Writing – a Life Beyond my Condition

Elin Wahlstedt is from Sweden. Here she shares the story of how she discovered she has a rare medical condition that makes her dependent on TPN.

I started writing when I was really young. I can still remember the exact time when I started. I was lying in a hotel room in Turkey with my mom and I couldn’t fall asleep because I had this line that kept repeating itself over and over in my head: The Pitch Black Night. That was it, just those four words. And as I couldn’t sleep I started adding more words. Four words became ten and ten words became a sentence that became two. Suddenly I had the beginning of a story and now I definitely couldn’t sleep because now I was afraid that I’d forget everything if I did. I kept repeating the sentences to myself until they became a mantra that slowly lulled me to sleep.

When I woke up the next day I wasn’t feeling well. The heat has never been my friend so a sunny vacation usually results in me staying at the hotel. I get sick almost every time. Usually I read when I get sick. And I remember I had only brought one book this time so I borrowed my mothers and felt so proud for having read my first “adult” novel.

But this morning I asked my mom if she could get me a notebook and a pen instead. The sentences from last night were still repeating themselves in my head and I knew the only way to make them stop was to write them down. So when she went down to get breakfast, she got me a notebook and the rest of the day I was writing until my hand hurt.

This became my first short story and after that I was stuck. I loved the entire process. I loved getting to know the characters, I loved finding out what would happen to them, I loved creating new worlds and figuring out what it was like to live there.

There was no turning back after that first short story. I kept writing. Short stories became manuscripts and manuscripts became novels.

There is a beauty in writing. It’s a way to escape. It’s actually my only way to experience a life that I can never have, to go on adventures, to travel, to live a life beyond my condition.

It’s the only place where I can be a medieval young girl. The Pitch Black Night causing me to repeatedly stumble on the uneven ground, the howling wind tangling my blond hair, the crying ravens flying only inches from my head, the sound of feet running not far from me, and the terrible smell of smoke. All this scared me but nothing terrified me more than what I had just witnessed…

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