This is an excerpt from a chapter in my second book in progress….gratefully published on the contributor blog of Minerva Rising in conjunction with their theme of “Mother”
This is an excerpt from a chapter in my second book in progress….gratefully published on the contributor blog of Minerva Rising in conjunction with their theme of “Mother”
A friend had an opportunity to read her writing aloud at our MFA residency. Well liked and outgoing, she isn’t at all shy and we were familiar with her story. There should have been no surprises; it should have felt like a safe environment. She read an excerpt from her journal about the challenges of raising a daughter with autism and her voice quavered. We worried she wouldn’t be able to continue. As she wiped her eyes, her face registered shock that this was affecting her so. She’s tough, this wasn’t a new story for her to tell, or even a particularly revealing one. But it was full of the gritty reality of living with a kid with challenges. It was a story she tried not to think about because she had no choice but to keep living it. The room pulsed with our need to support her.
She was thousands of miles away from her children who needed her, a home with broken pipes and a farm full of animals , while she chased her dream on a non-existent income. And yet she came to me the next day wondering what the hell was wrong with her. “I have to get through this. Reading didn’t used to bother me and I don’t understand why it does now.”
The obvious answer was that she was over tired and duh… her life is TOUGH. Besides, reading from a personal journal, no matter how well crafted, is a vulnerable experience. Though it wasn’t “profound”, her writing made us all see what it was like – a window into the challenges she faced – and it was powerful.
Isn’t that why we write? To be heard? To reach out so that others understand? Isn’t the best compliment to your writing that someone can relate enough to cry, or laugh or nod their head ? Isn’t there magic in the fact that even our own words can reach through our crusty exterior to reveal something new pure magic?
I often cry when I write. I see it as a gauge of how close I got to the vein. A little sniff here or there, the burning desire to get away from the words for a moment, show me that I’ve gotten close. That lump that forms in my throat, a tear I hastily brush off before anyone in the coffee shop notices, are the highway sign that says “YES. This is it. Truth at last.”
I don’t always cry but that doesn’t mean the story doesn’t affect me. The last six months I’ve been sick – ailment after ailment attacked my mouth and lungs. Eastern medicine would say my communication and heart chakras were ill. It is no wonder – I’ve been writing stories about abuse and my challenges as a mother that no one has ever heard. Stories I used to be deeply ashamed of, or dismissed outright. It was time to tell them for the good they will do in the world. They’ve lived in my body for so long that dislodging them has been physically detrimental, maybe even dangerous. The process has been akin to removing mercury fillings without proper attention to the toxicity. Though I have “been over it” for a long time, finally letting the words go – to let them become a story by themselves and apart from me, has been a painful process.
Maybe we react physically to our stories – through tears or pain- because we finally recognize ourselves through them. In giving our stories the weight of words, the space to be read aloud, to see the mirrored tears in someone’s eye, we allow our stories to be just that – a story. Not a definition of who we are. Maybe it is an opportunity to see what we have been through via the distance of the page. Our words are a window for people – including us – to see a truth not ordinarily exposed. Our words are powerful, they deserve honor and the emotions they bring up need to be acknowledged.
We write to help others find their place in the world, for our reader to feel connected. Sometimes we do this by opening our own veins – sharing the ever-replenishing life-blood of truth as we connect. In allowing our stories to become more than us we flush out the toxicity of holding something that is no longer needed. We share them because others still hold onto theirs.
I missed the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, because I was finishing up my last MFA graduate school residency. But I am still inspired – in the past two weeks, the weather has turned warmer, my bulbs are coming up and the roses have buds on them. Pretty soon I will be able to sit at my outdoor writing desk to work and I am so excited! In the meantime, as the plants are getting ready for spring, the stack of gardening books next to my work space and bedside has been growing…..
Timber Press (Portland,OR) has always been a publisher I unintentionally gravitate towards and imagine my delight when I was given a box of new titles to review! (One of the few perks of working as a bookseller!) I really loved these books and am passing them on to you – not because I got “paid’ to do it – but because I love them. Each title contains a link to buy directly from Timber Press, though I prefer keeping your local INDEPENDENT books store (like Elliot Bay Books, Powells or the bookstore I work at University Bookstore).
Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden
Thomas C. Cooper
Pub Date: Sep 19 2012
As a writer who often writes about gardening, I am always curious what captures other gardeners. Some seem to delight in color, or texture, other the biology or experimentation of it all. The Root of My Obsession is an exploration into the deep, often spiritual calling to spend time int he dirt that we all share. Within these essays are out hopes and fears, the dreams for new gardens and the worries that someone will see all we have neglected. It is a window into the heart of not only us as gardeners, but as people who deeply love the outdoors. A beautiful little book.
There is nothing gardeners like to do better in the cold indoor winter months than hunker down with a file of gardening books in front of the fire. The Layered Garden has stayed next to my chair all winter and I have found much to inspire me as I have browsed its pages. Full of gorgeous photographs and well written plating/botanical information, gardeners from across the US will find useful suggestions for creating the gorgeous color and texture effects off Brandywine Cottage. An absolute delight – even if I wasn’t shopping for a gardening book, this one would have landed in the basket.
Loved reading through Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest! Perfect introductory for new gardeners with plenty of good information for the more experienced. Layout is easy to use and interesting making this a perfect addition to a both the experienced and new gardeners library !
The Easy, Modern Way to Create Miniature Landscapes
Timber Press $19.95
Pub Date: September 2012
I will be honest: I am not into Bonsai. It seems fussy and high maintenance in my survival of the fittest life. But after reading through Keshiki Bonsai I have plans for my own piece of Zen gardening! The clean, modern layout of the book itself invites the reader in, varying font and detailed pictures capturing your interest. Clear instructions on how to accomplish the look – right down to the pot size and how to take a care of moss -makes it a good beginner book while features on artists and stylistic design ideas draw in the more experienced. Beautifully done – a great gift idea!
220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home
Timber Press $22.95
Pub Date: 2012
This beautiful book will provide house of happy armchair gardening before you ever get your hands dirty. Full of practical information on turning unexpected plant choices into gorgeous houseplants divided by season of interest. Delightful, easy going descriptions of each plant including descriptions of light needed and how they have fared in her own home read like mini-gardening essays. Beautiful photos and a “basics” section and clear instructions of “how to” round out the perfect inspiration for your indoor gardening.
Timber Press $19.95
Pub Date: January 2012
I love EVERYTHING about this book!
Aside from being completely satisfying to chicken fanatics like me, there is a wealth of gardening information here that any gardener would benefit from. definitely one to add to the gardening shelf!
Much, but not all, of the book is chicken specific. It is loaded with general information on breeds and more detailed chapters on diet and all things “free-range” (a term well-defined within its pages). While all topics are slanted towards raising chickens, as she moves into more garden design chapters (Bloom is an award-winning landscape designer) her suggestions easily apply to any Pacific Northwest gardener. From fencing to irrigation and mulch, her writing is both friendly and informative. she presents both pros and cons of a variety of choices. Bloom is opinionated – she specializes is sustainable, eco-friendly methods – but she convincingly educates the reader as to why she is right.
There is TONS of plant specific information throughout the book – especially in the sections in which she visits several Pacific Northwest chicken gardens. These gardens feature every type of chicken housing and garden design from simply practical to simply beautiful. (I am in awe of the poop free walkways in Kate Baldwin‘s GORGEOUS photographs!) Ideas for gardens both big and small are here – while there are one or two “farms” most of the gardens represented are city plots.
There is so much information here that I have found nowhere else that I have a hard time curbing my bouncing-around joy to maintain “professional perspective” to write this review. Suffice it to say that this is NOT a free book I received. Instead I flipped through it every day at the bookstore while pretending to work until I could buy a copy for myself!
****disclaimer: most of these books I was given for free with the intent I review them. Reviews have been posted to Timber Press (via NetGalley) for the use of other booksellers and have been displayed at University Bookstore -Mill Creek as Staff picks
This can be seen in its entirity in issue #41 of SUGAR MULE LITERARY MAGAZINE: WOMEN WRITING NATURE
Away from buildings and street noise, surrounded by lush evergreens is where I feel most at feel at peace. Only in the wilderness do I feel truly steady, my feet rooted in the ground. Over the years, the trails and dirt roads of the Cascade Mountains have witnessed events large and small in my life, the wilderness a steady companion and inspiring teacher.
