I have always loved to write. Since I was a child, I would love to write short stories, but more than anything I love to write poetry. This is a skill that Molly, my youngest, has developed as well, which makes me ever so happy. I have journal upon journal of sappy poetry from a lovesick teen until now. I think there are more than 100 poems altogether. Even as an adult I took online writing classes at UCLA after I stopped working at Kodak, so I could nurture that skill (and find myself again). And, I loved it. It’s always been my dream to get published someday. So needless to say, when I was diagnosed cancer everyone thought this was a great opportunity for me to write.
Now, typically, I think many writers experience a writers block. This is definitely true for me. When I write, it’s not that I can necessarily sit down and write a poem (like many people think). Poetry for me is God given, God delivered, on His terms. Because of my skill (spiritual gift), I have always been expected to write a poem for all memorial services for family members. Looking at this from an outside perspective might seem odd, but it is really the most perfect way to eulogize a loved one. I have done this for almost all of my grandparents. And, each time, I felt pressure to write it. I would sit with my pen and paper, and nothing would come…until it came. And when it came it was usually while I was in bed in silence with no paper around. So I would repeat lines over and over in my head hoping to remember them in the morning. And the next morning, just those few lines would trigger the poem. You see, when I had no expectation, or pressure, but just silent, is the only time I could hear God speak the words to me. Most of my poems come that way.
So when everyone said I should write about my cancer, I wasn’t sure what that would look like. I didn’t see poetry fitting the situation, and honestly, I just had nothing. I had nothing to give that first few weeks after my diagnosis. Everything in my head was black. I couldn’t have written anything then if I had tried. Then one early morning, I received a 5am wakeup call from Jesus. Then, just like it always comes, the ideas just started popping in my head, like fireworks being shot into the sky. One by one, God delivered the messages to me that He wanted me to speak about (or that He thought I could speak about). So, like usual, I tried to repeat them over and over in my head, but there were at least five ideas, with literal bullet points in my head that needed to be recorded. I had been keeping a piece of paper by my bed, in case I received any calls from MD Anderson or my doctors while I was resting after my biopsy. So there, in the dark, I started writing the ideas on the paper, trying not to write them over each other, but not being able to see what I was doing. But in the morning, slightly messy, there they were. The God breathed words that I now had so that I could begin to write once again.
It took me several weeks actually, before I started to write, because I wasn’t exactly sure what format I would be writing in. Would it be a blog, like our dear friend Jim Murphy who is finishing his cancer journey? And if it was, would it compare to his beautifully written account of his cancer and faith journey? Even though I think I’m a good writer, I wasn’t so convinced after reading his eloquent entries. I pictured it as a blog that my friends and family could see, that could express my own journey and faith accounts. But I think that idea has grown.
As I wrote my very first “entry” a few weeks back, I began with the words spoken to me that first evening, and quickly realized that it was only the beginning of my dialogue with the Lord. The keystrokes began almost to type themselves and the entry that I thought would be my first blog, turned into two pages (11 point, single spaced). I thought OK, so the first entry will be a little long. Then, as I sat to do the second entry, it turned into 4 pages (11 point, single spaced). Then it hit me. I was writing a book. Remember I had always wanted to be published, but never in my life did I think it would be a book about cancer. Heck, a book about anything. I thought it would be a collection of poetry. And never in my life did I think I could write something both humorous and moving at the same time. I wrote about sad, sappy things. But never in my life have I experienced such a thing. This is part of my journey, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!