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Author Topic: Writing About Living with HIV  (Read 2009 times)

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Offline Joe K

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  • Member
  • Posts: 5,820
  • 31 Years Poz
Writing About Living with HIV
« on: April 19, 2011, 05:14:30 PM »
For years I have been writing about subjects, hundreds of them in fact and some of them were included in a blog I had on this site and others have been simply posted in the forums. I have been writing as long as I can remember and people tell me that I have a way with words, but I never believed them, because I never truly believed in myself.  As if being poz isn’t enough, I suffer from clinical depression and PTSD. Over the past few years, I have been in a spiral, and not the good kind. Knowing the warning signs of imminent mental implosion, I sought the help of a therapist and fate delivered me into the hands of an amazing woman.

Part of my therapy includes writing about my feelings, both what I feel and what I “believe” I feel.  If you have ever been in therapy, that no doubt made sense to you and if not, just be grateful that you do not understand.  For decades, what I “believed” was happening, was overly influenced by my mental illness, which obscured my ability to see and think clearly.  What I thought I “believed” was disjointed and inconsistent and only now, have I begun to see the “real” me.

I am beginning to understand how all the pieces fit together, to see the life I have lived, while minimizing those issues that have no real bearing on who and what I am.  I have come to realize that so much of what I am, is expressed in what I write.  During our sessions, I have repeatedly mentioned the pleasure I derive from writing, not so much from the physical act, rather the feeling that what I write is relevant and my ability to construct a pervasive viewpoint on a given subject.  I have always believed that I am a decent writer, however now; I know it to be true.

How I got here is not that important, however the opportunity it represents is very real.  I have decided that I want to write a book, about living with HIV and life in general and I want to hear what your folks think about the idea.  The thought of writing an autobiography is unappealing to me, because I do not believe my life to be incredibly interesting, as a chronological narrative, because it is not how I have lived that matters; it is what I have experienced and most importantly, learned from my decades of life.

My book idea centers on assembling my writings, including new ones and forming something like a book of blog entries.  I believe that my real strength in writing comes from my ability to passionately present issues and ideas.  I believe that I could develop a comforting tomb and I believe that such a work would have a wide audience, within the HIV community and a broader general audience.  I believe I can present a brutally honest and compassionate perspective of what living with HIV entails, but more importantly, is I believe I can make a difference.

I have been posting on this forum for almost a decade and I know I help people with adjusting to HIV, simply because of my personal history and my personal observations.  Writing a book has been a dormant dream of mine, for many years and I suppose I am just done dreaming about it and so I am going to do it and I welcome your suggestions and ideas.

Offline newt

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,896
  • the one and original newt
Re: Writing About Living with HIV
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2011, 05:21:37 PM »
Get a sympathetic but ruthless editor - matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline GSOgymrat

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,122
  • HIV+ since 1993. Relentlessly gay.
Re: Writing About Living with HIV
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011, 05:57:55 PM »
You have a lot of ideas and I think putting them into words would be therapeutic even if you decide to never publish it. I suggest deciding who your audience will be and what exactly you want to say. If you aim this at people who don't have HIV then you are going to have to clarify a lot of concepts, e.g. CD4, because the average reader doesn't understand the details of the disease. Deciding on what you want to say sounds basic but you would be amazed at the number of writers who don't have a handle on this concept. Also what you want to say will help determine what format you will use: narrative, expository, persuasive. I don't know your educational background but taking a writing class can be very helpful.

Anyway, I think it is a great idea and I hope you will pursue it.

Offline Jody

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  • Posts: 1,935
Re: Writing About Living with HIV
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011, 08:31:53 PM »
Hi Joe...Just my words of encouragement, I think you will do very well...Your confidence does not belie your talent.  You are honest and forthright, opinionated and passionate, but also have an all important sense of humor and the ability to not always take yourself seriously which will all assist you I believe in beating back those blues.  Your knowledge of life's cycles and your concern for health and political issues is always easy to spot in your writing.  Your unique life of having had tragedy in losing your folks at such a young age had to have been awfully traumatic and that is a part of who you are.  Your diagnosis, illness, survival, move to and from Florida, your life as a resident of the US and Canada are all forces which have shaped you.  We go back a ways here on this site and I think you can also write first and foremost for yourself and that is a strength.  All at once Joe you have the ability to teach, to laugh, to kvetch and your perspective is sure to be of great influence and enjoyment to your readers...Kill 'em Killfoile.

Jody :)
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline Jody

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,935
Re: Writing About Living with HIV
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 10:16:10 PM »
Not to forget your loving Stephen either Joe...Here's remembering you guys in kilts in Montreal on St. Catherine's st. and about town.  I shall try to get up to Montreal one of these days.

"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline Sweet_C

  • Member
  • Posts: 200
Re: Writing About Living with HIV
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 09:44:10 PM »
I am so glad you're finally embarking on this project.  I really enjoy your posts.  There have been times where I've come on this board feeling pretty low about some aspect of life with HIV and read something you've written.  Your posts are very soothing and I know you are going to help a lot of people.

I'm happy that you're aiming on targeting a wide audience.  A lot of times when I read things about life with HIV, I feel uplifted but at the same time an incredible sense of isolation as a straight woman infected with the disease.  There are milllions of straight women infected worldwide but 99% of the time I feel like I am the only straight woman in the world that has it--kinda like how a man who has breast cancer might feel.  I understand why there is so much focus on how it has affected the gay community in this country, but it seems like people are too comfortable in thinking of it as a gay disease.  I get the same feeling of isolation oftentimes when I read accounts by straight HIV+ people.  I hope your book is one where anyone who is poz can feel included.
Tested positive on September 11, 2008


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