Well, I was in one of those strange states where writing seemed to be all I could think of.
I had recently gone to see a doctor about my broken leg and he told me it needed surgery, but somehow that didn’t seem nearly as scary as having my hands cut off and not being able to write.
When I was done with the doctor and got back home my leg was feeling numb and I could barely walk two feet without holding onto something or falling.
With each step I made I felt pain like a spike of electricity surging from my leg and blasting through my core. But that wasn’t enough to keep me from going, and I kept striding forward until I made it to the house – and later, to the writing room.
While my body was busy agonizing over my bad leg, my mind was preoccupied with the title of my next story. It had no time for pain – it was brainstorming ideas and subplots like a compiler processes a computer program.
And while some might find it unbelievable or unreal or crazy I can assure you it’s true: when writing mode kicks in, there’s nothing that can stop it – not even pain.
And that’s one of the beauties of writing (some might even say it’s the only beautiful thing about it): it’s a stateless craft. It doesn’t rely on setting, mood, weather, location, age, race, religion…
It gets its inspiration from everywhere and feeds on everything to stay alive.
It feeds on joy, it feeds on sorrow, it feeds on doubt, it feeds on fear, it feeds on pain.
I opened a bottle of whiskey and poured myself two glasses with ice. If this doesn’t kill my leg pain, then I don’t know what will.
Anyhow, I stretched my bad leg and got to writing. I wrote for hours and hours.
It was delicious, it was grandiose. I felt like a starving man standing in front of an open buffet. It had been nearly two weeks since I hadn’t written a single word, and here it was right now flooding right out of me. It made a mess on my page and splattered on the next, and the one after that, and the one after…
It made a mess everywhere it fell, and I was happy and I was ecstatic and I was relieved because that’s the way I like my writing to be done – messy. Messy, messy, dirty writing.
Filling those clean white pages and sticking onto them like smears of mud.
It was a sight to behold. There was another spike coming from my leg. It seemed to be reminding me of its presence, of its pain – as if it was begging me to acknowledge it or even more so suffer from it.
But my suffering was over – I had gone back to writing my usual pages. I had rediscovered my form, gotten back to shape, completely recovered from whatever ailments I possessed.
The leg was nagging again. The pain started to shoot up, and my entire body felt electrocuted. I suddenly found myself in one of those movie torture chambers awaiting my imminent doom.
The pain was too much this time. I thought about getting up and cutting my leg off with a knife. Yes, that would surely shut it up once and for all. But first, another drink – and another page.
The funny thing about the whole matter is that I had been waiting for almost two weeks for some inspiration to write. I was drying up while I was at the peak of my physical condition. But now, in the midst of my suffering, I had gotten my swagger back, I had gotten my inspiration back.
And all it took was a broken leg.