A Writer’s Road: A Great Teacher is a Gift

That's me lying on the floor in 1979, playing everyone who died in The Aeneid. I was the TA for my thesis advisor's course on epic poetry in translation. (That befuddled person on the right went on to become my husband.) On the left, is Professor Kenneth Reckford, who...

A Writer’s Road: Are We Done Yet?

Cancer comes with its own vocabulary. We've already learned about clear margins, PETscans, stomas, ports, intraoperational lasers. The latest addition to the list is scanxiety - the anxiety one feels as she/he goes into one of a long series of post-diagnosis CT scans...

A Writer’s Road: Wearing Jeans

I started to wear my jeans again. For the past six months, due to the nature and location of my tumor, I have only been able to wear sweatpants and trousers with tie strings. But this week, I ventured into my closet, took out my most worn jeans, and cautiously put one...

A Writer’s Road: Plan and Wait

It's hurricane season. We've recently watched a new tragic storm hit Haiti. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of that small island, especially now as I await a potential big storm to hit my own island home. Thirty years ago this weekend, my island was...

A Writer’s Road: Waiting, Again

This will be my last post for a while. Next week I head back to the hospital for what will be my second, and presumably last operation of this portion of my cancer journey. The goal is to reconnect the bits that needed disconnecting and to get my own personal plumbing...

A Writer’s Road: Trust

It is a common truism these days that your body is wise. Trust your body. It knows what to do. I have heard that a lot over the past few months. Hell, I've said it a lot myself. And I do believe it to be true. Your body is a miraculous organ that often knows how to...

A Writer’s Road: Fear

I had an unexpected and difficult week with a setback which, while not life threatening at all, has really stopped me cold. I was doing so well – exercising, working, socializing, eating, drinking, basically living my life as myself. And then... I'm happy to say...

A Writer’s Road: Friends in Unlikely Places

My friend came to visit the other day. She brought a variety of baked goods and her own latte. When I saw her, we hugged for the first time - not the first time since the pandemic, but for the first time ever. This was the first hug we could actually physically do...

A Writer’s Road: Say What?

Listen to your body. Everybody tells me that and, to be honest, I've said it to everyone, too. It is indeed important to listen to your body, and not only when you are recovering from surgery or undergoing treatment. If I hadn't listened to my body back in January, we...

A Writer’s Road: Forward Motion on Father’s Day

I’m writing this on Father’s Day and am, of course, thinking about my own father who really was my greatest fan. From the time I could talk, he always believed what I said (even when he knew I was lying), always knew I could do whatever I set out to do (even when I...

A Writer’s Road: Patience Works

They say 6 -weeks is the magic time for recovery. It seems to be holding true for me. I am now 6-weeks post surgery and this past week has seen a dramatic change in how I feel and what I can do, so while some of these essays have been difficult to post, this one is...

A Writer’s Road: Gauging Progress

This week saw the beginning steps towards my second surgery. If anything should be a sign of progress for me, it's that. Or so I would have thought. But instead of rejoicing at this new clarity around the next big date in my cancer journey, I became wobbly. Remember...

A Writer’s Road: Cancer and Perceptions of Time

We all know the old joke: What is it about time? It flies. Every day we experience this difference in perspective between the reality of time's speed, and our own personal perception of it. There are many theories about this, but theory seems unimportant when you are...

A Writer’s Road: Dealing with Good News

This is a difficult post to write. Earlier this week I met with my surgeons to discuss the final pathology reports, of all which came back clear. The result of the surgery was as good as anyone could have hoped. My doctors are justifiably proud of themselves, and for...

A Writer’s Road: Cancerous Speed Bumps

The road is never straight. I have now been home from the hospital for over a week, and I am definitely stronger. I can take a shower all by myself! I can dress myself and carry my cereal bowl from the table to the dishwasher. I can write this blog post. The Visiting...

A Writer’s Road: To Know Your Cancer

It's now ten days since my surgery, and the fact that I am here writing this is a very good sign. I never doubted I would be able to do it. But it all seems all the more miraculous to me, now that I am on the other side and realizing what I knew I was getting into,...

A Writer’s Road: The Waiting Game

They say patience is a virtue. Maybe, but it certainly makes life easier if you have it. Alas, most of us don't, especially when we are facing something frightening, seemingly random, and threatening, like cancer. I have had to think a lot about the waiting process...

A Writer’s Road: Cancer Conversations

Cancer is not easy to talk about. Some cancer patients decide to keep their cancer journey to themselves, discussing it with only those who must absolutely know. I have taken a different road. With my first utterance to my husband of the sentence I have cancer, I knew...

A Writer’s Road: My Body is Me

I'll start with the update. The news is good, though complicated. All the tests indicated that the only cancer is that one nasty group of cells and nothing else, anywhere else. That is really, actually, all the news that matters. It means that we can go for a surgical...

A Writer’s Road: From CoVid to Cancer

Last week I had my second vaccine dose. For me, the end of the CoVid nightmare is now in sight. Throughout this past year, I have written about my reactions to the pandemic here and here – the first 100 days, and then the second 100 days. As the vaccines became more...

A Writer’s Road: The Optimism Equation

Michael J. Fox, photo courtesy of www.movieguide.org I recently sat in on a Zoom interview with Michael J. Fox. He was talking about his new book, No Time Like the Future. He was great. He is great. He’s hard not to love, and although I’ve watched all his films and tv...

A Writer’s Road: Dropping the Ball

A short while ago, I wrote about the Work-Work balance here. But one element of that idea which I didn't address then is the persistent fear of dropping the ball. Those of us who meditate know that the so-called monkey chatter of our brains is constant - at least it...

A Writer’s Road: When to Tell Your Story

A new question unexpectedly popped into my head recently. When is the right time to tell my next story? Initially, I thought that I should wait to tell it, either via a new novel or a play, because we are living in a world where, finally, stories are being told which...

A Writer’s Road: Why Mars?

photo courtesy of nbclosangeles.com On February 18, 2021, NASA landed the rover Perseverance on the surface of Mars. Since the beginning of the space program, the question Why? has often been asked. Why spend so much money and time on these programs? And now, when our...

A Writer’s Road: Feedback

All writer's need feedback on their work. We all need trusted readers, people whose acumen we trust, who know the genre that we write in, and who understand our own motivations as writers. Certainly, whenever I write a novel, I use the 3 trusted readers rule. When I...

A Writer’s Road: The Work-Work Balance

I spend most of my working hours running the non-profit that I started called Writing Through. I love the work and I think that it is the greatest gift I can give to the world (other than my wonderful children, of course). But I also love writing - poems, novels,...

A Writer’s Road: Missing Cambodia

I have realized that this is the first winter in a decade that I'm not traveling to Cambodia. As I sit in my office looking out at the snow, the cold underlines my sense of loss at not seeing my old friends and students, not seeing the browns and greens of the...

Why Poetry?

Seamus Heaney Amanda Gorman Inauguration Day was an extraordinary day of change and hope in the United States. It was a day filled with emotions, dreams and words......many, many words, and so many of them arrived as poetry. Within minutes of Amanda Gorman’s amazing...

A Writer’s Road: A Poem for the New Year

Happy New Year everyone! A recording of my poem for the new year is just below, but first, in case you didn't see the post I wrote on social media on December 31st, here is my toast to the year finally behind us, and the one just starting: Here’s to A jab in the arm...

A Writer’s Road: What I Read in 2020

What a year. I've documented a lot of it in this blog, but now it's time to write an annual post which has nothing whatsoever to do with the pandemic (ostensibly), namely my list of what I read during the year. The list comes with its usual caveat that poetry volumes,...

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