I’ve stopped posting about my wrist and arm pain. Partly because I was sick of my own whining. Partly because I feared the professional repercussions of going on the job market while publicly “broken.” But Cat Valente has as usual written the post that sums up what I’m feeling. I’m doing better than a year ago, and much better than she is, from the sound of it. But this week, when I’m grading 70+ essays by hand to help out a colleague who’s on leave thanks to recently becoming a father, after spending the morning reviewing, also by hand, a hundred or so compositions by incoming freshman so as to place them into an appropriate introductory writing course, well…I’m not getting much of my own writing done, and it kills me. Every day I do what I can, and usually more — far more — than I should. I return too many emails too conscientiously. Every day it’s a battle between my desire to work, my ability to tolerate pain, and the sure knowledge that if I push myself too hard, I’ll shut down completely (which is what happened in June-July of 2013). Braces help. Dragon helps. I’m beginning to understand that I’ll never be fully healed, and that the writing process that has produced my very best work is too brutal on my body to sustain over the arc of a career. Slowly I’m piecing together a kinder, gentler, slower process. It makes me want to scream.