We’re trying a new experiment at Nine Day Wonder: the Guest Post! Interviews are one thing and I love them, but I think it’s also refreshing when other writers simply stop by and tell their own stories, free-form, without having an interviewer interrupt their train of thought.
So I asked a friend of mine – and fellow WriMo – if he would stop by and write a bit about his own personal experience. He has been a bit of an inspiration for me, and I’d like to introduce him to you as well.
Without further ado: Jeffrey Boman.
March 23 of this year marked 17 years since my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis (MS). My condition has definitely progressed since then: I was able to walk (at first with no aids needed, then using one cane in 1997, up to Canada Crutches from 2002-09). Now I can only stand for a few seconds, even then with the assistance of others.
I used to be a singer, dancer (socially; I enjoyed it, but I was no pro) and a cartoonist. I can no longer do any of them. I can barely use my drawing hand, and due to scarring in the speech centre in my brain, I can barely talk out loud.
Note: if this sounds like whining, or a cry for pity, you’re wrong. I’m just putting things in context.
I’ve written fiction since I was 14. I stopped briefly during my University days, but I’ve come back to writing full-time. Like the things I used to do it’s a form of communication. They were all one-way methods though; if you didn’t like them you just went away.
Writing however can be two-way communication. If a reader doesn’t like it they can give you tips on what to improve – and the writer can do it.
MS is an illness of constant mourning – you mourn everything that you can no longer do. It isn’t the end for you doing anything though. Like the saying says,”Let me accept what I can’t change, and work on what I can.” That’s exactly what I do.
This might sound like bragging, but it’s just truth: I speak 3 languages (granted slowly now), and I have 4 degrees, the last one earned after I became disabled. Two of them deal with software. I work as a tech support guy for that now.
So far I’ve founded 3 publications: in 1990 I founded Comicopia, a comicbook- themed APA (Amateur Press Association. Essentially it’s a compilation of personal fan magazines). It still exists. I was with it for 17 years before I moved on; from 1998 – 2002 I published an e-mail newsletter titled MS-Information in which I debunked snake oil salesman who tried to peddle fraudulent treatments for MS; in 2007 I began a new comicbook-themed fan magazine titled The Original Universe, so far twice nominated for an Aurora award, the 2009 nomination a winner.
(The Aurora is an award for Canadian science fiction and fandom activities. Comic books have ties to SF: legendary SF authors have penned some, and the first SF literary agent became a legendary editor at DC Comics.)
I don’t talk about MS in my fanzine. Not because it’s secret — most of the members already know. It just has nothing to do with the subject matter.
That 2 of 3 publications have comic books as a theme is due to that being one of my passions in life. I’ve read them for more than 3 decades, since I was 13. I’ve also made another of my life’s passions into a career as well: since I was 14, I’ve been a player and a referee for pen-and-paper roleplaying games. Ever since 1993 I’ve had adventures and source materials published for them, 11 so far.
As I said I’ve been a fiction author most of my life. I joined the Montreal group for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2003. I completed it 4 times in a row, and have already begun 10 novels in it. I graduated University a scriptwriter, so I took part in 4 of 5 Script Frenzy competitions (like NaNo, only a screenplay in 30 days instead of a novel).
This year I’ll publish a novel on the Amazon Kindle platform.
I also write a lot of non-fiction, with articles in several newsletters around Montreal. I’ll publish some non-fiction books on Kindle as well.
Some would say that that’s a lot for a disabled person; I’d just say it’s a lot for one person. As I often say I’m not MS that writes, I’m a writer who has MS. One of my friends always praises the fact that I look to results rather than the difficulties.
I still have dark times, but I don’t dwell on them. I just achieve what I want to. It just takes me a bit longer.
Some links for me: