I have often thought about writing a book. There are so many things I could write about. I have thought about a hospital-based autobiography, a general life autobiography, even a work of fiction. On the one hand I think it would be interesting, but equally, I wonder who would want to read about me.
What would anything I write be like? I wouldn’t want it to be a tale of woe, nor a ledger of my triumphs. I am averse to anything I consider cheesy, so a book of “you can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it” also doesn’t appeal to me. What my book would be, is a quasi-philosophical prose that would be designed for readers to meander through. I would want them to either feel like I am one of them, or I would like my reader to discover a new way of thinking, or encounter concepts they have yet to explore.
When the possibility of joining a group of other pretty interesting doctors in writing a book came about it did occur to me that this would be an interesting exercise; maybe I would get something out of it. Maybe other people would get something out of reading what I wrote. I am yet to discover the latter. Regarding the former: being part of this literary project was another thing in this world of things that I do. I enjoyed the freedom of writing about how I am and what I have done in a way that was honest because, if there is anything I have learnt in my years thus far, it is that being honest and raw, acting authentically, that will allow you to find the most happiness, or maybe just contentment, in this world.
Reading the others’ chapters was one of the parts of the project I enjoyed the most. I realise what I love: when people are honest and open and tell their truth, even when it’s a little ugly or angry. The chapters that let the reader in to the secret zone of the writer were the ones I enjoyed the most. Maybe I like it because it makes me feel less alone in the world. So often we protect our friendships; we don’t open ourselves completely because we are afraid of what people might find and how they might react. I remember a friend once telling me he wanted a relationship where he could be an “open book”, where nothing was hidden, and he longed to be loved regardless of the ugly parts to his self. I think that person held a lot of shame and desperately wanted to be free of it. I always wondered whether that was even possible, and in fact I think it isn’t. Working towards the freedom of being open and transparent is good in itself though, I think it helps in the quest to love oneself which is probably closer to where happiness lies.
I might write a book one day, in fact, I hope I do, but for now I have too much other business on which to focus my energy. Besides thinking too much, I also probably do too much. I have been asked more than once if I have also 24 hours in a day like people do. I am a neurosurgeon. I have been an engineer, a bartender, a shop assistant. I am also a dancer, a yoga teacher, a traveller, an adventurer, a tinkerer, a skier, a mother, and a weather radar watcher and I just bought a surfboard. I love finding new things to squash into life.
Maybe some of you will read the book, and I hope everyone who does gets something from it.