by Jon Biddle
So, I have finished a mammoth three weeks of working nights in critical care. Not just working nights, but working nights during the second wave of the worst healthcare emergency of a generation. I’m tired. It’s been exhausting, not because I have worked nights. How I manage my down time to get the right amount of rest and sleep during nights is as laser focussed as my clinical practice with my patients.
It’s been tough because the work environment has been challenging. Wearing the PPE for hours on end takes it out of you, not to mention the work load. Its eye watering.
So, for the eleven days that I have off, my colleagues are asking what I would be up to. In the past, SB and I would have hopped onto a plane, can’t do that. Got the hell out of here for a couple of days, we’re in tier 2 so we can’t do that. Or nipped to a retreat somewhere in the middle of nowhere, just with the dogs and recharge, most of our country is still in lockdown so can’t do that either. I’m not complaining, I have a lovely home, Netflix, a full fridge, a hot tub, Bella my Spaniel and the company of an amazing human being, aka my wife.
So, I will concentrate on writing, marketing and the website with a heavy emphasis on the website. It’s taken a few years to realise that the website for an author is critical. And my current site is woefully inadequate for my needs. So standby for the new website coming in the next week.
I have just finished reading a book about the voices of the Second World War – review coming in a couple of weeks, and the poignant message of the book is the subject of truth. We drift through our lives moving and shaking, yet we do not consider the impermanence of our lives and how important is the truth that lies within.
The book provoked the malleability to human behaviour and attitude – to what? who are we? Or are things dictated from the environment we live or the genetic inheritance inside of us? Maybe a combination of both, not for discussion here. Both of us don’t have the time, right?
We shape people through upbringing and cultural surroundings, which seem to cause the repeat of history. And therefore as a writer it’s important to address the truth in your writing. A fiction writer isn’t let off the hook here. Maxims of life, ethical boundaries, and a respect for true events still cannot be perverted. In my own creative genius, it shouldn’t and is something that I feel strongly about. And the truth often blurs the creative journey the writer makes when writing their story lines. I try to stick to the facts and create the story around true events. For me, this seals a level of authenticity to the narrative in my books. For example, Broc is a surgeon and does some heinous things however, he follows medical physiology in the truest sense of the word based on my own experience and knowledge, Alex applies her investigative skills that, mirrored to the investigative powers of actual police officers, again born from my own knowledge.
Is this tough for me as the writer, you bet. It’s a consideration one must apply to the plot lines and outlines, and this creates a headache when composing your story. Also, for me, creative writing helps my mind be quiet. It cancels out the mental health issues that blight my brain, the C-PTSD that has affected me. It blocks the creativity when you have to apply these maxims of truth, respect and boundaries, that creativity has a momentary interruption that allows these voices to come through. Then along comes the procrastination, the harmful voices that cloud the thinking. These aren’t excuses to step away from the plot lines because they happen for me. It takes discipline to quell the voices and plough through, it’s an ongoing challenge.
For those that smashed your NaNoWriMo goals, good for you, as a writer, I am proud of you. But remember, writing isn’t just in November. Apply the same principles to December, January, February- you get the picture.
Happy thanksgiving to my American brothers and sisters and non-binary people. I think this is as much of a celebration of your ancestors escaping the madness of Europe back in the day, a madness that, sadly, still pervades us.
While you bask in the socially distanced shroud of family loveliness, remember that maxim of truth?
Question everything because when we let the small things slide, it makes it all the harder for the bigger things to to slide (Germany circa 1930).