Bloggy, Mediciney Fiction

I felt like I should address this for the whole audience, rather than just in the comments section.

Dear Dr. Grasshopper:

You write fiction, Doctor G? Mind if I inquire the title? If you write narrative like you write your articles, I’d love to give it a read.


First of all, Tagsy, thank you SO much for your kind words!

I hope you don’t mind if I politely decline to connect my blog pen name with my fiction pen name, which is very easily identifiable with my real name that I use for my professional activities. I may sometime in the future get more comfortable with the whole internet-identity thing, but to be honest, right now the medical community doesn’t seem to have embraced the concept of the blogosphere just yet, and I’d prefer that this blog didn’t pop up in a background check when I’m looking for my first job in a couple of years. (Not that I feel like this is anything to be ashamed of or anything, but I do have friends who have gotten into trouble because of internet activities in relation to their medical practice, and I’d just like to minimize the chance that I’ll have to whack my head against that particular set of problems.)

That said, I do write fiction, I have published four short stories to date, and I’m continuing to try to keep writing in my life. I’m deeply flattered that you want to seek out my fiction; to be honest, you may have already read something I’ve written. I’m just not going to tell you what it is right now. πŸ˜€

If this is a deeply unfair and disappointing answer to you, I’m even more flattered, but I’m going to have to stick to my guns on this for now. The best I can do is recommend that you read as many new authors as possible; I’m in there somewhere, and even if you don’t stumble across MY stuff, you’ll find a LOT of really good stories out there.

Sometime in the future, when I’m a little more secure in my position in my career, I may feel a little more comfortable letting you know which sparsely-published, rank-amateur author I am. Until then, I hope you’ll be patient with my stonewalling, and I hope I can write enough for the blog to satisfy your desire to seek out my writing.

And your timing couldn’t be more perfect; I just submitted a short story for the first time since I started my clinical work. Last night. To the New Yorker. (Go big or go home, right?) πŸ˜€

So thank you so much for your message; it means a lot to me. Especially right now, when I’m re-discovering the unique flavors of stress that come with sending a bit of your soul out on a rejection-fishing expedition.

Thanks for reading, Tagsy, and thanks for writing!

Dr. G

Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dr. G,

    George Scithers, editor extradordinaire, often said, “We don’t reject people. We reject pieces of paper with writing on them.”

    It’s usually digital now, but the concept still applies. Congratulations on managing to finish and polish a story along with everything else you’re doing! I hope they accept it.

    • Wise words, indeed. Thanks, Jane!

      Dr. G

    • That’s good news – I got rejection letter number five yesterday. I’m collecting them now. πŸ™‚

  2. Holding my fingers crossed πŸ™‚

  3. Well, I wasn’t expecting a reply like that! Thanks for giving the time, despite your hectic workload slash general patient-related stress.

    I don’t mind the stonewalling at all, your reasoning is perfectly sound and I enjoy seeing your lengthy entries out of the blue. Best of luck for your submission! Critique is a gruesome yet wonderful necessity. Perhaps one day I’ll just suddenly see your wordpress have a slight title alteration adding a little ‘writer extraordinaire’ and a not-so-inconspicuous link to an amazon page. Take all the time you have to! And your everyday doctorly shenanigans are rather interesting, especially to someone like me whose studies are, to say the least, totally different.

    Best of luck once again, Doctor G! And thank you!

    • Hiya, Tagsy! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog! Thanks so much for your kind words and your support; like I said, you probably have no idea how much it means to me! (Or maybe you do.)

      Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks so much for writing!

      Dr G.

  4. Hi Doctor Grasshopper

    I’m hoping you can help me with a medical McGuffin for a post apocalyptic story I am writing.

    At the moment I am planning to have the protagonist sent to a ruined city to search for medicine needed to cure – or at least enable the continued survival of – an important member of their community.

    So, I need a disease that has a late onset, is treatable with long term application of medicine, and said medicine has to be one that could survive on an unrefridgerated shelf for say 20 years.

    Is such a thing possible?


    • How about something like hypothyroidism? It’s an auto-immune disease that can have really bad outcomes untreated, but can be treated chronically with thyroid replacement hormone, which can be stored between 68 and 77 degrees. There is some potency degradation with levothyroxine, but if this is a post-apocalyptic story, you can hand-wave about medical science overcoming the potency loss before the world went to pot.

      Alternatively, you could base a made-up disease on an autoimmune disease like hypothyroidism or lupus, and then you can make up a medication to any specifications you want!

      Does that work?

      • That’s great – thank you. Though I now realise I appear to be ripping off the McGuffin from monster island (in which it is aids medication being sought after the zombie apocalypse). On the other hand, it is at least less cliched that the usual hunt for gas, bullets or food that usually sends characters in such stories into danger…

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