life · Writing

Things I Don’t Want to Write

This post sucks. I’ll be funny again tomorrow. Feel free to ignore it.

Also I should be writing my support handover documentation for my project, but I needed a break from technical writing to have a minor meltdown.

So I have this book proposal in the works, and I don’t want to write it. I am (in ways difficult to explain here without doing an even less fun post on the ins and outs of my ethics) somewhat compelled to write it. Because what I needed during treatment and since just doesn’t exist. Therefore, it’s up to me to create it, grumbling and bitching the whole time. Welcome to my paganism.

I told you this isn’t a fun post.

The stupid thing is, all the prep work for this proposal was unreasonably easy. Turns out, a non-fiction proposal is significantly different from the fiction publishing process (traditional or self). Putting together the market analysis, competing titles, outline, annotated chapters, and cover letter packet was easier than I expected. Even the author bio (where I have to explain why I’m qualified to write it in the first place) came easier than I anticipated (I generally suck at performance self-evaluation and that’s essentially what it is…we hates self-promotion, precious. Golum).

And here I am, a table of contents, outline, and introduction into a book for pagans with cancer or other critical illness, and I can’t get the words out on paper for the actual content. It’s all too far underwater and I haven’t been able to hold my breath for that dive longer than a second or two. How do I write about still desperately missing the people lost during treatment, or how to approach dating or even new friendships with all the scars, or how carefully I downplay some things so it’s not overwhelming for anyone who hasn’t been in it themselves? How do I write about what it felt like to lie there a year ago with no energy, thinking it’d probably be easier to just die than keep doing chemo, but fuck that attitude because I beat the red devil and who cares if my toenails never come back? (FTR, they did indeed, eventually, come back.) How do I say there are days I forget I even had cancer at all, followed by days I really REALLY want to take the toilet in my master bathroom out and blow it up, just because I spent so much time crying and yelling fuck you into it, except there’s no predictable pattern to those good or bad moments so the best I can do is try to get through them without anticipating what’s next?

Clearly that last sentence, which I will not edit even though it makes me itch to leave it so poorly written, is an indication I likely shouldn’t be writing anywhere right now. Sigh.

I have labs next week, and my 6 month oncology appointment the week after. I’m completely fine for weeks or even months, and the oncology office’s voicemail reminding me of my appointment Monday has me ugly crying, which disturbs Minerva (probably her namesake, too). Even dumber, the appointment is for LABS…it’s not even exciting: literally 15 minutes and a stick in my arm…and if I haven’t mentioned this before the phlebotomists and nurses at oncology are all magicians with needles. I never feel it at all, and they never miss. It isn’t a big deal at all. Except my lizard brain insists it is, and now my eyes are puffy and sore, and my face hurts, and I’m so fucking tired. I would really like it if someone or something would just tell me when the panic attacks stop so I can mark them off the way I can count down the running intervals in my couch-to-5k training sessions.

But nobody can, because they’ll stop when they stop and not before, no matter what I do.

Yes I have a therapist. Yes I’m doing all the things for self-care and all that. Mostly I am doing fine, even with the covid and sub-zero temps keeping me at home. Today is a bad afternoon.

Nothing moves time along faster, and some things are just…time. And when I look back at these blog posts, and the ones I wrote during treatment, to remember those steps along the way and what I did not just to survive but also to really heal, maybe I can find things to share so when some other person goes through this they aren’t doing it from scratch.

2 thoughts on “Things I Don’t Want to Write

  1. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. It’s good to vent thru any means that helps you. Therapist family friends other cancer or former cancer patients alive or not. I feel for you greatly. I can’t fully feel your pain but I feel for you. I’m soooooooo sorry for what you went through and what you’re going through. Take care. I love you. Aunt Kelly


  2. I’m glad you’re writing Jess. It’s so cathartic for you and everyone who has gone through what you have. I’ve always admired your strength and I think others draw from it so keep writing. Love you ♥️♥️♥️


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