Alex Butler, RN, has worked in the operating rooms of the MGH for more than 10 years – first as a technician and now as a nurse. When he was younger, though, he dreamed of becoming a writer. And while his career ultimately led him to nursing, he never let go of his passion for writing.

“I was originally an English major at UMass Amherst and pursued journalism for a bit,” says the Somerville resident. “My parents met while working at the MGH, so that’s where I went after a somewhat failed internship with Rolling Stone when I was 19.”

Now, Butler continues to write in his free time. He dabbles in several different forms of writing but particularly enjoys the sestina – a form of poetry with rules he describes as puzzle-like.

“I love doing crosswords and solving puzzles, so my poetry emulates that,” he said.

Recently, Butler has been using creative writing to express his feelings about the pandemic and the toll it has taken on health care workers.

“If it’s a really devastating day in the operating room, I find that writing is therapeutic. Even if it’s just keeping a journal, finding a form of writing that you’re comfortable with can be really nice,” he said. “Then, when you share it with people, they’re amazed by it!”

Butler’s work was featured in the McSweeny’s Internet Tendency June 2020 series, “Flattened by the Curve,” which featured the voices of doctors, nurses, health care workers and others on the frontlines of COVID-19. Click here to read his piece.

Click here to read more of Butler’s poetry.

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