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,...

A Writer’s Road: Taking Risks

One of the big ideas that we discuss in Writing Through workshops is taking risks: What is a risk? Are there good and bad risks? How do you decide if a risk is good or bad and how do you choose what to do? When choosing, when do you listen to the advice of others, and...

A Writer’s Road: Hermits

photo courtesy of ancient-origins.net Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a story here about modern day hermits. It seems they live among us everywhere. The hermit lifestyle is no longer only limited to monks and ascetics living in caves, growing foot-long...

A Writer’s Road: A Howl Book Launch

There is a network of spoken word readings called Howl which brings writers, audiences and spaces together to create one-off 'pop up' word events. Howl Cambodia has presented a series of these happenings over the years both in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, many of which...

A Writer’s Road: Art Needs Community

In my last blog post, I wrote about my decision not to write for the theater just now. Given the present incredible financial strain on theaters and playwrights, I do believe that resources need to be channeled towards those voices who might otherwise go unheard, and...

A Writer’s Road: Choosing Not To Write for the Theater

This is a fraught time, especially in the United States. This country is tormented not only by a pandemic which divides us from those we love, but also an upcoming election which has revealed the rift that lays in the heart of the nation. As an artist, and especially...

A Writer’s Road: 200 Days of Recording the Pandemic

Back in July, I wrote a blog post about my first 100 days in the pandemic. My last sentence on that blog was And so it continues. And so it has. I don't think that I expected the pandemic to be all over by now, but I think I felt that my own need to record it so...

A Writer’s Road: Voting and Poetry

image courtesy of npr.org I voted this past week. It has never felt quite so monumental. But voting has always felt like an important event to me, whether I've done it inside an automated booth in a big US city, or a small council hall in the UK. Whether I've pulled a...

A Writer’s Road: Learning to Drum

With the passing of the summer and the prospect of long months full of cold and darkness (not to mention a worrying US election), I decided enough was enough. Enough pessimism. Enough doom and gloom. My apocalyptic view was getting me nowhere and certainly not doing...

A Writer’s Road: A Poem for Ruth

Here I am, needing to write another blog post instigated by death. Last week's passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a huge loss, not only for Americans. not only for women, not only for those who believe in the rule of law, but for everyone, everywhere. When has there...

A Writer’s Road: Overlapping Holidays

So many people think that religions differ greatly, but I'm always amazed at how similar they can be. This week sees the start of two very different, yet very similar holy seasons. Pchum Ben is one of the holiest times of the Cambodian calendar. It is a 15 day...

A Writer’s Road: Time Hurts and Helps, and John Cage

Matthias Bein/picture alliance via Getty Images Whenever I talk to anyone about the pandemic, which I still seem to do all the time, I say that at this point my anxiety level is under control, as long as I don't try to plan anything beyond a week away. Of the many...

A Writer’s Road: The Death of a Khmer Rouge Monster

image courtesy of BBC.co.uk It was reported that Kaing Guk Eav, otherwise known as Duch, died today. He had been the Chief of the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison and had personally overseen the torture and deaths of thousands of Cambodian citizens. It took nearly 50 years...

A Writer’s Road: Bin My Word

Nadia Kingsley And Fair Acre Press have created a fun podcast called The Word Bin. The idea is for people, many of them writers, to choose a word to bin, or throw into the trash. If there was a word which you wanted to get rid of, what would it be and why. Every day...

A Writer’s Road: Writing Again

Back in May, I wrote a post about my inability to write creatively during what was then the middle of the beginning of the pandemic. You can reread it in its entirety here, but here is one conclusion I drew: Writing creatively takes a huge amount of energy and a real...

A Writer’s Road: The National Virtual Medical Orchestra

Surprisingly, I have often found myself, in my musical life, playing classical music with physicians. I've been fascinated by the real connection between music and medicine, and I even tried to dissect that relationship in one of the characters of my novel, Out of the...

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