Thursday, December 31, 2009

Therapy or Can of Worms?

Was it last month that I threatened to write a book? I began by trying to organize and categorize essays I've already written. This did not go well, since I quickly realized I had material for many books, not just one. Perhaps when I am old and grey and nodding by the fire I will dictate my memoir, Strange Journeys, to my grandchildren. This will include the different phases of my life that seem so disparate but may someday reveal a linear dimension. For now, I will write about leukemia. God, I hate that word.

Now that I've been a guinea pig for nearly four years, I thought it time to record my journey through Cancerland so that others--current and future patients, caregivers, family and friends--can get an idea of the day-to-day challenges of the disease and its treatment. Not that all paths will follow mine, but thematically there will be much overlap. I'm hoping this will be a helpful guide to others walking in these crappy shoes.

Yesterday, I finally started writing the first chapters. Some of it I had already been written so I spent a lot of time weaving the new and the old together. I find this much more difficult than writing from scratch but since memory is fickle, it's beneficial to have journals and notes and writing exercises and blog posts to refer to and borrow from.

Writing about my illness is cathartic in many ways. This is what happened. This is how I coped. This is how I fought back. All very courageous and uplifting. The downside is having to relive the darker memories and try to make sense of them. Anxiety sneaks up from behind and screams: Boo! There are drugs for that.

I will be in need of a good editor, not to mention a publisher, but for now I'm going to fasten my seat belt, let the words flow and see where they take me.


Jamie said...

Can't wait to read it, PJ.

Ronni Gordon said...

Good luck! You certainly are a great, descriptive writer.

I've gone the writing route too. It's hard. The catharsis and the feeling of having written something worthwhile are on the "pro" side; the down side is having to relive the crummy stuff.

Anonymous said...

Just go for it. I know it will be good.Happy New year.May yours be healthy. Dori

Anonymous said...

Let the words fly....Happy New Year!
Cheers, MaryBeth and Brian

Ann said...

I can't wait to read it. Remember, we'll all be here holding your hand when you have to write about the dark moments.

Paula said...

In need of a good editor, ask Jamie.
She'll throw and toss your words and make them into a salad to be devoured by all who've entered the leukemia world.

Anonymous said...

Happy 2010, PJ!

Your book will be good. And so will be the ones to follow. Can I have a subscription?

Keep well,

Jim said...

Two requests, PJ. I'd like an autographed copy of your book and to see Word in the Woods rekindled soon.

And thanks for the nice words about the photos on my blog. We had the best time.


Daria said...

That is really exciting ... all best to you.