I was 2 years old on my first hike. Strapped into a blue canvas backpack carried by my father to the top of Mount Pilchuck, it set in motion a love for the outdoors that I never grew out of. Later as a moody adolescent, I carried my own Jansport rucksack loaded with books up the same trail, just to sit on a rock and read, ignoring everything else. When I wasn’t hiking, I was often perched on the dropped tailgate of a station wagon at the end of a dirt logging road, eating cheese and crackers, enjoying the view. Despite the evils of clear cut logging, the lack of foliage exposed the texture and pitch of terrain normally concealed, and was beautiful in its own stark way.
Day hiking when the car is a mere ten miles or so away was simple. I didn’t have to prepare for much, my pack was light, there were people on the trail and help was relatively close. But backpacking was taking it up several notches. It never occurred to me to worry – I knew the important stuff, like how to read a map, what gear to bring, how to dig a hole for a toilet and squat without sitting in nettles. I had no idea that what you learn on the trail is not something you can prepare for.
The night of my first backpacking trip I woke to heavy silence, the tent filled with an ethereal glow. I had never heard silence so loud. Can silence wake you up or was something there? My hiking partner snored softly next to me, and I didn’t want to wake him like a scared city kid. But I had to pee. Ridiculously bad. But I couldn’t go out there – alone. What was waiting for me in the dark? My heartbeat sounded like a drum in the quiet tent, alerting all within hearing to my fear. Didn’t animals attack people when they sensed fear?
I frantically searched for my headlamp so that I could see something besides shadows. Where was the damn headlamp? Oh my god, why didn’t we have a can or something to pee in? Finding the headlamp underneath me, I slid it on unicorn-style, and flicked the switch to its brightest setting. A reassuring beam was now directed at whatever I looked at. I scrunched deeper into my bag, hoping the urge to pee would just go away, and closed my eyes.
With my eyes squeezed shut, my ears reached outward with supernatural ability. Trees creaked earily, rubbing against each other in the slight wind. I reminded myself that the faint sound of laughter and voices was really the nearby stream. Or, wait! Was someone there? I held my breath. The sound of a twig falling softly onto the nylon rain fly was magnified as if a giant night creature just perched above my head. My eyes flew open, my bladder clenching. The headlight beam careened crazily off the ceiling and walls as I bolted upright, head whipping around right and left. I couldn’t ignore it, I really had to go. Fumbling for my glasses, I unzipped my cocoon of warmth and safety and braced myself for a quick trip into the bushes. Unzipping the doorway, I crawled into the night and was birthed into starlight.
Still on my knees on the packed earth, everything else was forgotten as I gazed upwards. Clusters of stars were so dense that their outlines merged with one another made entire clouds that lit the sky with brightness. The empty night had become full while I was sleeping. Darkness was an illusion – something that lived in the imagination of someone who lived in the city.
Switching off the unnecessary headlamp, I marveled at how much I could see. Of course I knew the infinite universe lay out there, just beyond the invisibility cloak of daylight, but to see it revealed against this blue-velvet backdrop was astounding. There was nothing limited here, except my own ability to perceive. As I looked up into the endless space, I felt so small. But there was a strange comfort in that. Nothing in that vastness knew I was there; I was a piece of a larger puzzle – not the whole puzzle as I so often believed in my busy life. My problems were relatively unimportant in the larger world, and maybe they should be in mine. There was nothing to fear in the unknown, except how I let that fear cause me discomfort. My heart stilled. I stood up stiffly to complete the task that sent me into the ignited night. I was no longer afraid….
(This is an excerpt from my very first short story which was published by Minerva Rising Literary Journal for their Winter 2013 edition.)
The first snowflakes drifted lazily. Tentatively. Moments passed between them, as if they were deciding which direction to go – or if they needed to fall at all. Then, with a sudden shift in the wind, they grew in size and numbers, crashing against each other with violent ferocity. A moment later, another shift and they slowed, resuming their lazy fall like feathers, lacking will once again.
Indecisiveness was something she could understand.
There was something different about this storm. An urgency – a desperation that it needed to matter – to be taken seriously and not pass unnoticed. Its towering masses of roiling grey had been piling against the hills for days, the hum of something about to happen hanging in the air.
The landscape was being reinvented before her eyes. Dirty prairie grass, still matted from the last storm, suddenly glittered gold against the white snow. The rusted places on the metal barn roof now blended with the grey sky. Midwinter’s barren ugliness was becoming sensual instead of filled with dull color and sharp edges.
The woman sighed, momentarily immobilized by the beginnings of change.
The snow fell with determination now, blanketing the ground and fighting against wind that whipped it back into the air. Leaning forward, her breath steamed the windowpane as she watched her boundaries transform. The world beyond the sagging barbed wire fence opened to her imagination.
The silence of heavy snowfall reached through the walls of the old farmhouse, settling on her heart, covering the jagged wounds of her weary story. She shrugged her shoulder against the memories and the tear that rolled over the yellowing bruise on her cheekbone.
The oppressive clay-dirt solidity she knew with such unflinching harshness was changing. Details erased, only the softened outline of what was important to know remained. The burrs that latched on to her as she moved throughout her day were now impotent and cowering. Weighted and drooping, bare limbs allowed passage where none had been before. Everything was softened, beckoning. The old world was distorted and enlightened. This storm called her into its depths instead of repelling her with its challenges…
Three hours into my second day of skiing I already needed a break. It was a powder day, but here in the Pacific Northwest “powder” is still heavy, requiring effort to get back up if you go down. I had already required several extractions that morning: double ejection face-plants necessitating climbing uphill to search for buried skis. Invisible bushes hid under the light snow that grabbed hold of my ski, pulling it into the deep with me attached – and pretzel twisted. I was exhausted and headed to the lodge for a snack.
Sitting in the lodge alone while Neil skied a few runs without me, I was enthralled by a group of girls that stopped to chat next to my table. They were everything I’d once wanted to be. Athletic, beautiful,carefree, they had all the gear that implied they knew what they were doing. Avalanche transceivers strapped to their chests, they carried backpacks filled with shovels, probes and other gear for backcountry safety. They were talking animatedly about the pure lines they’d skied in the backcountry and I knew they had the latest, fattest skis waiting for them outside. I was consumed with envy. 6 years ago I’d dreamed of becoming a backcountry diva, complete with helicopter trips and a place on ski patrol. I’d imagined skiing with grace and style, easily hiking to the best lines, never fearing an entrance, hucking (small) cliffs to the cheers of friends with no worries about injuries. I was going to be full of effortless strength and bubbling enthusiasm. But here I sat, exhausted.
It didn’t matter that they were twenty years younger than I. Or that they had, in all likelihood even at their young age already been skiing for more years than I had. That they had not had children, knee and shoulder surgeries, or cancer didn’t change the tightening in my gut, the deep sigh that rose from my core. All I could see was what I would never be – the youth and opportunity that had slipped away from me.
Cancer treatments left me with nerve damage that eventually blossomed into fibromyalgia – full blown pain that makes it hard to walk some days much less feeling inspired to go running like I used to or enthusiastically seek out tight tree lines. I lost reckless abandon in the face of not knowing how my body would respond to what I wanted to do. Even feeling good, I still have to judge if the pain I might be in the next day is worth the activity level. I don’t recover well, I don’t have endurance. The price of my relative health was the enthusiastic, competitive person I was. Already having fought for my life, I’ve since lost the thrill of riding the edge of danger, the desire to push myself to see how far I could physically go. Knowing what constant pain is like, I shy away from the possibility of adding more. Most of the time, I am really okay with not working as hard, not trying to prove anything to myself or anyone else. But,I’d be lying to say there are days of regret.
A few ski days later, I rode the chair alone with some old ladies who had come up on the ski bus. I listened to them talk about starting at age fifty and skiing into their 80′s; how they thought these new skis were harder than their old straight skis. They admitted they didn’t ski hard, they didn’t take chances, they were afraid of falling and getting hurt. But there they were, sharing the chair with me, brilliant blue sky overhead; their love of the snow, the smell of the pitch in the trees and that thrill of turning skis down the slope every bit equal to mine. I wondered what they thought about me, my fat skis and apparent youth in my bright-colored outfit. Did they regret what they could no longer do?
Disembarking the chair, I skied the run with attention to style and technique, delighting in the scratchy swoosh of the icy snow, the vvoot, vvoot sound of corduroy under my newly waxed skis. On groomers, I ski faster than most people; the predictability of the terrain allows me to “shop” my turns, the long sight lines increase my confidence. It is easier for my to stay balanced, to keep my mind where it ought to be instead of worrying about if I can do it. Slower, quick turns are just as fun as long swooping speed turns, and I can work on technique instead of puzzling out how to be safe. I can feel my strength there and I love every second.
