I went to see the doctor today, and the news is positive. My situation is not dire; I’m nowhere near the point of surgery, and it’s likely that some affordable interventions will seriously improve my pain levels while typing. It is indeed a repetitive strain injury, something called cubital tunnel syndrome, which is causing pain in my elbow and pinky finger. The ulnar nerve in my right arm is inflamed, and I’m on an intensive anti-inflammatory regimen for the next week. Hopefully I’ll see some improvement pretty quickly.
In the meantime, I’m back at the gym (spin class and ab work) and trying to solidify a routine after many months of travel related disruption. Less drinking, more healthy eating, etc. Humorously, I spent much of my dissertation leave trying to get my exercise and health routines in order, and the ab class I’ve been attending since January features long plank holds that likely as not have exacerbated my elbow pain infinitely more than the crazy 5000 word writing days I’ve been pulling. Good behavior bites me in the ass.
In other good news, I just received confirmation today that I will be teaching a summer enrichment composition workshop over the next five weeks, starting Monday. I’m very excited, and although I’m loath to lose the writing time, I do love teaching, especially to motivated students.
The summer novel workshop was Clarion all over again. I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially to science fiction and fantasy writers who’ve already survived the boot camp that is Clarion and who are struggling to make the transition from short fiction to novel writing. The workshop is structured on a collaborative model that harnesses the power of nine brains to poke holes in the neat and tidy outline you’ve made of your book. I suppose I could have written this novel without the workshop, but it would’ve taken me a dozen drafts to achieve a book shaped object, if I’d ever have gotten there. After the workshop, if I can just draft the book based on the outline I hammered out over the past two weeks, I will have saved myself years of rewriting. It’s difficult to describe the process; suffice to say, if you are at all a social person, this workshop will harness that sociability in service to your novel, in the best way possible. I left with wonderful friends whose brains I trust to push my work to places where I’ve been afraid to tread.
No new publications to announce, just a pile of rejections, although mostly kind personals. I do feel like my writing has reached a new level this year, in that I’m seeing more publications and more personals. I’m very hopeful that the CSSF workshop will produce a similar exponential leap in my writing as did Clarion.
Thanks to all of you who posted kind comments on this blog, or sent me consoling emails, or typed up my outline in the second week of workshop to save me pain (Becky, I’m looking at you). I’m thrilled that there appears to be many ways to mediate my pain and prevent long-term problems, and I’m excited to get back to the writing routine I put on hold when all this nerve nonsense began.
In sum, for those of you about to embark on a dissertation leave or novel project, I strongly encourage you not to abuse your bodies. This could have been much, much worse had I let it go. Instead, I now have 1000 words of my novel drafted in Dragon, a bucket of Motrin to consume, summer teaching, and a sliver of hope. It’s not precisely the summer I’d had planned, but I’ll take it.