Pain is good for writing. Pain is also bad for writing.

I hate that the old cliché is true, but I’ve done some of my best writing when I’ve been incredibly unhappy. Glutton for punishment that I am, I’ve been able to take psychic pain and turn it into prose on numerous occasions (some of which have even been published). I only wish that this worked for physical pain. In case you were wondering, or in case you didn’t already know from personal experience, it doesn’t help one bit.

Oh, maybe it would help if you needed to describe pain as wearing a belt that had been cinched too tightly. Or getting kicked in the back repeatedly. Or pain that makes your eyes tingle, sparkles your vision, and feels like a cinderblock has landed on your back. That last one was really fun. I hope I never encounter that one again.

Certain kinds of pain make it impossible to concentrate. Even 100-word bursts are difficult to muster, because you’re concentrating on the pain instead. Or rather, you’re very focused on not doing anything to make the pain worse: should I move this way or that way? Sit or stand? Lie down? Back, belly, or side? Which side? How do I get up if I’m lying down? Is there something I can lean on? (Note: the answer to all these is, apparently, sit. Don’t stand, and whatever you do, for God’s sake, don’t lie down. Sleep in the recliner. In the morning you’ll be grateful you did.)

You get out the back brace you were fitted for the first time this happened, eight years ago. Unfortunately, you were twenty poounds lighter back then and now the fit is, well, a bit snug. (Will losing weight help with the back pain? you ask yourself.) You look down and see how you’re walking and imagine yourself at age 70 or 80, moving like this. Your eye starts to water and you wonder, is this possibly related?

The worst part is wondering how long it will last. Is it going to be a week, a month? Two months? Maybe this is the time that it’s never going to end, that it’s just going to be something you have to manage.

Wow, this is the most I’ve written in one go all week long. See what I said about pain?

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