Archives For In the Arts

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The Ken Burns Event

Just like many millions of people, I spent the past three nights watching Ken Burns’ Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. This has been something I have been very excited about, have talked about, blogged about, posted, and tweeted since I learned that the Pulitzer-prize winning book by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee was going to be made into a documentary.

My impressions:

First of all, in my history and devotion to PBS, I have never seen as many sponsors listed before the Continue Reading…

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Then

As most of you know, my daughter had another tumor removed last July. This was her second occurrence of leiomyosarcoma. She had a liver resection. Two institutions opined that it could not be determined if it was a new primary tumor or Stage IV as the cells of leiomyosarcoma were exactly the same. She was 6 months shy of her 5-year anniversary.

As a parent, at first I was first in warrior mode, then caregiver mode and then when the dust had settled became completely distraught. I have complex PTSD and this event was a trauma trigger on the magnitude of an 8.0 earthquake collapsing the entire house. I went into the usual grieving over whether she would live or die. I had to wrestle with Can I stand by and watch my daughter die from this? Would I rather be dead? Even after all I had been through, fighting to live, living through my first husband’s death, could I do this again? I asked myself these questions and more. Continue Reading…

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Books in the ‘young adult’ genre are very hot right now. Who hasn’t heard of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? In this science-fiction series, set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world, the teenage heroine, selected by lottery, must compete for her life against the other young contestants–to the death. In addition to fighting for her life through the trilogy, she must overcome the obstacle of saving the lives of her romantic loves.

In the Twilight series, the vampire-themed fantasy-romance books by Stephanie Meyers, the teenage heroine falls in love with an adolescent looking 104 year-old ‘good’ vampire. Throughout the series, her life is imperiled by vicious vampires, and shape-shifting wolves. She battles depression as her life force ebbs and flows.

Both series are bestsellers that depict teenage life and the (fantasized or science fictionalized) specter of death. They speak the universal language of adolescence: longing for connection, choice of partner, fear of commitment, forbidden passion – a formula for success.

We have upped the ante in the young adult genre to enter the real world specter of death, Cancer. Continue Reading…

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I find very interesting the things that go viral on the Internet. This week the video of Deborah Cohan, MD, OB/GYN of San Francisco was the big hit. The backstory was that Deborah was scheduled to have a bilateral mastectomy for breast cancer. The news wasn’t about whether she had cancer, was battling cancer or was doing this prophylactically. The news was the achievement of her ‘make-a-wish’ fantasy, which was to create a ‘simultaneous inspiration to dance, move and be in the body’. In other words, she wanted to start a flash mob dance craze before her surgery, while in the operating room, dancing with other doctors, nurses and OR attendants. This was videoed by someone during a period of six minutes, was posted to YouTube and then went viral.

Not only did this go viral, but it was picked up by multiple news channels, setting a new standard for ‘bravery’, ‘inspiring’, a new role model of taking control of your situation, another ‘don’t worry, be happy’, cancer story. For example, Today.com/health posted the headline: “What do you do before a double mastectomy? Dance, of course”. Continue Reading…

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HOW

The answer to the first question is, well, no and yes. The how is that you have to find an agent to represent you and your manuscript to a publisher. According to the six agents that were contacted regarding representing me to sell my manuscript to a traditional publishing house, the answer was ‘NO’. The reasons given basically were as follows:

  1. Traditional publishing is rapidly changing. A memoir about cancer by an unknown author will be a hard sell.
  2. While your story is amazing, we no longer represent these types of books. We are more into ‘YA’ or young adult fiction. Good luck to you though!
  3. Even though your story sounds intriguing, I do not have the time to read it and would need to further understand the context.
  4. No response
  5. No response
  6. The market is saturated in this field.. or in my words–“Been done to death”

WHAT

So what is a person to do? I could keep working on trying to find an agent. This would require a dog and pony show, letter writing, writing for magazines, blogging for the Huffington Post. I get cancer with the frequency of turning over a leased car…therefore, I have no time to mess around. Continue Reading…

 

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In early July, I wrote The Ride as a guest for the blog LivingLFS.org. Bizarre as it sounds, I had fun writing my story of cancer in a creative way. Since I am currently on vacation, I thought I’d post it on The Cancerian. It’s quite a ride …

The Ride

by Linda Zercoe

July 5, 2013

I live in beautiful California about 35 miles east of the great city of San Francisco. About two and one-half hours from my home is the famous coastal community of Santa Cruz. It is here where people go to the beach from my town and many have summer ‘cottages’. While still being cold for my taste, there are the familiar landmarks: put-put golf, burger stands, soft ice cream stops, boogie boards, bike rental shops and even kites in flight.

What makes Santa Cruz almost seem like the good old days for me is that they have a boardwalk. In NJ were I spent my childhood, in the summers we went to the Atlantic City, Ocean City, and Seaside boardwalks. Instead of having the salt water taffy that I love, Santa Cruz has a large, long and incredible roller coaster that dates all the way back to 1924. It is now a National Historic Landmark and is constructed of white wood with red tracks. Having survived the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, it still sits on the Santa Cruz boardwalk and loops with a beautiful and infinite view of the ocean and the western horizon.

Our family went to the Santa Cruz boardwalk for the first time and rode the infamous roller coaster shortly after moving to California in August of 1993. I was just 36, married and our daughter was 12 and son, 3. My husband took our son to the kiddie rides and Kim and I decided to ride the roller coaster.

Continue Reading…