Jay Lake: Writer

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[Cancer, Personal]

[cancer|personal] Crossing the streams

Yesterday was a good day. and I got in a terrific walk up some mondo hills, spent some good quality couple time together, both got writing and reading done, then eventually went out. Our itinerary included Good Vibrations, Borderlands Books, Tacqueria Cancun (one of my favorite Mexican restaurants on the West Coast), and of course, The Make-Out Room for Writers With Drinks. Borderlands Books produced some unexpected bonus in running into Greg and Astrid Bear. I also got a phone call on the store phone, from , which was surprising but fun.

We ran into Kat Richardson on the sidewalk, who was killing time before reading at Writers With Drinks, so we pulled her along. Once there we met up with (another reader) and Mr. , along with two friends of ‘s. Afterwards, out with the WWD crew for crepes and fries at Frjtz. Whoever thought of putting truffle oil on french fries ought to be sanctified.

After WWD, we wound up talking to and quite a bit. Blake’s a medical student with both a personal and professional interest in cancer, Erin is a nurse. They had a lot to say, especially Blake, which was very helpful to me in my ongoing process of sorting my perspectives on my cancer, its recurrence, and my fears both rational and irrational. One thing Blake talked about was the survivorship community. The point he made, in reference to a close family member who’d survived a very bad experience with cancer (much worse than mine looks to be, frankly), was that there were conversations that Blake could not have with his loved one. There’s a shared experience and an emotional vernacular which cancer survivors only find in other cancer survivors.

This of course made all kinds of sense. You see the same phenomenon in veterans, law enforcement, survivors of a disaster, or people who’ve shared any complex, high stress experience.

Which made me realize that one reason I’d written “The Specific Gravity of Grief” was to try to frame that cancer experience, that cancer mindset, for people who haven’t taken that particular journey. To some degree, it’s why I blog so extensively and thoroughly about my cancer journey, but the story (just finished, now in revision, due out from Fairwood Press next year) is a way of communicating the essentially incommunicable. Or so I hope.

A lot of streams crossed last night, and it wasn’t dangerous so much as enlightening. It reminded me that while I stumble a lot, I also continue to progress. Sometimes I remember to be proud of myself, and the people around me.

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