Writing on writing

Cataclysm

A friend of mine read my tarot in January and foresaw, amongst other things, ‘cataclysm’. I thought it was going to be something Trump did! And then, on the first of February, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’ve been debating with myself: do I write about this thing or not?

I have an aversion to confessional journalism. Inevitably the writer becomes the story, and I’m uncomfortable with that. How can a writer put herself at the centre of every story? Because, y’know, unless you’re Zaphod Beeblebrox, you’re not the centre of the universe*. But this isn’t journalism, it’s just a collection of downloads from my brain, and there’s no doubt this thing is going to be on my mind, it’s already hijacked my life. I’m determined that’s only going to be temporary though.

Does the world need another breast cancer blog?

The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of tests – I’ve already lost count of the number of people who’ve cared for me – and, of course, telling people. The people that need to know, the people I know will want to know. I’m already kind of over talking about it, to be honest, and I don’t really want to read about it (why worry twice?), so why would I want to blog about it?

I hate the idea of being defined by a condition. I used to rage when people called me ‘an epileptic’: It was something I had, not something that defined me. I feel the same about this. It’s just a thing I have to take care of, not who I am. And it’s not like I’m particularly special: the day I got diagnosed about 67 other women in Australia were also diagnosed, and my circumstances are pretty routine. There are tried and tested medical protocols.

And I don’t want people to see me as sick, or weak, and it irritates me that I may have no choice because I may get sick and weak as a result of my treatment.

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But that’s ultimately why I decided I have to at least mention it: this is now part of my life, whether I like it or not. Words, writing are how I express who I am, how I interpret the world. That rarely means talking about my day to day life and the people I share it with, but it often means sharing my perspectives on the world. Already this experience has opened up whole new worlds to me. I need to write to figure out what that means for me, and inevitably some of that will end up here.

So, that’s my news. What’s new with you?

* If you get that reference, I love you 😍

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9 thoughts on “Cataclysm

  1. “Does the world need another breast cancer blog?”
    Who cares. It’s whether YOU need to blog to get you through. You have always found the right balance in the past in everything you’ve written and this won’t be any different.
    You could never be defined by a health issue because there are so many things – and people – that you’re engaged with and interested in (and horrified by) in this world. Amongst other things, you’re The Siren of Brixton – before, during and after your treatment. And you’ll be The Siren long long after people stop asking you how you are in relation to your diagnosis. The cataclysm is already over. You’re an amazing human being. And that’ll always define you. xox

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  2. We’ve been in contact from time to time since your Brixton days … we engaged on Twitter and I was surprised when you announced you were going back to Australia … I thought you were a local lady … I read your blog posts and enjoy them, you have a very forthright way of expressing yourself which I find very easy to read, and you’re funny too which always does it for me … I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis … My wife found a lump on her breast the week before Xmas and was rushed in for tests to our local hospital down here in Somerset … She was lucky, it turned out to be an herbaceous cyst and the biopsy found it to be non malignant, but they were three very long days while we waited.
    Can I send our love and a huge healing virtual hug from up here in England and will keep everything crossed for a happy outcome for you …
    Take care,
    Ian & Carole xx

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    1. Thanks for saying hello, Ian, and for the lovely comments. I felt like a local in Brixton, having never stayed in one place very long, and still miss the place, although the Australian weather is compensation most days! Glad to hear your wife’s diagnosis was clear, and very much appreciate the words of support…it does help. I am pretty confident going into surgery, I seem to have a good team looking after me. I am immensely grateful for our amazing public health system right now, I can tell you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Please keep us posted when you can. This social media is a grand thing sometimes especially when it brings like minded souls together … We may never meet but our paths have touched because of our mutual passion for the written word … Please take care lovely lady and our love and healing thoughts are with you. Ian xxx

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