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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-01-31 14:29
Subject: [writing|cancer] Brain, brain, what is brain? Revising while on chemo
Security: Public
Tags:books, calendula, cancer, endurance, health, language, our lady, process, writing
Just launched into revisions of Endurance with a ninety minute writing session today. I'm exhausted, but that's pretty much my ground state during chemo, so too bad. My mind was focused enough to deal. But oddly, this was subjectively rather different than revising my collaborative novel with calendula_witch, Our Lady of the Islands, which I've been working on for the past two months between medical hijinks.

I don't know if this is because I'm working on my first draft instead of hers, or because the book is tight first person instead of a looser third person, or because of how the line level style choices I make as a solo author differ from the collaborative voice we've developed and been successful at in short fiction. But definitely different.

The biggest issue seems to be word choice. My solo style is wordier and more convoluted than our collaborative style. As noted elsewhere, chemo has not been kind to either my short-term memory or my longer term recall, and one thing I've been struggling with is anomia, especially with respect to proper names.

Normally I have an unreasonably large functional vocabulary and can pick words out of the air like a hunter potting birds on the wing. Now I am struggling to distinguish "mete" from "meet" (as in the adjective meaning "proper"), getting "rood" and "veil" confused, forgetting the various terms for grave-houses, and other such idiocies. I know I know it, I can go look up and sort out what's missing, but it's slowing me down a bit, and frustrating me. Not going to stop me, not for one damned minute, but grr.

Stoopid cancer.
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User: ebonypearl
Date: 2010-01-31 22:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I feel your frustration. I developed anomia and dyscalculia while taking chemo and radiation and both were frustrating - I was a write-for-hire for employee handbooks and manuals at the time and ended up changing careers because of it. I got my facility with languages back, but seem to have permanently lost my mathematical abilities to the point I have difficulty recognizing numbers.

I wish you the best of outcomes on your cancer treatment and the reassurance that, like chemo hair loss, the words will come back.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-01 02:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In fact, I have transient dyscalculia during and a few days after the infusion. Which I deal with via Excel or the calculator on my iPhone, as it isn't nearly as overwhelming as yours. :(
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User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-02-01 06:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Maths? You do maths too? Writing AND maths?
I cook food, go for walks. Shiny. Ooh lookie more shiny.
Can you say non-linear?

What was I talking about?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-01 13:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What was I talking about?

Pop music?
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Magenta: Hand
User: magentamn
Date: 2010-01-31 23:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Has anyone pointed out the irony of your working on a book called Endurance while yours is being so tested? Spider Robinson was right - God is an iron.
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User: klwilliams
Date: 2010-02-01 07:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I feel your pain. I've had dysnomia since I was 26, as a result of a drug I was prescribed. In my case, stress makes it worse, so if I relax when I forget a word, it might come back in a useful time frame. They do eventually come back.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-02-01 11:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's infuriating: sympathies.
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