Rafeal Campo writes: “To write about illness, to heed this terrible muse, is to reject distancing and to embrace empathy, for which there is no reward or claim on greatness other than perhaps the perverse joy of recognizing oneself as susceptible to the same foibles and neuroses.”
Writing illness can feel unapproachable to the caregiver, and intimidating and overwhelming to those who are ill. The course Writing Illness explores the concerns and rewards of writing about illness of all types—chronic, mental, terminal, invisible—and from all perspectives—patient, family, and caregiver, all while generating and discussing the writer’s material.
It took me ten years after my diagnosis to discover I already had material to write about my own illness, and once I did, my essay “The Healer” [link http://thejournalmag.org/archives/12924]
helped illuminate the course of my illness, but also put to words the alienation I felt as someone diagnosed with a chronic and ambiguous disease.
Sarah Cedeño’s work is forthcoming or has appeared in Punctuate, The Journal, 2 Bridges, The Pinch, The Baltimore Review, New World Writing, The Rumpus, Hippocampus Magazine, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. Sarah holds an MFA from Goddard College in Vermont and has served as editor of several literary magazines. She lives in Brockport, NY with her husband and two sons, and teaches writing at the College at Brockport and Rochester Institute of Technology. She’s at work on a collection of essays on illness titled The Visible Woman.
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