This is when you know you’re a writer

First off, this is not the serious writing post I promised last time. I’m still working on that one. But this one does concern writing—in a bizarre sort of way.

That pesky little internal organ known widely as the gall bladder has influenced my life for a month. Did I acknowledge its power and do the smart thing by adjusting my diet? Did I hie me hence and forthwith to the vitamin store to replenish my long-deleted stock of flax seed oil? Good heavens no! Did I pay for my foolishness? Would there be even the tiniest point to this post if I had? So …

Last Saturday night, I woke just after midnight in pain. I mean, PAIN. My immediate diagnosis was heart attack because I’m just melodramatic like that. Then I realized I knew that pain; it was just registering one bazillion times worse than ever before! Convinced the only thing that would relieve the pain was death, I got out of bed to play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. Halfway through the second game, just as a supercallifragilistic power gem exploded, it dawned on me I might be in the early stages of fainting.

Somehow, I made it back to bed just in time to realize I was about to vomit. After making my acquaintance with that fine china bowl, I slithered to the bathroom floor. I do not deal well with acute internal pain; I always end in a state of semi-shock. As I lay there semi-conscious and drenched in cold sweat, 90% of my brain frantically negotiated with my gallbladder, vowing to do anything, everything, to pamper it in the future, if it would just stop the pain NOW.

Then, a scene from the movie Braveheart popped into mind. You know, the one where that actor-I-formerly-respected portrays William Wallace’s death. And the other 10% of my brain said, “Hey, this must feel a lot like disembowelment. Take note of your exact physical sensations in case you ever need to write a scene where someone is being drawn and quartered—or is in severe pain and shock, whichever comes first.”

That, my friends, is when you know you’re a writer.

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44 thoughts on “This is when you know you’re a writer

  1. Oh Linda! Laughing out loud here. Yes, you really are a writer. Only a writer has those moments in the middle of whatever crisis is going on in the world. Sorry to hear about your gall bladder, but it made for a wonderful post!


  2. Yowza! Hope your feeling better now. The write brain – It infects every single fiber of life, everything and I mean everything is game for book material. Then again, it’s just our way of inserting life into our work. (Hugs)Indigo


  3. Went through this 20 years ago…I was six months postpartum with my first child. The pain is unreal. Get it taken care of and feel better.

    As far as the writing thing, I get that too. I had a bad car accident a number of years ago and after I realized I didn’t die in the crash, I thought about how I could now describe the sound of the airbags exploding on impact. Sick…I know.


  4. Probably time to get an iPad. If you need that little blighter extracted by some surgical procedure, you know you’re going to want to deliver live commentary so just resign yourself and get kitted up! Meanwhile, I do hope the excruciation has diminished and that you haven’t felt compelled to cover yourself in woad for greater artistic synchrony.


      1. Woad! Someone mentioned Woad! Sorry for the outburst. It’s the plant that the Celts used to dye themselves blue when they used to fight. Woad is an anticeptic. Hence why the clever Celts used it but they also looked bloody scary painted blue. Just asked the Romans who were scared of them. Okay, back to my cave now…


          1. Rabbits for underwear…hmmm 😉
            (some of my teeth are already pointy…an ironic twist of genetics lol) Sorry Linda, hope I didn’t scare you lol 🙂


  5. Aw Linda – ouch! Hope you feel better (long term).
    Still, this made me laugh so much (at the last paragraph, anyway). So true, and I keep catching myself taking internal notes of a painful situation so to being able to exploit it later. Excellent!


    1. Thank you, Eva. We writers are all alike, aren’t we? I don’t think we should let the non-writers in on it though or they’ll realize we’re only half-listening because we’re recording the dialogue for future reference. 🙂


  6. Yup. That would be the time. You know. You are a writer.

    When your gall bladder gets that bad, it is likely that there are stones. You may need to say a hasty goodbye to that gall bladder. It’s usually an easy operation now. My daughter had it done. She went home the same day and was up and around like it was nothing a few days later. She was glad to be rid of it, too.


  7. I’m glad you’re feeling better. It sounds horrible.

    I guess we’re all the same — living inside our heads while watching our lives with a third eye, pen filled and ready to write. (or iPad, as Suzanne suggests)


  8. Okay, now that I’ve calmed down after my Woad excitement…

    I’m so sorry you were in such horrific pain. Hope you’re feeling better. I’m a big baby when it comes to any kind of pain/discomfort. My brain shuts down, so sadly, I could never use the experience and write about it as I am busy freaking out that something hurts. This is why I’m in awe of women who had children and gave birth. EEEK.

    But I’ve suffered from Anaemia many times (er…and I love vampires…wait just a minute…) Anyhow, my female character suffers from Anaemia as I know exactly how it feels so I’ve been at least able to use that for my writing.


    1. Thank you for the history lesson, Alannah. 🙂 I knew they painted themselves blue, I just didn’t realize it was with woad.

      Actually, I have a rather high pain tolerance, so yeah, this was sort of like all four of my birth labors rolled into one.


      1. I studied about the Celts for years, fascinated by them.

        Oh dear god, you poor thing. May you never feel that kind of pain again! I get a paper cut and I’m moaning lol


  9. Linda,
    Bless your heart! I hope you are feeling better soon. I’ve never had gall bladder trouble, but my sister has had hers removed, and we were talking about it TODAY, driving home from Duke, what it felt like when she was having an attack. She said she was standing on the back of the couch, pressing herself against the wall … lol.

    I hope you pamper that gall bladder and have it feeling all perfect again soon!



  10. Linda, I also am glad this has passed!

    I can relate to this in two ways – now as a writer and before what I would experience when I was a therapist. Whenever I found myself feeling strongly, I would have that observant brain watching. “Look at that. This is what is feels like to be (hysterical, raging, anxious). Remember this for your clients.”

    Then there is the part of the brain that is observing the first two parts. “Interesting. I can be hysterical and watch myself being hysterical at the same time. Is something wrong with me?”

    Then there’s the part that notices all three. I am we. 🙂


    1. Oh my, Pamela, what many layered beings we are. Well, not everyone. I was reading Merrilee Faber’s blog this morning and it reminded me how my mother would tell me the same sort of things, “Quit daydreaming. Put down that book. Etc.” I don’t believe my mother has much imagination (except to worry about a thousand things that will never happen) and I think that must limit her layers.


  11. Oh I am laughing Linda. Not at your pain of course, but the situation. Severe pain that must result in death. Must take notes. Well this horrible experience make an appearance in your work??
    Glas to hear it all passed! Are you making good n your promise to do anything it to takes not to suffer it again?


  12. Yes, exactly!!! I’m sorry for your pain. But I’m happy it made you write this terrific blog post AND now you know what severe pain feels like for any future fatal scenes, ha! Hope you feel better soon, Linda!


  13. Ouch! Both for your pain — and mine from falling out of my chair laughing at this fabulous post.

    Sorry for your gut — take care of yourself, though! We want you to keep entertaining, informing, and inciting us here on your blog.


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