[writing|cancer] Brain, brain, what is brain? Revising while on chemo

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 , 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.

One thought on “[writing|cancer] Brain, brain, what is brain? Revising while on chemo

  1. Meran says:

    But you usually know what the word starts with, right?
    hang in there; your brain will forge new pathways. I know it doesn’t help much with the frustration.
    I always enjoy Wolfe’s work partially because he makes me look up words I used to know, gives me the opportunity to re-learn them. I’ve had to do that with your work too. It’s a great badge for you to wear (see? I can’t think of the rightword there but I bet you could supply one!)

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