Enough from me - over to Cate.
The Author and CFS
Eleni and I both have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and there are quite a few RWA members who have it too.
The symptoms are exactly the name - fatigue after doing things, that never goes away. 'Doing things' can be as simple as getting out of bed for some people. Unless we're really bad Eleni and I are both better off than that - thank goodness!
My CFS came about after I had Glandular Fever and Ross River Fever in 2005. I've never picked up. In hindsight, I ran myself into the ground for the eighteen months prior to getting sick - actually I was always running myself into the ground. Just this time it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Prior to CFS I was too busy to be creative. I was focused on my agricultural science career. All my creativity went into experiments and getting out messages about what was found.
Once I was sick, I lost myself. My identity was my science career, I didn't know who I was without it. I no longer had that, I had to find me.
I'd always written. When I was seven I was going to take over from Enid Blyton and penned me first story, Ebi The Wishing Dog. My dog was Ebi, and I'd just read The Wishing Chair and I hadn't heard of plagiarism! Somewhere in between uni and working, all my creative writing morphed into science writing. I'd written some erotic stories but never shared them with the world.
In 2005, a friend also wasn't well. She's a journalist by trade and also had a yen to write a book. So in one of our brainstorming discussions (we had hundreds of these discussions) she challenged me to write a book. We settled on a category romance because they we short, had a plan (meet, fall in love after some troubles, live happily ever after), and had to be easy. Famous last words!
So I wrote my story - of course I thought it was brilliant, I had not yet joined RWA - and I sent it away to be published after much encouragement from Helen. It was rejected. I was dejected but not deterred. The writing bug had bitten hard.
Having CFS has allowed me to find my creative side. It's made me learn to be patient, which is something a writer needs in bucketloads, and has allowed me to find a different path in life.
Creativity seems to be something a lot of people with CFS get involved with. I've been a part of two projects with other CFS sufferers, called Creative For A Second. The first project resulted a print book to showcase the talents of CFS sufferers and included things like poetry, pictures, photos. (I proofread it because I had no creativity at that stage.) The second project was journals that travelled around the world, to a dozen people per journal, and were made into electronic books.
I can't say I'm happy to have CFS because it's an awful thing to live with but it has allowed me to find new things, make new friends and explore another part of myself.
Thanks for sharing, Cate.
I agree with you - I may not like that I have CFS but I've learned a lot from it.
You can find Cate on her blog.
Check out her Hot Down Under story, A Real Online Fantasy at Momentum.