OK – I wrote it…not the book. Just those words, which carry the intent that I’m gonna…write the book. I’m doing this for a number of reasons but I’m telling you about it for only one reason – to keep me honest and hold me to it. So buckle up and please, please. please come along with me for this ride. I want to drive and I want you with me.
I’ve always thought I was destined to write a book and I’ve included the the phrase, “I know I’ve got a good book in me,” to countless people in thousands of conversations over the years. But jobs, life, fun, sickness, health, child care, laundry, shopping, shaving my legs and multitudes of “good” reasons have always gotten in the way. The truth of the matter is that the only real reason was laziness and fear. I could have scraped together the time to write, hell…I’m writing now! I just never wanted to take the plunge into the deep end of the writing pool because it seemed so… deep. I can swim, but I’d rather just float…with a drink in my hand and my eyes closed. Now, suddenly I don’t think I’ll drown. I’m ready to do this.
Don’t ask me why. I’m not exactly sure myself. It could be, and probably is, a culmination of all the events that have led me to now. It’s also a ton of little tiny signs that have converged into a tipping point becoming so obvious that I can no longer ignore them. And then there’s this blog. There are probably 3 entire books worth of posts in here, some of which will probably be, or be the basis of, a chapter or 10.
I believe in God. I was brought up in a severely Catholic situation. Catholic grammar school, an all-girls Catholic high school and a Catholic college. The only reason I didn’t end up as a nun is…well all the reasons. Sex was probably the biggest. But the costumes being black and I’m a spring who shouldn’t wear black, and the praying thing and my knee problems and the behaving all humble and… all that. Let’s face it, just because I could recite the Mass in Latin doesn’t mean I would have been accepted into the convent. But the point is that I just remember all nuns saying they heard God call them. I’ve spent my entire life in close proximity to dozens of phones. I never got the call. Until this. I think I got a writing call.
Catholicism aside, my relationship with God has mellowed over the years. For very personal reasons that are between me and Him, I was put in a position that forced my hand because of the strict rules the Catholics of the 1970s. They liked to play hardball. In order to marry a non-Catholic I was forced to make promises with which I took exception. I had a long chat with God. I assured him that I would get married in a church to make my family happy. But I also assured him that I thought the priestly power play was just as skeevy as the fee I had to send to the Pope for papal permission to let me marry a rat-bastard Christian Scientist. I told him if the parish was going to force me into a corner, my Catholic days would be over. And they were.
So for years my relationship with God has been pretty loose-goosey. I actually really like it this way. When I moved to Florida I realized that God doesn’t live in Churches. Have you seen a sunrise at the beach. That’s where God lives! He owns oceanfront. And when I talk to Him, which I do A LOT, I talk to Him the same way I talk to friends. He knows I use the F-word. He knows I’m sarcastic and bitchy. He also knows I’m as dense as a fat chick in Extra-Small Spanx! So over the years I have begged for signs when I’m at a crossroads. And He humors me with HUGE effing signs when He’s finally decided to shoot me a map. So for the past six months I’ve been praying every morning as I would drive to the crappiest job ever. Nothing…until…
- I sprained my ankle, tore a ligament and broke a bone in my foot while working. Not sure about this but I think maybe God tripped me. This was too stupid of an accident for me. I’m pretty careful. I know I have been the family breadwinner and golden goose since we started the Lymphoma Limbo in 2004. I’ve changed a lot in order to protect myself just so I could continue in that responsibility. This injury was freaky and the only way I could start making sense was when I tried to… WRITE about it!
- I got fired from a crappy job, which in retrospect was the worst one I’ve had since a 4 hour stint as a dressing room attendant in a Gimbels department store in NY. Even though the Gimbels gig was a part-time college job, I wouldn’t put up with crap for a whole 8 hour day. I went out to lunch and found a new job…a better job….a more fun job. Instead of clocking back in, I quit after 4 hours and couldn’t have been happier. That had been my M.O. for the last 42 years so keeping a crappy job was WAY out of character for me. I didn’t even realize that until I dissected it – in WRITING
- I used to be able to get jobs really fast and pretty easily. When I found something I wanted I was good about landing it. Suddenly I can’t even land an interview. And if and when I do, I damn sure know they’re going to be really impressed when they see the boot! What about that? Answer – It’s gotta be time! Sit back, shut up and WRITE
- My son-in-law makes little videos on a FB site and I want to watch them but can’t. All his positive jibber-jabber has been pissing me off lately. I’m trying to wallow in pity and self-help advice from a thirty-something is irritating. But I accidentally clicked on him the other day and before I could stop it I heard him say, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” “Screw you Matt! Blah-Blah-Blah…I can’t hear you!” But I did hear him and immediately my mind clicked….Answer – WRITE a book.
- Finally, there’s nothing that interests me on the entire world wide web, I can’t find a book I want to read and all 6000 channels on my TV suck. I’m so bored and yet usually I have no problem entertaining myself. Why now? How can I occupy my time? Answer – WRITE
So there you go, those are my signs. And I think rather than wallowing in my own crap any more, it’s time I put the Can in Cancer. So here’s the Premise:
Cancer touches everyone. Yet it still has the stigma of leprosy and AIDS combined with the death sentence of a convicted criminal. People bristle when they hear the word; saying, “Cancer” evokes the look of pity, horror or uncomfortable dismissal from bystanders. It’s an awful disease. It’s scary, it’s unpleasant and it’s all around us. We need to learn to embrace its being, take a deep breath and look at it face on. We need to be able to make fun of it, to take away its power. And to use the word in conversation as a piece of news just like pregnancy, a tax audit or a sale at Macy’s. It’s something that’s going on in our lives. It’s something that effects us. It’s something about which many people need to talk. And the response doesn’t ever need a story that ends in a cemetery. You wouldn’t talk miscarriages with a newly pregnant woman, or jail time with an unfortunate taxpayer. And you certainly wouldn’t reminisce about a relative getting hit by a bus on the way to the semi-annual white sale at Macy’s. It needs to be the same with cancer. Scientists and doctors are working non-stop to obliterate the disease. We need to obliterate the stigma as well. Let’s make America great again and let’s make cancer fun again.
What do you think. This one time, I’m asking you to use the LIKE BUTTON at the bottom of the post if you’re on board. And more importantly, please just this once, make use of the “Comments” option below to tell me what you think, what you suggest, want you want me to cover…or anything you can think of that I should know. Share all your thoughts. I really want to know. Share with any friends who you think will have an opinion and get me the feedback I need!
I’m going to do this and I want you to be part of it, so hop in and buckle up. I told you before, I’m driving!