Today my thoughts began with an ordinary conversation with Karen, my lymphedema therapist. (Lymphedema is the dark side of surviving breast cancer.) She asked about my kidney transplant.
~ Going on four years now. Not likely to fail. I may very well die of something else.
Karen has an aunt my age who had a lung transplant a year and a half ago. It's been tough since, of course. She aspirated a little something and got pneumonia, and the immune-suppressing drugs you have to take after a transplant (they think, today) made that hard. Yesterday the aunt went to the gym - she had polio as a child, and one leg and hip are a little weak, she shouldn't work out vigorously. But she did, and she fell. She is so stubborn, you can't tell her a thing. On the other hand, that stubbornness is what's kept her alive through all this.
It is probably a truth that your every characteristic has its other side. Or many other sides, like a bouquet in which some flowers shine with fresh beauty and some glow toxic. I was interested to come across a writing prompt on the Poets and Writers site:
We've all heard the advice "write what you know," which encourages us to write characters like ourselves or people who are close to us. This week, write from the perspective of a character that is your complete opposite. First, make a list of all the qualities you identify with yourself, and then make a list of qualities on the other end of the spectrum. For example, if you are a woman who lives in the country, write from the point of view of a man who lives in the city. Try to avoid using stereotypes to describe this character's actions or ideas, and instead try to embody this character—climb inside his or her head and live there a while.Sent this to a writer friend, who replied that it doesn't sound like fun. I had already avoided it. It isn't as simple as imagining yourself a big city chick of eighteen, whom you could make rather like yourself, only younger. The challenge would be to imagine yourself being, oh, athletic, arrogant and anti-intellectual, a triple-A man, the kind of guy you avoided in high school. And having empathy for that guy, who wants happiness just as much as you. Hmm.