Anorexia and storytelling? Anorexia and metaphors? Anorexia and darkness?
Whilst writing about my experience with anorexia, I came across an article titled, ‘Listening in the dark: why we need stories of people living with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa’. It immediately grabbed my attention . Conti et al explored metaphors and recovery in an article published on 15/12/2016 in the Journal of Eating Disorders.
That mind bending question: how? The antagonist in my current manuscript is the inner critic. In order to give this ethereal character depth, I delved into its origin. A hungry beast it needed food, so I decided to feed it well on:
- acceptance and recognition. A gourmet delight!
Making sense of the struggle has unearthed many questions. The cycle of body image, perfection, calorie counting… had to lead some where. Beauty. The well-worn path meandered, looping carelessly back to the past and stretching outdated values into the future.
Beauty, what is it? What happens in the mind of a person with anorexia? Is their perception of beauty different? Can the insidious web of the disease keep the sufferer trapped, centred on a fixed idea? How did the idea of beauty arise? What did that mean to me?
This morning I sat down with one of those bitty lists, the kind that grow out of being away. I arrived back home, here down south to Narnia yesterday afternoon. It was cold.
I’d left my warm second home, my daughter, her partner and my grand-pup. The dog knew something was going on when I lugged the case onto the bed and unpacked to repack it. His big brown eyes nearly made me cry. Pets can really give you a guilt trip.
The antagonist, the adversary of the hero is giving me grief. And so it should, as I am the protagonist in my memoir. A vicious circle, the chicken or the egg or the egg or the chicken has me chasing my literary tail.
Question: ‘How do you eat an elephant?’
Answer: ‘One bite at a time.’
New projects can be like this. Huge, Grey and Shadowy,
the illusion of being in a mist. Mulling around in that confused head space is
I am embarking on a new project, that leap into the unknown that I alluded to in last week’s blog. A new book. A new challenge. Methodical by nature, I find structure keeps me on track. Shamelessly, I admit that I like lists. They provide a point of reference and also reinforce achievement.
The New Toy
New, sparkling and shining
A child’s toy in the soft morning sun
Little hands explore
Tracing the outlines, feeling the texture
Detailed inspection, then into the mouth
How does it work?
Rattling and clanging, pushing and pulling
Make it go
This week passed by so quickly, I thought I might have dreamt it. My reality markers confirmed that I’d lived it: a whirlwind week recorded in my iPhone diary.
It’s been good. After silently working on my dreams and aspirations, I almost gave up, the struggle within wearing me out. Truth didn’t equal reality. Stuck and uncertain, dark glasses blinded me. Time to stop fighting .
Writing Schicksal, I had to portray my maternal grandfather. I had grown up with one perspective: my mother’s. What if she had it wrong?
Memoir, from the memory, should be based on truth. It is what we believe or remember to be the case. My grandfather, long gone, could not be asked about his motives. He made a hard call which cost him his daughter’s love.