James VanOosting is a novelist and essayist who lives in South Orange, New Jersey. He has published ten books and many articles, most recently in The American Scholar, Commonweal, and Eclectica. He taught at Fordham University and was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Seton Hall University.
Stories of pain make up a medical genre, their proper audience being clinical professionals. Stories of suffering, on the other hand, represent the emotional pain of pain, and their best audience is a sympathetic friend or family member. Physicians work to reduce pain; friends wish to reduce suffering.