I have always written.
Words are like breathing to me. They are my way of living life, of connecting with others, of engaging with myself. They are the way I’m able to achieve my dreams, albeit on paper.
I was born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. This causes some sort of pain twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. However, because I was born with it, I’ve become accustomed to living with the pain. One of the reasons I write is to find a way past that pain, and to push through it.
On December 31, 2012, I was struck with Multiple Sclerosis. I literally went to bed in one life and woke up in another. I was bedridden for a month and a half and the entire time, the characters in my head cried out for me to tell their stories. It was the closest I’ve come to torture.
When I began to write again months later, I could only manage five or six words at a time. This was another kind of torture. I had been able to write thousands of words at one sitting and was now only able to complete a handful of words.
I knew there had to be a way to produce something. So, I did the only thing I could do: I wrote those five or six words and the next day, I would write five more. Those small groupings of words became a poem.
No, I wasn’t writing the novels that I used to and I wasn’t writing the amount of words that I used to, but the important thing was that I was writing. In a way, those poems became my voice when I felt I didn’t have one. Over the year of 2013, I wrote many poems and, to my surprise, when 2014 rolled around I had enough to form a poetry collection.
When I released Talking to the Sky in 2014, it was a momentous occasion. Holding the book in my hands felt surreal. The entire book was my journey towards getting better. I would always have my disability and my disease, but I would choose how to live with them.
It also changed the way I write. The poems helped me get better and put me on a regular writing schedule. I learned to write in a different way. No longer do I churn out 20, 000 words in a weekend. Now the writing is slower and more paced, depending on my fatigue levels or how my disease is treating me that day.
I came to realize that it wasn’t the amount of words that mattered, it was the act of writing that meant the most. I learned through my writing—by examining my life in poems—that I had accomplished a lot and would continue to do so, just at a slower pace.
Since writing Talking to the Sky in 2013, I’ve gone on to write two more collections (Walking on the Earth and Dancing with the Flame) and have completed two novels (Lust and Lemonade, which will be published in 2017 by Renaissance Press, and the sequel, Life and Lemonade) and two novellas (The Magic of Stars and The Greatest Gift). The words didn’t stop like I thought they would; they just had to have a different way to release themselves.
If having Multiple Sclerosis has taught me anything, it’s that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I might take longer than most people, but you know what? That’s okay, too. I appreciate everything and am more thankful than I was before.
All I can do is take things one day at a time and keep a positive mindset. The stories in my head will be told, one way or another. I just have to let the words fly across the page.
Jamieson is an award-winning, Number One Best Selling Author of over sixty books and writer of Two Steps at a Time, a blog about having Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy. He is an accomplished artist who works in mixed media, charcoal, pastels, and oil paints. He is also something of an amateur photographer, a poet, a perfume designer, and a graphic designer.
Jamieson currently lives in Ottawa Ontario Canada with his cat, Tula, who is fearless.
Bonus: You can download Jamieson’s newest novella, The Greatest Gift, from his website at www.jamiesonwolf.com free of charge! It’s his gift to you for the holidays.