Thursday, October 16, 2014

Playwrights and their Gallbladders

The lack of posts here on marissabidilla in 2014 doesn't mean that my life has suddenly become boring. Rather, it means that life has been pretty overwhelming this year, events and feelings all happening too fast for me to blog about them. E.g.: I self-produced a play, and then four days after it closed, I was in the hospital getting my gallbladder removed.

Despite all the things that life is throwing at me, I've continued to write for the San Francisco Theater Pub blog every two weeks. I'll try to be better about linking to my pieces as they come out, but in the meantime, here are links to three of my columns that center around my recent health crisis.

I wrote "Through the Fog, Step by Step," in late August, two days after getting diagnosed with gallstones. At the time, I didn't feel ready to discuss my condition publicly, so I wrote in more abstract terms about the feeling of wanting the summer to be over, and the need to take things one day at a time. (My editor noted that I wrote this piece on "four hours of sleep." Yeah, because my gallstone pain had kept me up half the night.)

The day after my surgery, I begged off of writing a column and asked my editor to post a short video clip from Scrubs that seemed relevant. (It was ostensibly Comedy Month on the blog. Not that I had a lot to laugh about.)

In "Things of Darkness and of Light," from two weeks ago, I wrote more directly about the experience of getting diagnosed with gallstones, and how I made peace with it.

Oddly enough, British playwright Mark Ravenhill also wrote an essay this month about getting his gallbladder removed. His experience of gallstones resonates with me so much: the terrible pain that comes as soon as you lie down, the way you attribute it to "indigestion" at first, the way you avoid food in the hopes that the pain will go away. Plus, just like Ravenhill, having gallstones caused me to muse on medieval medicine's "four humours," in which the black bile of the gallbladder was thought to make people melancholy (melan means "black" and chole means "bile" in Greek). His piece is also good on the science-y stuff (he and I both know more than we ever wanted to know about what the gallbladder does and why it's not essential), then takes a philosophical turn.

I also appreciated the gallbladder comics on The Awkward Yeti, forwarded to me by a sympathetic friend a couple of days before my surgery. Poor little gallbladder!

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