“Writing was a means of escaping the pain of my condition by imagining and creating other realities. It was also a method of explaining my illness to myself, by documenting experiences, thoughts and emotions, and trying to build something meaningful from them.”
I have a new article up on ArtsandHealth.ie, a national website and resource for use of the arts in healthcare. The piece is called Blood and Ink, and it describes how writing helped me cope with my illness:
My life has been dominated by two fluids: blood and ink. Blood is the source of so many issues to do with my disease; ink has been my instrument of escape.
Illness and creativity, hospital and writing, have always been fused together for me. At age nine I was diagnosed with Fanconi anaemia (FA), a genetic disorder which affects some two or three people in every million. When I was forced to stay out of school shortly after diagnosis, I used my time at home to make magazines, filling pages with words and pictures and sellotaping the sheets together.
FA causes bone marrow failure; it results in low blood counts, leading to low energy and increased risk of injury and infection. FA patients have a much greater risk of contracting cancer than the general population. The average life expectancy remains just 29.
The article also details how I came to be involved in Two Suitcases, a new short film written and directed by Emma Eager and me.