Kim Rickcord was officially recognised as a disease in 1984. Symptoms include urges, spasms and blackouts. Treatments include a cold shower, a stiff drink, and a lifetime of expensive psychiatric evaluation.
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I suffered from insomnia as a child. I still do. When I was little, I had a huge selection of audiobooks. At bedtime, my mother would pick one, click it in the tape deck and flick the light out.
I would cocoon myself in the blanket against the malevolent night, reach a careful finger out into the black and press play. Lying there, I'd listen to the dead space of the tape as it turned
around, its circular ticks tocking through time, my ears full with the audible fuzz of recorded silence. And then a voice.
I listened to the usual things: Lewis Carroll, Tolkien, Alan Garner. I am still able to repeat sections of these, learned via repetition each night. Those types of strange stories were the perfect bridge to traverse that foggy, unmapped landscape at the edge of dreams.
Paper Cuts was a letter that had already been written in my mind some years ago and deposited in an envelope somewhere in a sorting office at the back of it.
I have suffered with severe ME/CFS since I was twenty-two, and it left me so ill that there were times over the years when I couldn't move, speak, or even write my own name. To distract myself from pain and nausea while I was trapped inside my body, I used to tell myself stories. Paper Cuts was one of those many stories. I had grown up in love with short fiction, especially horror and sci-fi. I was that cliché of a lonely only child: a bedroom recluse who wrote and drew. The idea that writing would be waiting for me again was a light at the end of the tunnel, keeping me going after I fell ill. I dragged myself back to a point where I was able to start doing small amounts again, and when I did, I wrote Paper Cuts a few days before the Twisted50 deadline, editing it until the last minute.