- Healer Aerden whining to be in a story
- The demise of StarRise Weyr
- My interest in the Graves family (secondary to my writings in a Harry Potter RPG) and
- a slow day at work and the need to look industrious
might all be the combined catalyst for a book.
So there I was, looking for something to do, because I had run out of reports to type at work, and I really didn't want to type from a medical transcription teaching tape that I have already typed from once before. It was almost lunch time, so I decided to do a bit of semi-work-related Websurfing. I couldn't remember any interesting disease names offhand, except polycythemia vera, which I wasn't all that interested in, so I decided to do further reading on Graves' disease.
After reading a very thorough article at EMedicine, I realized that what I really wanted to know was the history of the disease. I wanted to read about how Dr. Robert J. Graves discovered this disease and came to write about it. As I read further about the disease, its symptoms, and its treatment, the voice of Healer Aerden popped into my head and nudged me to write a story.
Well, I can't really do that, because there's no StarRise Weyr anymore, and I have to admit, even for the chance to write this story for Aerden, I just don't want to run a Weyr again, unless all I have to do is publish the zine. I don't want to keep track of clutch charts. I don't want to run RP's. Just let me compile the zine, do the website, and write the occasional story.
Anyway, the little Aerden in my head started nagging me that he wanted to treat a patient with Graves' disease, because he wanted to have the problem of a disease he couldn't treat. I wanted to explore how he would deal with it.
Now, we wrote the Family Forest die-off story, but Pernese Ebola is not the kind of untreatable disease I want. Frankly, I thought that story was so emotionally horrible and such an awful way to kill off a member's characters, that I literally couldn't bring myself to edit it. It was just too awful to read and suffer through. I couldn't bear to look at it, even though I wrote some of it.
I wanted an untreatable disease that was more common and less virulent/dangerous. I wanted the kind of disease that makes a doctor feel helpless, not because it is overwhelmingly devastating, but because he must watch his patient go from the early, mild stages, to the inevitable, terminal stage, having no idea what the disease is and no idea how to cure it. It's just a mysterious disease for which there seems to be no cure, and the only treatments are palliative.
I didn't want cancer, because cancer is relatively common--though perhaps not on Pern. Graves' disease is less common, and it has readily observable, classic symptoms.
There's not much of a way that I could write Aerden's story; I'd want to set it at StarRise, and who would read it, if I did that? But it occurred to me that I can write the story of Dr. Robert J. Graves, who wrote a paper about this disease in 1827. Dr. Graves' tech level was certainly comparable to Aerden's. And I asked myself, "Why not?"
There's a saying: "Don't write what you know; write what you love." I don't know what I love, if not medicine. So I'm going to do this.