Category: Writing (page 2 of 2)

Viral

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Wow. Wow. Wow.

I have been sitting in my house for the past day (I seriously never left the house yesterday), stunned at the reception to my BuzzFeed Longform essay about my stroke and recovery, “I Had a Stroke at 33.” I have received thousands of encouraging and kind tweets, dozens of amazing emails, and so so so much support for that piece.

I am seriously floored, and in a giddy, dazed shock. I did not expect this many people to read my piece, nor did I expect it to illicit OMG there is that weird homophone aphasia thing again elicit so many connections. But I’m glad it has–I’m glad it has provided insight into traumatic brain injuries and stroke, that it has provided comfort to some and enlightenment to others.

When I was going through stroke recovery, I felt incredibly alone. Each stroke is unique, so that just furthers the isolation. And while recovering, I basically sat shiva for the person I lost, unready to face the person I’d become. So if this piece eases that solitary for others, I’m so happy.

In 36 hours, my essay was viewed 300,000 times. Three Hundred Thousand.

And this morning, it’s the “most dugg” post on Digg.

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(#4 is the horrific story about a man who has 100 hellish orgasms a day).

I’m trying to reply to each email and FB message. I’m sorry I can’t reply to all the tweets, but I see them, and am so psyched that people feel so passionate about the piece they are compelled to share it with others.

It took a long time to condense my stroke into an essay. Writing nonfiction for me is like cutting my wrists and letting them bleed into words. (Fiction isn’t any easier; that’s like INVENTING a pair of wrists and then cutting them until they bleed, too). I seriously thought my stroke was The Most Boring Story I could tell; who wants to hear about a sick person? And I wanted to write a narrative that provided layers of meaning to my experience. But this summer, I was ready. And apparently, you were ready for my story, too.

Thank you thank you thank you. Deep gratitude.

Thank you to my editor at BuzzFeed, Sandra Allen who lifted every stone and sharpened my story. Thank you to Lisa Perrin, whose illustrations captured the spirit of my essay. Writers don’t get to choose the artwork (and rarely the titles), and I so lucked out this time. Check out Lisa Perrin’s store on etsy.

Stroke Essay

LisaPerrin

On December 31, 2006 I had a stroke. I’ve written about it in passing on Nova Ren Suma’s blog as a Turning Point, on my old blog about yoga as it pertained to my recovery, and on my (formerly) anonymous blog in real time as it happened, and as I healed.

But I found it very difficult to write about the stroke as the focal point in essay format. Sometimes, it takes time for me to understand a life happening before I can retell it to others.

Today, my essay is out on BuzzFeed Longform. I’m proud of the thing. I’m grateful to my editor at BuzzFeed for guiding me towards the razor’s edge in my narrative. And I’m in LOVE with Lisa Perrin’s artwork. I’ve always admired her work, but I’m thrilled with how much she nailed my story in pictures. The above image is one of several she created for my stroke essay.

Also, I’m grateful to all my friends who held my hand in recovery. I don’t recall every moment–friends have told me they visited me, and it’s in the black hole of memory. But I felt my friends’ presence and caring. Who held my hand last year, which was honestly one of the hardest years of my life. Who still hold my hands. And in particular, to the friends and my sweetheart who read early¬†drafts of the essay.

We writers don’t receive kudos very often. So when the love does come around, it matters very much. It holds me through the darkness. And it keeps me going. So–thank you.

Note: I did chronicle my stroke over at Jade Park. And I blogged in real time as the stroke hit me, and as I realized something was terribly wrong. Whoever says blogging is a waste of time can see how that blog saved my life and writing.

Thank you.

Date of Time and Loss / Sundog Lit: Process

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I have a new nonfiction piece called Date and Time of Loss up at Sundog Lit

A few months ago, Sundog Lit put out a call for submissions for its special (Letters from) the Road theme issue.

I wondered about what I’d write for a “Road” issue; I’ve certainly gone on my fair share of road trips across the U.S., and even Europe, driving through France, Italy, and through the British countryside. I’ve seen castles and compared road food, napped in the front seat, driven through bad storms, sighed relief at good weather, and admired geography from the inside of a car.

A few years ago, I was hit by a car while visiting Seattle on a road trip.

Those two events intersected.

Ha. I’d write about BEING ON THE ROAD. Like, literally.

I pulled up the police report to jog my memory.

Ha. I’d use the police report to structure the piece. The call for submissions wanted short work that transcended genre.

I’d title it after the first question in the report: Date and Time of Loss.

I began to write the piece–all the things I wanted to write about being hit by a car, and the shock I felt in its aftermath. Not being able to cross the street without flinching, feeling bruised and tender, feeling vulnerable, and feeling so so wounded. That the person I called first on that day, while in the crosswalk, is no longer available to me.

Another event in my life intersected with this trauma; the end of my marriage. That the two feel the same. I wove that pain into the piece.

I didn’t begin writing Date and Time of Loss with the intention of intertwining the two events. But that is what the work wanted me to do. And I hope I made the work, proud.

Dusting off, now…

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