For three weeks, I’ve been on the outside looking in. Yes, trapped behind this glass wall called infectious disease. While the world has scuttled about taking care of business, writing award-winning books, earning salaries and socializing to the max, I have been Moaning Milly with a cough that rattles the Earth. The next time you feel a tremor, California or Japan, don’t worry it’s only me here in Sweden!
During this time of airborne rascals attacking the general population here in Scandinavia, I have been living in a construction zone while our fireplace has been constructed. The poor creature building it fell prey to my bug after only three days on the job and lay home ill with fever for seven days following. How should I have known how electric my bug was? If I weren’t against the little critter, I’d almost say I was impressed. I stayed cocooned on the other side of the house for goodness sake. But alas, even a hardy worker couldn’t stand up to it.
Honestly, what is a writer to do in such physical distress? I’ve pretended to shuffle about my keyboard, trying to convince myself that I can still be sick and busy – that my brain can function as it always does. I’d even hoped that any delirium I’ve had would spiral into something magical on the screen in front of me – the next bestseller! “Hogwash!” Yes, I’m sounding like my grandmother now, though I know she would have secretly agreed with me. I’m quite sure that in a fit of distress, she must have churned one or two poems into a nightingale. I can almost hear one singing to me now.
In any case, I’m on the mend now and the sun has shone all week – a miracle here on the west coast. When I see the sun, when I feel its warmth, my silly little bug seems to sail away for good. Never thought I’d be quoting my own work, but in this case it seems appropriate. As Gillian Pugsley says about Gilbert Brody, “He should be well thankful for a little castor oil instead of moaning about how it slid down like a land slug.” Right – cheers medicine! I’m much better now, thank you very much.
So to all those nasty bugs out there, I say good riddance. This lingering cough will die down and my computer screen will light up again with magic. It has to – I refuse to go and buy a new one.
To leave you with a fine example of someone who has been taking care of business and writing award-winning books while Moaning Milly has been at work, check out We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen. Susin is a former high school classmate, and has spent the past week in London, Paris and Brussels signing books and rubbing elbows with the right people. I’m very excited for her.
A final Saturday morning thought. Isn’t it wonderful that even a rotten bug still makes you want to write?