from Night Writer: All Torn Up 2016.
This is one in a series of photo-collages I made in 2016. Between my dismay with the election results and pain from multiple sclerosis, I found myself tearing up copies of my book Night Writer. As the pieces slid onto the table, there it was – the state of the body politic and my body.
I was diagnosed with MS in 1979, before MRI’s or medications existed. Now, if caught early, MS is treatable – there are many medicines now that stop progression. I take one. It won’t fix damaged nerves in the brain and spine, but that comes soon. While waiting, I manage different types of pain that started 15 years ago in my feet and has crept upward and intensified. These images show how far up it was in 2016. All invisible to others. They illustrate how things feel on the inside and helped me sort out a constellation of pains I now know have names: dysesthesia (weirdo unpleasant sensations like burning, bone-aching cold, squeezing), spasticity, and gastroparesis. These names allow my new neurologist to mix and remix a pain cocktail. The pain has moved up since 2016. It is now in my entire upper body. I will make more collages – the process is pleasurable and works well as a delicious ingredient in the cocktail.
Some of the titles in the series: No Cocktail Too Strong, Rough Waters, Gut Feeling, Spine, Feet to the Fire.