Achieving a selflessness state through medicineSince releasing my novel titled Altamont Augie, so many people have asked many times what being a doctor and a fiction writer have in common colleagues and patients were quite shocked to the idea that the doctor they came to depend on for delivery of technologically health care services to patients suffering from kidney failure and other problems could manage to produce something like a novel. Just where did it come from and what does providing medical care have to do with novel writing? These are some of the questions that they seemed to be asking.

Practicing medicine versus fiction writing

Practicing medicine and fiction writing are two callings that are paired together and demand skills that are remarkably similar. The acts of having to perform these two activities that are seemingly disparate affect me in the same way exactly. After returning from a long weekend or vacation and starts taking rounds in dialysis clinic on Monday morning at 7.00 am, I get a restless feeling that I can’t really understand. Well, this kind of unease isn’t caused by anything- no professional calamity or personal crisis. This discomforting and mysterious anxiety predictably and reliably dissolves once I see my first patient, by asking them just how they are feeling. I realized that my anxiousness is a form of withdrawal symptom that arises from having to attend other people’s needs.

The world of medicine and empathy

Just like an addict needs a fix or an alcoholic need a drink, I am usually addicted to providing patient care good. In my novel, Westbrook, a drills instructor for Marine Corps advises young recruits that being selfless is being free to one’s self. Thanks to medicine, I am able to achieve a selflessness virtuous state through the process of empathy where I get to experience other people’s lives, transcended by my own selfishness. In addition to this, medicine makes it possible for me to experience lives of others through the technical skills I possess. I thus feed my selfless addition by saving the lives of others. Limning complex literary character isn’t possible without being that character even if it is just for a short while. Those neuronal connections which enable me to develop empathy with patients are the same ones that I use for creating novel characters.

When the characters seem real and are believable, they have their empathic connections stimulated and you will be profoundly affected and moved by the story participated in by the characters. This verisimilitude sense which is all important is what fiction depends on and once it has been achieved, it has a great potential of influencing other people’s lives. The illuminate the condition of humans instead of ministering to it just like medicine. As you can see, there is an undisputed connection between medicine and fiction writing.