Every dozen years or so the story circulates about women who live together finding their monthly cycles beginning to align. In the past few months I’ve begun to think some similar lunar phenomena is pulling the annual physicals of writing friends into a similar pattern, regardless of gender.
We work in fiction and memoir with deep minds that push the thought of blood tests and stethoscopes into personal zones that should not be explored until necessary. All of us are of a certain age and know of bad news that has been given to good friends. And we have written about grim events that required researching information we should not be thinking about the night before a physical. But we can’t help ourselves.
This wasn’t the way being a writer was supposed to be according to the likes of Hemingway and Parker. Not one of us smokes or drinks (to excess). None of us are promiscuous or live in lands where diseases could be contracted in the water. We just think too much.
That same amount of overthinking is wonderful when crafting a scene. For example, I once crawled the length of our house dragging a thick book tied to one ankle to be sure a scene was accurate. I’ve watched an odd exercise show over and over to capture the intonation of the leader. I’ve researched the Mayo website a health condition that might kill a character.
My life is absolutely normal. Today I did laundry, dusted a few rooms and went to a baseball game. I also drew pictures of the farmstead where my next novel takes place, verified the tree species that make up a windbreak and researched high blood pressure during pregnancy. Farms, tree stands and pregnancy won’t be discussed at the doctor’s office. High blood pressure remains on my mind tonight.
That worry isn’t groundless. My mother dealt with high blood pressure from her thirties until she died fifty years later. My brother took medication for high blood pressure in his early fifties and died before his sixtieth birthday. My father had wonderful, steady, low blood pressure.
Time to calm down. Think I’ll read something by Jennifer Weiner before bed.