Posted by: jeanne | November 21, 2008

cancerart 11


i’m just trying to get the shadows right. that’s what jim keeps telling me. i’ve got to do all this highlights-of-the-skin stuff that i’m scared of (white paint, oooh) and i’ve got the shadows too dark already, and now that i’ve put brown over the green and blue background it’s really dark, and i’m really worried. because i don’t feel competent with skin tones. shades of pink and yellow drive me nuts. i should have been born black. then i could use browns and purples.

i’m still having trouble with the right hand (her left). it’s my hand i’m painting, because the photo i took of her with her arms down is blurry right there. and i can’t get the angle on my hand and wrist. i’ve been holding it in position and trying to paint it, but that makes me bend over like the hunchback of notre dame. and i can tell that my view is distorted because my painted thumb is bigger than anything only because it’s closest to my eyes while i’m peering at it.

today i didn’t spend much time on painting because i got right to writing, and tried my damnedest to finish that chapter. the one i’ve been working on for several weeks. and it was only planned to take one day’s work. i’m crying, i know. but i got to a certain place in the chapter where something random happens that means something connected will have to happen in the next chapter, and so i had to scroll right down to the place wheree i keep my story ideas, and spend all my energy writing there.

what i wrote today is a new plot. i was having a lot of trouble tying in a bunch of the characters and other plot devices, and needed something to change their reasons for being there. so i grabbed some real thing going on in my neighborhood and worked it into the story line because i could. actually, because it would fit. adding this one little thing made all sorts of things happen for the characters, opened up new things for them to do, new dialogs, new plot twists. a much better ending. a much longer book. oh well.

i was thinking about my doctors just now. after seeing a bunch of doctors in practices, many of whom are chairs or lecturers in their departments, many of them firsts in their field, i’ve been sent off to see a batch of second year residents in a teaching hospital clinic with all the rest of the poor people. makes me wonder why the poor people don’t line up at the doors of the respected real doctors with actual experience, rather than cluster in the clinics where the baby doctors can have a go. my personal choice is to see a doctor with some experience. the baby doctors have to check with teacher before they can prescribe or diagnose. i’d rather go get House to tell me what’s wrong with me.

that set me to thinking about when i saw the last real doctor. my surgeon, bless her heart, is the best of the best, and so are my cardiologist and my oncologist and my gastroenterologist and my nurse practitioner. they’re working just as they can to beat the system and heal people. but they’re my age. and they were never taught how to heal.

they call it medicine instead of healing. because it’s all about the drugs. the patient gets better. or not. on their own.

the last real doctor i knew was old when i was born. so maybe that’s a conceit of my youth. they don’t teach them healing anymore. they teach them to prescribe. they teach them enough to diagnose what seems to be the problem, and to find a list of drugs they can use to combat the symptoms. they send patients for tests. this is not healing.

doctors don’t even look at your tongue anymore. or peer at your fingernails. or the bags under your eyes. they don’t know why they should. they’ve never been taught the diagnostic tools that don’t require electricity. this is a bad thing.

we’ve lost basic knowledge that had been standard learning for a thousand years, and now it’s a mumbo jumbo of unpronounceable pharmaceutical names chosen for their cuteness factor.

and that’s why i’m a witch. i’m not listening to what the doctors say. i’m sitting there divining what advice i should listen to, and hearing that. taking omens and chance occurrences with the same seriousness i would advice from a qualified professional. basically i listen to people who know what they’re talking about, and give those who don’t a hard time. no wonder they burn people like me.


  1. The patient gets better or not on their own. That has rung a bell with me somewhere, because I am now repeating it in my head.

    Have a good weekend.


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