As a disabled writer with spinal damage that has lead to scoliosis, nerve death, missing discs, sciatic pain and arthritis I have begun to explore the idea of the body in my writing. Sometimes you don’t realise that something is underpinning your work until you step back and evaluate it. We have had a body problem in our society for longer than we wish to even acknowledge. The body is linked with the divine and some bodies are more divine than others depending on fashions of the time.
I wonder why there is a deep seated disgust around disability, I consider whether this has to do with the idea of the divine. If the body was created in God’s image, then God has a disability and that could be seen as blasphemous, as often a disability is linked with weakness, a failing of the body and mind. I know this borders on ableism. It doesn’t make me feel comfortable to write this as a disabled writer but I need to explore this in my work, to ask whether the body makes the human, the human makes the body, the body makes us divine, divinity as perfection. In some cultures, including our own at one time, it was the failing of the soul to be born imperfect. Now genetics may breed all that out, with DNA coding and editing. Will we write out disability and therefore select the fashionable divine? Will there still be imperfections among the perfect? What is perfection in a society of people who have become Gods? There’s something of the eugenicist in that answer. Consider your body, consider what is divine and how it links to perfection and you will find that you are not so far from the same worries I have. We are failing in our humanity in pursuit of the divine. God has nothing to do with this. It is our own failing. That’s why I am writing about it. Take away the body and what do we have left?