Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The "Write" Disease

I've said it here before that, for me, diabetes is just no big deal. It is a part of my life, sure, but it doesn't stand out as anything major. There are so many other important things to focus on in life, no point in spending any more time worrying about diabetes than I have to.

Sure, I take care of myself. I pump. I test. I watch what I eat. I see my endocronologist every 3-6 months. I deal with the lows and highs as they come. But mostly, I try to love my wife, give time to my kids, work, write, worship, and try to have a little fun now and then.

So, I was thinking recently about my writing. I don't think I've written a single short story or had a character in any idea for a novel with the disease. And then I got to wondering why that is? I started trying to figure out how I might include a character with diabetes.

And here's what I decided.

If I were to include diabetes in a story, then diabetes would need to play a role in the story. I mean, it is like in Hollywood. If you have a kid or an adult with diabetes, you can be assured that at some point during the course of the plot, that kid or adult will either experience a life-threatening low BGL, or a life-threatening high BGL. Perhaps they will be locked in the trunk of a car for hours without their insulin. Or they'll be in some hijacked airplane where the hijackers won't allow a diabetic to treat his high or low.

But, frankly, diabetes just isn't like that most of the time. And nevermind Hollywood usually gets it all wrong anyhow. Diabetes is something that millions of people live with every day of their lives in this country. It isn't really so dramatic. At least, not usually.

So, then, why not just have a character with diabetes and leave it at that? I suppose that's possible. Of course, what would be the point? To educate people? Then you risk your writing becoming a lecture.

Granted, I have had a few ideas, such as a story about the struggle a child feels shortly after they are first diagnosed, how they feel different, perhaps even mad at God. Feelings that I know I faced, albeit quite briefly, as well as some of my diabetic peers when I was a kid.

I guess what it comes down to is that diabetes isn't so big a deal. At least, not when you've spent most of your life living with it. It isn't something that inspires me.

But then again, I remember the days of my youth, and how I celebrated any famous person that I came to learn was diabetic. There was a certain comradery there with an otherwise perfect stranger. Like that man who raced in the Ironman Triathalon. A race that I didn't care two cents about, but my eyes were glued to the screen that year because a guy with diabetes had the courage to race. (I was also a little jealous, because he got to eat fudge throughout the competition.)

So, maybe there is a need. Perhaps there is some kid out there longing to read about the heroic efforts of an otherwise ordinary kid who happens to share his or her disease. Would your diabetic child want to read about someone like that?


Kelsey said...

I still feel a connection with other type-1 diabetics. My heart was broken when Adam Morrison lost to UCLA in the NCAA Tourney. So sad.

It would be cool to tell a story about a young person with diabetes who just incorporates it into their life, without all the drama. Sort of like my favorite childhood character: Stacey in the Babysitter's Club books!

George said...

Have you ever seen Garden State? Natalie Portman plays a girl with Epilepsy and the whole time I watched it I was waiting for her to have a seizure. Thankfully, it never happened. I think that is one of the major things I love about that Movie.

She has it, she deals with it, no drama. I think you can pull something like that off!

RyanBruner said...

I'll have to think about this. I suppose if I ever have a story line that this would work out for...

Penny said...

I just wanted to say that I love reading your blog. You give me hope that Riley will one day be like you and think diabetes is "no big deal". It's just nice to hear someone say it and really mean it.