My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Why I Literally Can't Even (Personal Update)

Most of you out there are probably wishing cancer would go fuck itself because of recent celebrity news.

I have a slightly more personal reason for my antagonism and the intensity of my desire for auto-fornicaton.

Allow me to drop my superhero realism for just a moment, for just one post, and tell you why you haven't seen any updates this week (and been a bit flakey for the last three and kind of slow on the uptake since November).  Why I'd been helping my partner more and more with child care, housekeeping, and shopping. And why even though I hope to kick things back up by Monday, we may still have quite a bit of jazz hands going on.

You know this woman as Sonic Gal. You know her as The Brain. But as those of you who've gone rooting around with your decoder rings have undoubtedly put together, she is also Supportive Girlfriend and she has a two year old son who moonlights here at Writing About Writing as The Contrarian. She is also the family member of whom I spoke in past entries when I mentioned that health problems meant that I might have to blog a little less and take care of my family a little more.

On Friday, we found out what was causing the strange constellation of symptoms that we've been dealing with lately. The shortness of breath, the chest pains, the fatigue. The anemia that blood transfusions didn't seem to help.

On a follow up to a routine exam a week ago today, the raised bump caused alarm. She has been in the hospital ever since undergoing one test after another.

Lymphoma. Stage 2.  (I won't bore you with the exact sub type.)

In the cancer world, it's not the best news you can get (I sure would have preferred prostate, stage one–plus think of all the awesome jokes I could have made!), but it's far far far from the worst. Lymphoma responds well to chemotherapy. Surgery and radiation usually aren't even needed. And it's miles from her pancreas. Still, I'm trying really hard not to translate that 70% prognosis into a memory of every time I needed to roll a 15 or better to hit an orc in Dungeons and Dragons and ended collecting type B treasure within minutes.

So that's what's going on. That's why there haven't been any posts this week–not even some self flagellating article about how hard it is to write write when life hits but you have to keep doing it anyway. That's why you might have heard a scream from the relative direction of Oakland that sounded a bit like "Fuck cancer!" That's why the weeks of chemo might have to continue our current tradition of a high ratio of jazz hands. That's why a lot of the personal updates for the next few weeks might involve a lot of shitty stories about emotional inventories and cope tanks or some crap like that.

And most of all that's why I'm going to keep telling you motherfuckers not to waste a damned day waiting for your lives to be perfect enough to go write. Or horseback ride. Or sculpt wavy kelp kartoshes. Or design rainbow Chia pet menageries.  Or follow your damned bliss however it calls to you.

If it is writing, get out there today, find a second hand card table, set it up in the laundry room next to the nasty ass cat box, wake up 30 minutes early every morning when no creature of sound mind stirs, sit down with your pencil and paper because you aren't going to wait for when you can afford to buy a computer, and and fucking write.  Because you might be a thirty-four year old mother of a two year old when life decides to give you it's biggest lesson yet on how the universe and existence are many, many things (some of which are even sublime and breathtaking), but fair is not on the list. And that moment where it is all going to go pear shaped is coming faster than you think.

But let's not quite end this post RIGHT there.

I didn't pick superheroes as my running metaphor for the people closest to me because they're lazy and have crippling ennui. There's a softball sized clump of cells pressing up against her heart and lungs that is about have its free ride rudely interrupted by being treated like the villain in a Marvel movie by of one fucking hell of a fighter. (Believe me; I fight with her regularly.)

Today they put a hole in her (called a port) so that she could pour toxic chemicals straight into her body that will murder the part of her that is holding her back.

And if that's not badass superhero shit, I don't know what is.

Wish us luck. We didn't plan to shift the focus to how to write while being a support to a loved one, but it seems the universe has other plans, and the next chapter of Writing About Writing has already begun.


  1. Wishing you luck and sending good vibes and jazz hands your way!

  2. Do you need a supply of guest blogger articles? I could write some for you if that would help.

    1. I'm hoping to get a sliver of time again soon, but I would love some guest blogs to be able to put up. And you would be awesome in particular.

  3. Yes, Chris, it is badass superhero shit. And you can tell SG she's a superhero in my book, too. I don't know if that will mean a hill of beans or not. But she is, whether she believes it or not at the moment.

    The universe always has other plans. The only thing we can do sometimes is scream "Plot twist!" and keep moving. Yes, and keep writing. . . always keep writing. There are stories to be told. . . and some of them may even be about superheroes with holes.

  4. I don't know what to say that others haven't already said, but I'm sorry. I've been dealing with illness in my family (not cancer) for the past couple of years, and I understand how much illness both takes from the time and energy required to write and yet drives you to hold to things beyond the daily "tyranny of the urgent." In solidarity with you and Sonic Gal.

  5. All I can do is send good juju to Sonic Gal. It's worked in the past, and seems to have had a 98% success rate. On mere mortals. (I suspect B is more than a mere mortal, for all she denies it, but it worked on her, too. And she had, like, DIED in surgery.)

    From one superhero to another... "Kick that fucker's ass, Sonic Gal! Dirtbags like that don't deserve mercy."

    And I am proceeding anon with your advice to LIVE TODAY, and get things done that I want to do. Today, I am editing a story I wrote last year. Thankfully, I buy tissues in bulk (it has SO many feels).

  6. So Chris, It really doesn't feel like an opportune time for introductions judging from the timbre of the post above but let me say this. I just kind of came across your blog site, read your short rather self-effacing autobiography and then, kind of arbitrarily opened up this particular post.

    Firstly I wish the best for Sonic Girl. Based on what I've just read I do believe that this cancer that was foolish enough to mess with the wrong person will be dispatched in short order and terminated with, as they say, extreme prejudice.

    With regards to yourself, your manner and presentation seems to have struck a chord with me. I would love to consider myself a writer but until I write I will remain a poser. I think you made me a lot more comfortable with the fact that any writing is better than no writing and the best way to become a good writer is to get comfortable with the fact that you're probably going to be a really bad writer first.but that's OK. For that I am grateful.

    I'm looking forward to catching up on your previous posts and anticipating what comes next. Good luck to you and your partner. I wish for you the best.

    1. Thank you. :) I'm glad you feel better about writing. It's the only way to get better. :)