I rode the next chair with a ski bro’. Sun Valley tan, too long shaggy hair, aviator sunglasses instead of goggles, all the right gear including the backpack brimming with backcountry equipment. I waited for the conversation to begin as the chair headed up the hill, knowing the ‘bro banter was about to start. “Sweet day, huh? I have had some epic lines today, how ’bout you?” He appeared to be all I didn’t want to be – probably a great skier, but a store-bought attitude, cultivated to sound younger, hipper, and more stoned than he probably was. As the chair lifted over the rise, I made appreciative sounds to his batter, when he switched gears abruptly, pointing uphill. “You know, I almost died up there.” He only partly had my attention – up there was in the cliffs was exactly where I would have expected him to claim to be. Besides, claims of ”almost died” was part of bro show. “Yeah?” I replied without much enthusiasm.
“Back in the days when I was on ski patrol. I was up there trying to do a rescue and I fell. Shattered my leg. They were going to amputate. I said no way, man. They said it would never be any use to me. I said I would hold it together with duct tape and drag it around behind me until I could figure it out. I was on crutches for three years. But look at me now! Doing what I love. Every day I can get up here, man, it awesome. Another good day to be alive!” He beamed. Not a sheepishly affected ‘bro smile, but a full on childish grin. He wasn’t skiing the way he used to, I am sure. And I know enough about injury and recovery to know he is familiar with pain and the heart-wrenching loss of what used to come easy. But his enthusiasm was genuine, not affected,and he was right – any time on the mountain is good time.
When Neil joined me for a run, we headed off to terrain I simply wasn’t feeling. Hard, volkswagon-sized moguls wanted to direct my turns, the steep pitch causing images to flash before my eyes of racing my ejected gear to the bottom head first. I was side-slipping and hip-checking away when Neil gently suggested I cross over to terrain I liked better. Years ago, this would have enraged me. How dare him insinuate I couldn’t do it! This was exactly where I wanted to be – I wanted to be the backcountry girl – I had to be able to ski anything ! All skills dropped, I would have continued making my way clumsily downhill, with him skiing slowly behind to pick up the pieces. After all – I wanted to be those girls! They could do this and I could too!
But today, I looked at the smooth expanse of steep and fast groomer terrain just a trail away. This run wasn’t my thing today – maybe another day, but not now. I scooted off to find what I would enjoy most instead of fighting my way through what I used to want.
Becoming Amazon explores the multitude of ways in which we grow stronger and truer to our authentic selves. We do not wake up one day as warriors. Instead, it is an ongoing process that takes attention and work. The warriors’ journey is often as equally full of back-sliding as success. It asks only that we pay attention and learn, our attention to growth and service to others.
The stories here are all autobiographical – essays, excerpts from my memoir and works of fiction that draw on emotions that I have felt. My writing is an act of cheer-leading and connection. More than anything, I want to dispel the myth that we are alone in this world. I hope my readers gain a better understanding of the challenges we face on a path to a more authentic, rewarding life. In putting words to often difficult emotions and situations, I seek to be a voice for those who have lost theirs. I want to create compassion that will allow for personal and global change.
I also love writing about the natural world and how we are changed by our experiences in it. Nature has a unique ability to shift our perspective, allowing us to truly see. All healing begins with imagining what it possible instead of getting lost in the challenges. Our time playing outdoors, exploring and challenging ourselves settles us into our true place in the larger world and allows us to become more of who we really are. Whether in the city observing crows or on extended trips to remote wild-lands, nature grounds us and has the capacity to create deep change in us.
I have extensive public speaking experience and am a frequent MC or keynote speaker for fundraising, business and community groups both locally and nationally. I speak on a variety of inspirational/motivational and cancer survivorship topics to groups small and large. I teach classes on memoir writing, public speaking and Unlocking Your Creative Self.
As a MFA student at Goddard, I have recently completed a draft of a memoir . I am also working on a collection of personal essays and another of short fiction.
My essays, fiction and nonfiction have been published in a variety of webzines and print journals such as: How We Became Breast Cancer Thrivers, Breast Cancer Wellness, various American Cancer Society publications, The Pitkin Review, Sugar Mule and Minerva Rising.
