I drove my son to the airport for college orientation, sniff, sniff, and took the opportunity to see my neurologist in the City.
PHENOMENAL BRAIN NEWS: my fiction problem is likely caused by my meds, not my brain, WHEW! This news gives me SO MUCH HOPE. My tradeoff is that this medication has otherwise restored my normal life. I am back to everything else and feeling really good. Changing meds could endanger all of that.
I can still write nonfiction, no problem. As soon as I sit down to start actually CREATING a character or a situation, my brain feels like it’s exploding from the inside. What’s worse, there’s nothing there. No creative idea when there used to be ideas stacked on top of ideas . The doctor initially just said, “Well then just don’t write fiction,” but I explained that he doesn’t understand.
Yes, I’ve had some success writing for magazines and that’s rewarding. But I’m a writer, a novelist. I’ve had to set aside my second book over this and that breaks my heart. While this problem is unusual (most people with this surgery don’t write fiction) a common side effect of this med is trouble thinking of the right words in a sentence, something my kids have noticed sometimes and help with. As a nonfiction writer with the internet and a thesaurus, I can overcome the occasional brain-blank. But I cannot write fiction when creativity is a total blank.
WHAT TO DO?
So I asked if the meds are making my brain better or just making me able to cope with my new brain and the answer was very direct: “your situation is chronic. We won’t cure you, just control the brain.” The meds don’t cause permanent damage, just temporary.
THE STUFF I CAN’T TALK ABOUT
I’m about to embark on a new project that will be taking a lot of my time. I have the possible chance to do something I love that will help others. It’s one of those heart-driven things that I know is the right choice for right now. If I went off the meds, I might endanger the project.
So the fiction has to wait a little longer. But the excellent news is that my brain is not the problem and when I’m ready, I can get it back.
In the meantime, two things:
1) I can get a great 2nd opinion at my son’s university in California where they specialize in this type of tumor.
2) Someone has decided to pick this moment to attack my book for being exactly what it is: a dark mystery about a countercultural community. Of course, they then said loads of other things I disagree with but I figure if I’m writing counterculture and I don’t upset someone, I’m doing it wrong. Thanks for the reinforcement!