Saturday, January 8, 2011

This is How You Write a Cancer Novel:

This post appeared first on June 13, 2006

Dance around it. Don't write about the illness. Write about a nun. A nun who turns into a flamenco dancer. A nun accused of killing her cousin. A nun falsely accused of the murder. Jailed for a crime she didn't commit. Because that's exactly how the cancer treatment felt: like a wicked punishment. "Dear God, what did I do to deserve this?" And when the story gets too depressing? Ah just pick up your guitar and strum those thunderous rasqueados. Make your fingers into hooves. Let them unfold over the ////// guitar strings //////. Bring an alegrias or a farruca or a soleares to life. Feel the vibrations against your breastbone where once, the tumor hid in your chest. Close your eyes and remind yourself, the tumor is gone. The cancer is gone. The nun only danced in her lurid cousin's imagination. One day soon, she will be free. And I will be free too. Free of the resentment. Free of the stories that haunt me.

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