I don’t think that I am a didactic writer. I like me some themes. I enjoy politics. Literature is great when it engages with the world. But if I want to read a pamphlet or a manifesto, I have a drawer full, I don’t need to read stories to get an opinion. I like story in my story.
I hope that my story KAIJU! is not too didactic, I really do. I won’t say too much as I don’t want to give the story away (you can click here and read it for free), however it went through a number of drafts over several years. The good folk at Fleas on the Dog asked me to write an author’s note about it, and how those drafts became increasingly informed, or infused, by my lived experience:
The drafts became infused with the real life horror story my family has lived through over the past decade. Two of my daughters suffer from a horrible chronic Lyme-like disease, with distressing and painful symptoms, which was neither diagnosed nor treated properly for years, because the disease is not recognised as occurring in Australia. I recall many nights sitting in emergency rooms in the wonderful high tech hospitals of my first world country, staring at signs warning patients not to disrespect or assault staff. Quite right, too—there had been an ugly spate of attacks on people who were just doing their job. However, I would look at these signs and dwell on the cognitive dissonance as my beautiful girls were disrespected, disbelieved and disregarded by dismissive, condescending and awful doctors who accused them of malingering or being unduly sensitive. If only those doctors respected my children. And why must patients always be polite and obedient? Why shouldn’t they …
… do the things that the characters in the story do.
KAIJU! is not a story about living with chronic lyme disease in Australia, but the story is informed by the experience of doing so. Be patient, don’t speak up, behave. Why? Because it is convenient for those of us in authority.