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Stories Of Pain And Empathy

Saturday 29 August 2020


From South Australia's The Adelaide Review:


Kylie Maslen and Katerina Bryant
Kylie Maslen and Katerina Bryant.

Stories of pain and empathy

After a year of COVID-reshuffled publication dates, two Adelaide authors – Katerina Bryant and Adelaide Review writer Kylie Maslen – find themselves in the unusual position of both having debut books, which share their lived experiences with chronic illness, hitting shelves in September.

By Kylie Maslen
28 August 2020
Copyright © 2020 The Adelaide Review.

Katerina Bryant’s Hysteria is a memoir exploring her chronic mental illness – with seizures whose origins are unknown – through the ways women have historically been treated by the world of medicine. My own book, Show Me Where It Hurts, uses pop culture references and my own personal experiences to build a narrative of living with invisible illnesses, in my case primarily endometriosis and complex mental illness. With our shared date approaching, we sat down to discuss the ways our books, and lives, overlap.

“I wrote the book [as] I was living through the experience,” Bryant says of her motivation for writing such a highly personal book. “Because of the nature of my illness, I couldn’t leave the house to do much except for one shift a week that would cover my rent and bills. So I wrote to feel useful, because I was still living with the ableist idea that my worth was tied to my productivity. So, it came very quickly in that sense. I was writing it for myself, to kind of process what was happening, and it eventually became a book from that. How about you?”

I had two reasons for writing Show Me Where It Hurts, I tell Bryant. I wanted to write the book knowing how much I would have benefited from having something similar available to me however many years ago. I also had a desire to help the people around me and, in turn, the people around other people with invisible illness understand. I often struggle to articulate what’s happening, how I feel, and what is actually useful for people to do for me, and I’m really bad at pushing away help. If I could make readers understand, they could then help other people who similarly find it really hard to verbalise what they are dealing with.


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