The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Healthcare is a policy issue until it gets personal. Until your body shuts down like a marathoner in the 22nd mile.

Two weeks ago, the brutal flu that’s been karate-chopping around the country, landed on my chest. And kicked right through.

My rigorous workout regiment, vegetarianism and herbal pill-popping typically allows me to ward-off airborne in-coming. But after an especially rough week of working late and working early, my immune system was weak. The flu weaseled in. My energy nose-dived. And my body had more aches than a heart on a Kelly Clarkson album.

The problem was that I was too busy to be sick. The Truth About The Fact was in the middle of planning REAL TALK: The Arts, the Academy and the Community; I had papers to return to students, and the deadline for my new book was quickly approaching.

The first few days, I’d pop a handful of vitamin C, Echinacea & Goldenseal, and Wellness Formula (with its Elderberry kicker), then stumble to campus with a sandwich baggie in my pocket, full of the same.

The flu also turns the mind to Cream of Wheat. I was literally delirious in class. At one point in lecture, I looked around the room and eyes began dropping like dominoes lines in a semi-circle. I wasn’t connecting with my students. Because I was speaking a hard to follow dialect known as Cream-of-Wheat-ese. I called class. Stumbled back home and climbed back in bed. Embarrassed.

When things are clicking, the classroom can be a provocative, completely stimulating environment for both the professor and the students. But when you’re talking like a bowl of mushy, hot cereal, the classroom can be a truly humiliating place. I lay in bed sweating and replaying the ridiculous image of me standing in front of my students, hand on my forehead, eyes closed, stringing together non-sequiturs, as a bored child would string together rubber bands.

I wheezed and coughed and ached and sweated and hacked up phlegm and popped herbs throughout the week and completely collapsed over the weekend.

During the week, I wasn’t able to do any of the things that I privately complain about: Getting up a 4:45 AM to read, meditating on the beach, writing at 6:30 AM, running the sand at 9:00 AM then working out. These rituals impose structure on my organically, improvisational personality. I constantly buck against the discipline. That I enforce. On myself.

But when I was sick, I missed meditating under the predawn stars in front of the Pacific. I missed putting in four miles in soft sand. I missed challenging myself to be my highest self.

That’s one of the benefits of being sick. It makes you appreciate the life you have when you're not sick. Even the things you find yourself railing against. Maybe the things that you rail against are the things that make you – you.

Peace & Blessings,

Michael Datcher


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