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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Creativity as an answer to chaos

When you're a nurse, there's a lot of chaos. The average 12 hour shift (more like 13.5 when all is said and done) is full of call lights, orders to be translated from doctor-transcribed hieroglyphics, medications to be passed, procedures to perform.

A lot of nurses have trouble making a break from that chaos in their off hours, and have to find a way to translate that energy into something good. I like to write whenever I have a down moment when I'm in the throes of a new idea. I have trouble writing unless I'm obsessed about my current project, because being a working wife, mom, daughter, dog and cat butler can get in the way of my writing time. Finding that hour to sit down and be creative is often difficult and damn near impossible. I've discovered some new software that's really helping me organize and make the best of my writing time (Thank you Snowflake Pro! Best 50 bucks I ever spent...)

I mentioned the personal medical chaos that writing helped me get through, but another reason I write was brought home when I saw the obituary of a patient this morning. She was only 36, a breast cancer survivor who developed metastatic pancreatic and liver cancer. She was beautiful, kind, and had a loving husband and two adorable little boys who are far too young to lose their mommy. We had spoken often during her hospital stays, as I was diagnosed with cancer only a few years older than she. Whenever she was hospitalized, she would send her husband over to my floor to tell me she was there, so I could come see her. The last time she was there, I wasn't, and I heard that she had gone home on hospice. Irony there; I had just accepted a position with a hospice organization, which I will start a week from Monday.

One of my favorite authors, Zenna Henderson, had a character who immersed himself in writing a book after the death of his infant daughter. The character said, "This was my weeping and my substitute for despair. My creation to answer death."

I think that's the best reason for anyone to indulge their creativity. To create beauty out of the chaos of their thoughts, and to share that beauty in whatever form they can to lighten the lives of others. Someday, maybe, there will be one person to pick up a book or a story I've written and it might take their mind off something ugly for a little while, provide an escape and some entertainment, like so many authors have done for me.

So today, I'll write in honor of Anne Marie, a beautiful life in the midst of chaos. Whether it's just this blog post, or I get some more quality work done on Nectar and Ambrosia, it's me, stringing thoughts together into some kind of order in this insane world. As I learn the new emotional and professional aspects of hospice nursing, I will write for my own sanity and offer my creativity to answer death.

Like Anne Marie, I hope to leave the world a better place, even for a little while.

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