Monday, March 3, 2014

Reworking A Memoir About Cancer: The Journey of Documenting Tragedy

It's been a long while since I finished the first draft of the book I wrote detailing the events following my diagnosis with stage 3 melanoma.  Recently, I've opened up the file folder, "dusted" it off (regular internal dusting of your computer files is highly recommended by the Department of Dusty Computer Innards, a Pentagon affiliate), and started rewriting.  There was some kind of road block in the way of this for several months, and, if I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that there still is.  I don't really know how I wrote it in the first place, not to mention, while I was undergoing immunotherapy.  It remains a mystery to me, because any time I think about working on it now, I feel the motivation spilling from my body like I've been wrung like a sponge.

The past few days I've been able to push through.  But I still get easily put off and sidetracked.  I'm going to finish it though, complete with a new title, new Foreward and new internals.  I'm not changing all of it -- just the parts that I now realize are mostly unreadable.  This book, while representing a terrible time in my life history, has to be authentic, yet also entertaining.  That balance is crucial.  While I think it has great potential to reach many people and increase awareness for young adult cancer, it still has a short hop, jump, and skip to go before it crosses the finish line.  And I'm the one who has to usher it along.  There's no one else.  Writing is a very solitary profession to begin with, even more so when you're writing a book about an experience that made you feel isolated and alone.

New title ideas are in the works, but right now I have these in mind:

Metastatic Memories (the title of my first post, and the reason we're all here)

Zen of Metastasis (after the blog -- though I have an idea for a better use of this title)

Battlefield Me (though I'm not too keen on the war metaphors, the battle in this case would refer to the internal battle with myself throughout treatment)

Cancer Kid (former title -- feels gritty, but trite to me now)

Please leave your thoughts on the title change, along with any encouragement you'd be kind enough to impart.

Until next time (at which point I will hopefully have a finished product for you to read!)