Storytelling in medicine

Creativity in: non fiction with James Maskalyk

Let’s face it, your real life is too strange for fiction.

And why go looking for the stories, when they come right to you?

During this session, we’ll explore the tension between telling them, and taking them, how to keep their beauty, or their hilarity, without betraying confidence.

Bring your best story, and your worst, and we’ll find their true heart.

One of the most common questions that gets asked by fellow clinicians, is what it takes to be a writer.

Well, if you’re an ER doctor, medic, or nurse, you’ve already checked the “weirdo” box. Pivotal.

You can also add a position at the interface between the personal and the general as the right one for perspective.

Everyone wants to know what you’ve seen, what happened next, and what matters most.

The real answer, though, I stole from Annie Dillard: “Do you like sentences?” I mean, really REALLY like them?

Enough to spend even more time alone, in dark basements, puzzling over whether to remove a “that” or keep it?

Well, then you might have what it takes.

I’ll tell you how I got started, the mistakes I’ve made, and what principles have stayed alive for me, through two books.

We’ll talk about how to structure both your writing day, an argument, the joy when you turn in your finished work, years in the making, and the delight to receive it back, a few days later with the the advice: “you can do better”.

The Podcast

The slides

James Maskalyk

James [@jamesmaskalyk] is a physician and author, most recently of “Life on the Ground Floor”, a memoir about teaching emergency medicine in Canada and Ethiopia, which won his countries largest non-fiction literary prize.

He practices at St. Michael’s, Toronto’s inner-city hospital, and is partnered with Addis Ababa University to train Ethiopia’s first emergency physicians.He is a member of Medecins Sans Frontieres, for whom he has worked as both physician and journalist, and practices and teaches mindfulness at the Consciousness Explorers Club in Toronto.

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Dr Oliver Flower LITFL Author BW

Oliver Flower, staff specialist in Intensive Care Medicine at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney | NeuroResus |

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