when you’re sick… “writing is a godsend”

I thought I’d share this interview with you. As you know, I was sick for quite a while. Getting better now. But it’s been a struggle to do what nourishes me – being creative – during this time. At the same time, it’s what’s kept me going.


It’s been the grist to my mill.

This interview was on Salon. It’s with Laura Hillenbrand, the best-selling author of “Seabiscuit: An American Legend”. Her newest book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption,” comes out soon.

Laure Hillenbrand
She was asked how she kept creative while sick with CFS, an autoimmune disease she’s had for decades, and that has left her housebound:

It’s a trade-off for me. While it’s really hard to do, at the same time, I’m escaping my body, which I really want to do. I’m living someone else’s life. I get very intensely into the story, into the interviews and the research. I’m experiencing things along with my subjects. I have a freedom I don’t have in my physical life.

Writing is a godsend to me that way. Without it I wouldn’t have anything. I am completely still almost all the time. A lot of time I don’t leave the upstairs. What I have is the story I’m working on. It’s a wonderful thing for me to get out of my body for a while.

I liked how she framed the way being ill has helped her. Yes, stillness….

Because my life is so silent and so still, I think I’m able to get deeper into what I’m working on. My mind is willing to get out of here and go into there. It becomes such an intense experience….

I don’t remember what it’s like to feel well. I’m 43. I was 19 when I got sick. It’s a lifetime ago. It’s hard for me to imagine what I would have been as a writer without the history I have now. We’re all sitting in our particular circumstances and writing from that place.

Laura’s silence and stillness allows her to go deeper. I wrote about creating “quietness buffers” the other day. Sometimes being sick – or held back – is just that – a quietness buffer thrust upon you. Comforting in some way, don’t you think?

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