This is the second time I have featured my friend, Karen Magill on my blog. Her story is so inspiring that I wanted to include it in my month of gratitude stories. By the way, Karen’s blog, the Vancouver Vagabond is chocked full of great photography and short essays, and has been nominated for the prestigious Vancouver Social Media Award. The link to the blog is http://karen-magill.blogspot.com.
I hope all of you will come back to visit me next week to discover the incredible gratitude story of my friend, as well as one of my heroes, Paulette Mahurin. And now, heeeeeeere’s Karen:
On June 5, 2000, I woke to find the left side of my body partially paralysed. Nine days later, after an MRI, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I started down a journey unlike anything I have ever been on before.
The paralysis went away but I lived in fear. I heard all the horror stories about how dismal my life was going to be now, or how I was destined for a wheelchair, or how I was going to lose my eyesight. I am happy to say that twelve years later, none of those things have happened.
Although I do use a cane, I walk quite well. In fact, I walk all over Vancouver, Canada taking photos of whatever interests me, as well as historical sites. Then I come home and post the photos in a blog entitled the Vancouver Vagabond, combining the pictures with stories of my city’s history.
MS has been a gift to me. I was forced onto disability, so now I am being paid to stay home and write. The fatigue that hampers many areas of my life requires me to make the most of the time I am able to write. I have to learn how to focus my energies on the task at hand whether it be writing, or promoting, or even walking. That is an advantage because now I take more care in what I am getting involved with. I can’t join every social media site or every Facebook group–I have to target my audience and find where those readers would be. I can’t enter everything and join all sites. I also ask for advice and assistance more than I would if I didn’t have this difficulty.
Gone are the nights when I could stay up all hours writing. My body can’t handle that any longer. So my books may take me longer to write, but I am more careful on what I put on ‘paper’ as they say. I do have episodes of writing wildly and ending up with a lot of garbage—most writers do since it releases the tension and the creative juices, but those times are limited. When I work on my novels I have a pretty good idea of which scene I am going to write.
My emotions can run wild—I can’t remember ever crying as easily as I do now. Those emotions that can sometimes be so raw and intense are translated into my writing now. A writer has to bring the reader into the story and make them feel something. It may take a few attempts, but I can translate the intensity of what I feel onto paper.
Multiple Sclerosis may have taken a lot away from me, yet in so many ways it was one of the best things to happen to me and my writing. There is a new maturity and perspective to my writing. I wonder if I would ever have reached the levels I am at now if I were still working a full time job and struggling in the rat race. I doubt it.