The most important job I have is being mom to my fabulous adult kids Megan and Eric, both of whom are artists. I write because I can’t not write. When I have time for other things, I also ski, golf,backpack, garden and work to finish my Masters degree. And that isn’t counting my day job. In the past I’ve worked as a teacher, counselor, book seller, ski sales person, manager of a shop full of young men and organic livestock farmer. I am an active local and national trainer, coordinator and volunteer with The American Cancer Society Reach To Recovery program. When the weather nice, I ride a vintage Bajaj Cheetak scooter around town. I live with my boyfriend Neil and our four chickens in the Seattle area.
Find me at Becoming Amazon on Facebook or contact me below!
(This post is a copy of a correspondence between a friend and I about living with long-term illness/pain)
“Do you think things happen for a reason?
Or are we just creatures, vulnerable to the world?”
I have been thinking deeply about this question you sent me.
I know you didn’t mean for me to get philosophical – it was an agonized question in an agonizing time for you. But, you see, it reached me on the morning of my 4th anniversary of mastectomy surgery – my only shot at surviving the cancer that was eating at me. It is a question I have often had, coming up with different answers over time. I might even change my mind about my answer as I write! But I wanted to give it the attention it deserves, because it is important – important to our health as survivors.
I do not think that everything happens for a reason.
I think shit happens, frequently and unfortunately.
Some things do happen for a reason and if we are honest with ourselves we can often follow the nasty path backwards to its origin. It is not a pleasant thing and sometime it is completely unnecessary.
What I think is this: What matters is what you do afterwards.
Maybe, in a convoluted way, that is saying that things happen for a reason: to force us into action or growth. However, I cannot live my life believing that there is a Divine Puppeteer that just is out their screwing with me to see what I will do or if I am smart enough to get the hint.
Yes, we are creatures vulnerable to the world. I believe that all creatures are. Our arrogance is in thinking we are anything but that. And our growth lies in learning to accept it.
The illness you are suffering from sucks. I know that some days you face it with courage and other days you are buried in pain. I am familiar with these things too. I know what it is like to rack your brain for what you did wrong and to try to figure out what to do right to fix it. I just don’t think it is that simple not matter how much I would like it to be.
But, I don’t think we were “meant” to suffer in order to achieve some level of evolution – physical or spiritual. I think shit happens.
I would love to have someone tell me that the naturally occurring steroid I was the year taking prior to cancer was what caused it. It would feel good to have someone – even myself – to be angry with for being vain enough to want that extra boost in my athletic performance and body image. It would be simple to be regretful – tragic too – but at least I would understand. To be able to blame myself for an act that triggered a lifetime of debilitating pain would be something. But I don’t have that answer any more than you have yours. Cancer just was, the resulting side effects of treatment still are. Your pain just is.
So now what?
When each moment becomes precious, each relationship, job or errand weighed against the energy it gives you or robs you of, you begin to put yourself first. This is something we are not taught to do – and as a mom, it is sometimes impossible to do. But the things that have happened to us have so debilitated our functioning that our bodies are demanding our complete attention. Painful as it may be, maybe this is not such a bad thing. I believe that as we learn to hear the message, to be compassionate and gentle with ourselves, acting out of an understanding of our sacredness, our bodies will be less angry, less reactionary, less likely to seek pain as their response.
Unfortunately, we live in the real world and this is not always – and sometimes not even remotely- possible. So we hurt. We seek solutions and reasons. We are angry and sad and full of resignation. Sometimes we manage gratitude. We must make more time for ourselves somehow. I struggle here too.
What do I know now that I did not know before cancer? Before pain? That is what I really focus on – not the why of it, but what am I learning:
I am valuable and my life has worth.
I have a voice that deserves to be heard
I am stronger than I ever imagined
I am vulnerable in some areas and crusted over in others and working to even that out
My dreams require action and I am worth every effort towards them
And on that note, I am going to go back to working on my school work. Getting my Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is something I would not have ever done before cancer. Ironically, since I made the commitment to follow my dream and write, nearly everything I have ever submitted has gotten published.
Does this mean that cancer happened so that I would write?
I don’t think so. But, without a doubt, it was having cancer that made me realize that I was worth going to grad school and giving writing a try. I know you have those things too. And when you forget gratitude and being nice to yourself and are rolling in pain and sorrow, know that I hear you and I am on your side.
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