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The Patient Dies on the Table: Writing as Vivisection

The Patient Dies on the Table: Writing as Vivisection

Hope you are well, she writes.

Yup, just writing, I reply.

I love that you say “just writing” as though it’s not one of your passions in life. 

Passion Might Be Everything, But It Looks Like Nothing

It might be my passion, but I’m well aware that I spend the majority of my days doing something that would look utterly inane to a bystander. Pressing buttons down on a keyboard. Clicking between tabs. Staring out the window lost in thought. Desperately trying to remember What was that thing I read 6 years ago about social tension between women? Firing off Google searches, hoping to get lucky and find it.

What’s up? another friend writes.

I don’t know what to tell them — it’s the same old stuff. Writing. Wrestling with my mind. Trying to make sense of things that refuse to make sense. Yelling into the void.

And yet, sometimes the void yells back.

But not today. Today I’m straining to hear it. There’s a whisper, and maybe I can catch a stray word or two. Like a voicemail message left by a person who is holding the phone a foot away from their face.

I send a funny picture to my friend. They laugh and launch into a problem they’ve been having. It’s a welcome respite from this weird struggle at the keys. And as we talk back and forth, I make a lame joke that gives me an idea for a post that I know will just flow out of me.

I flip into a different tab and quickly outline it a post draft, the broad strokes. Twenty seconds later, I flip back to my friend. I still don’t have anything interesting to say, but I know I will soon.

Writing as Vivisection

In healthcare, they often say, “If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen.”

And yet, the opposite seems to happen in everyday life. The wordless minutiae that slip along the periphery of our waking moments? They’re where our life resides. Those are the moments when we’re most us. When we’re living life instead of analyzing it to death.

And writing? It’s a kind of vivisection. The patient dies on the table. All for taxonomy. A desire to name. The illusion of control.


My book is out!

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory

Featured Image: CC BY – Katie Hunt