While dying of prostate cancer, New York Times book critic Anatole Broyard wrote about “the therapeutic value of style.”
In Intoxicated By My Illness, he observed: “It seems to me that every seriously ill person needs to develop a style for his illness. I think that only by insisting on your style can you keep from falling out of love with yourself as the illness attempts to diminish or disfigure you.”
I’ve long envied literary men who write boldly about their various afflictions, fatal and otherwise, knowing that their ability to do their job is never in doubt and they relish the protection that their reputations afford them.
This is not the case for shift workers, dishwashers, desk jockeys that fill boxes with numbers for a modest salary, or almost anyone else. And not for girl reporters trying to figure out how to work sick.
I am currently reading Working Bodies: Chronic Illness in the Canadian Workplace (McGill-Queens University Press, 2014). It is dedicated to “all Canadians living with chronic illness who want to have meaningful employment and engagement in the workplace.”