Two weeks ago, I reviewed Love Sick, by Cory Martin. Today I have a lovely interview with the author, who was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions. Love Sick is a great read for anyone who has ever struggled with an illness, dating, or trying to find themselves. The author is open about her struggles, and this honesty shines through on every page. You can pick up a copy here.
(I was interested in reading Love Sick because I’ve been through health issues, too. I had a major stroke almost three years ago. Learning to live with a new reality is challenging, at best. If you’re interested, you can read about that here and here.)
Who is your favorite author and why? (Do you love being scared by Stephen King, inspired by Maya Angelou, loved by Nicholas Sparks, entertained by Jane Austen?)
You know what’s funny is I literally just looked at my bookshelves to find an answer, like I was just going to pluck one out of thin air so I could look smart, but the truth is I don’t have a favorite author. I have plenty of authors who I admire and whose books I adore, but there’s not one that I return to over and over. If I went through the books on my shelves I could probably give you a reason why I like, love or admire each and every author. But let me just give you a sampling…I love Erica Jong for her fearlessness and portrayal of women, and Curtis Sittenfeld for her well crafted character based stories, and Jeannette Walls for writing a memoir that felt like a piece of literary fiction and Jenny Lawson for making me laugh out loud on an airplane and Dave Eggers for taking his writing and parlaying that into a publishing company and an amazing non-profit (If you don’t know about his 826 program you should check it out.) and Tom Wolfe because he is such a part of history, and Fitzgerald and Austen and Hemingway and so many others. I guess I am a fan of writers in general and anyone who can persevere and not only finish writing a book but then put themselves and their art out there to be judged by all has my support.
What is your absolute favorite, read over-and-over again, book? (Mine is “Gone with Wind,” which I’ve read about 25 times, because the story and the characters are so real to me.)
The one book that has stuck with me forever is “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin. I have only read it a few times, but the way it made me feel the first time I read it has been imprinted on my soul. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to go out and change your life or do something grand and against the norm when you finish reading it.
The two other books that I have read over and over have more to do with me being a writer. They are Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Erica Jong’s “Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life”. If anyone reading this is a writer or aspiring writer, I highly recommend these books. They’re about the craft, yes, but they also make you feel less alone in your idiosyncrasies and habits that have to do with writing.
Where is your dream place to write? (Personally, I have visions of white sand and waves. Maybe a drink with an umbrella in it.)
Oh my gosh, I’ve had visions of white sand and waves too, but I know me and I would get way too lazy and comfortable there and would probably never write another word. But take me to some old flat in Europe with character and history, somewhere like Prague or Vienna and I think I might thrive. Whenever I travel I love to research the writers who were from that place, or who were ex-pats there and I try to visit the locations where they lived or wrote or got drunk on a daily basis. I have always been fascinated with the lives of writers, and to be where they once were inspires me.
How has writing changed your life? (If I’m doing “character research,” people-watching is much more socially acceptable.)
I don’t know if it’s necessarily changed my life because I’ve always been an introverted observer who loved writing, but I can definitely see now how it has affected the way I interact with the world. I think being a writer has taught me how to empathize with people. To be a writer and to be able to develop characters and write dialogue you have to really understand the way humans interact and work and think and feel, and I believe that because of this I have become a great listener and I have learned to sympathize with someone before jumping to conclusions or passing judgment.
How is your health these days? Do you feel like your body betrayed you? (One of the reasons I wanted to read your book was because I have had a major health issue myself. Almost 3 years ago, at the age of 36, I had a major stroke without warning and almost died. Overnight, my entire world changed, and it felt like my body had tried to kill me, literally, so I had to relearn how to trust it again.)
Wow. How scary. I can’t even imagine what that must’ve been like and all that you’ve probably had to go through and might still be going through as a result. That must’ve been so hard to learn to trust your body again. I hope you are doing much better and are as healthy as can be. Thank you for sharing that. Stories like yours and mine and so many others are the reason I wrote the book. I knew I couldn’t be the only woman struggling with an illness or betrayal of their body who was also trying to navigate life in the most normal way possible and I wanted to share my story in the hopes that it would at the very least make other women feel less alone.
My health these days is quite good and I feel very lucky. The one major thing I deal with is my cognition. I forget things or names of things quite frequently and there are so many mistakes in my writing these days that I swear I spend more time editing than I do writing, but this I can tolerate. However, and this is the thing that makes MS so hard to deal with, you can never predict what will happen next, so while I don’t feel like my body has betrayed me yet, I live in constant fear that one day I will wake up and it will have done so.
What is your advice for anyone interested in getting into yoga? (Because I’d like to, but I have limited time and resources. It seems like such a beneficial practice. And maybe my brain would stop talking to itself so much.)
Ah, yes, yoga is great for quieting the mind and getting your brain to stop talking to itself so much, but it definitely takes practice. My advice for anyone interested in getting into yoga is to not assume that it has to be perfect right from the get go. Try a class here and there, or just learn one or two poses you enjoy, or follow a video online or read a book (not to plug my own work, but I did write a book called Yoga for Beginners, which might be helpful). Also, know that it might take time for you to find a teacher or a type of yoga that you connect with and that’s fine. There are so many different types of yoga out there and you have to try them out to find out what works for your body. I think the problem now, especially in the US, is that yoga has become this big flashy thing you see on Instagram where yogis are tying themselves into knots or doing these poses that are displays of amazing feats of strength. And that’s great and I don’t want to take away from any of that, but the real yoga lies in being able to simply be in the moment. I practice yoga constantly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I get on my mat and move my body into the poses. The poses are just a way to help you get to the point where you can, as you said, get your brain to stop talking to itself so much. So truthfully if you can get into one pose, which might be Sukhasana, which is basically sitting Indian style like you did as a kid, and get your mind to quiet even if just for one second, you are doing yoga and that’s the best place to start.
Thank you, Cory, for taking the time to answer these questions. I purchased “Yoga for Beginners,” and I can’t wait to start reading it. I have some cognition problems, too, but they are sporadic–and without warning–which is quite frustrating. I still worry sometimes that something else will happen, so I understand your fear. I’m happy that you are doing so well, and I hope “Love Sick” does well. I recommend it to everyone.)