Today, we communicate via quick texts, short emails, and various social media. Isn’t there a huge chance that we’ll be misunderstood that way? Do we ever find out what the person we wrote to thought about what we said?

Yesterday, I got an email that I misinterpreted. I fired back a message that I now regret. Why didn’t I pick up the phone?

Do we shy away from phone calls these days? Do you ever place a phone call and hope it goes to voice mail so you don’t have to spend so much time with that particular message?

I admit that I’m practically addicted to all things digital. Nevertheless, I think I’ll be healthier if I go back to talking to people face-to-face or voice-to-voice. My phone is always with me, and long distance calls no longer cost per minute of talk time. I’m not so busy that I can’t learn to make short phone calls and treat myself to more social interaction. Less social media, more social interaction.

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