Regular visitors to the blog will know that, now and then, I mention the book I plan to write about my dance with cancer. The idea has been floating around for some time.
To start with I thought I was being self-indulgent, but after about many kind and helpful emails/conversations/comments suggesting it, I decided that maybe I wasn’t. So I gave it some serious thought.
Now, I have written before. During the time when my children were small and I was at home, I wrote a couple of plays (unperformed, though one made it as far as the Edinburgh Fringe programme before irreconcilable differences between director and producer caused crashing and burning), magazine articles (several published), children’s stories (went down a storm with children’s friends), a screenplay, some corporate stuff (paid the bills), and a novel (general consensus from agents: good, but not commercial enough). So this writing lark is not entirely new to me. In fact, when I was a little girl I always wanted to be a writer (or a Blue Peter presenter, or a bareback horse rider at the circus – but I think that what I was really after there was the sequinned bikini).
I got a bit worried about another book about ‘my experience of cancer’, and concerned that nobody needed to read me coming to terms with this part of my life. So I cooked up a plan for ‘Dancing with Cancer’, appropriately enough an all-singing all-dancing book about the disease, about treatment, about others’ experiences of cancer.
And I started to write. And then I stopped. I thought it was because I was tired. Or because I needed to do some research. Or because chemotherapy was eating my brain (which it almost certainly was). Or because I can be a bit rubbish about settling down and getting on with the job, however much I like the job.
Then this morning, I had a lightning bolt moment. I was looking at our Race for Life sponsorship page (Joy and I have already beaten our target, and we are so very grateful to everyone who has sponsored us so far), and a comment from Rob jumped out at me: “long live the bah! spirit.” That made me think about all of the people who have commented on the title of this blog. Then all of the people who have commented on the content of this blog, and said how useful/entertaining/insightful/moving/funny they have found it. Then I remembered something Gosia, a therapist who helped me at Breast Cancer Haven, said, when I was talking about writing a book: “You are already writing a book. You are writing it every day on your blog. People are already reading your book.” At the time I was too wedded to the idea of ‘Dancing with Cancer’ to hear her. This morning, I did.
I’m thinking now of ‘Bah! to cancer’ (and I must give my friend Jude full credit for the title) – a book about my experience, based around the blog, but expanded. I would hope that not only people who are dancing with cancer, but their friends, their relations, their colleagues could read it and learn something that will make the dance easier for everyone involved. (Maybe some clinicians would benefit from a quick skim, too.) I’d hope that reading ‘Bah! to cancer’ might make cancer less scary, might make people laugh, might show them that this, too, will pass.
As I think, and blog, about this, it’s coming alive in a way that ‘Dancing with Cancer’ never quite did.
So…. would you read ‘Bah!’ the book? Please post a comment or email me and tell me what you think.
(NB: I’m writing this as though I have the faintest idea of where to start with getting this book published, and agents and publishers queueing outside my front door. I haven’t and they aren’t…. but I’m hoping that someone reading here might be able to point me in the right direction.)