Monday, January 30, 2017

Between the Lines: Writing Through Cancer

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate

Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Fleda Brown

Fleda Brown

Fleda Brown is a cancer survivor. Being a writer, she wrote her way through her illness and found that doing so gave her the strength and courage to get her through the journey back to wellness. Her book is called My Wobbly Bicycle: Meditations on Cancer and the Creative Life (Mission Point Press, 2016).

Brown’s tenth book, a collection of poetry called The Woods are on Fire: New and Selected Poems (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), is due out in March, and most of Brown’s published work is poetry. She was Delaware's poet laureate from 2001 to 2007. But Brown's ordeal with cancer turned her toward prose.
Brown says writing about her cancer treatment as it happened, “Was a pretty darn important part of the treatment. I write all the time anyway, and I had a blog that I had started almost a year before the diagnosis. It had been mostly about writing. I didn’t write about the cancer at first, but after surgery, I decided it was so much the center of my life then that I might as well.”
The blog gained many followers and Brown turned her posts there into the memoir, My Wobbly Bicycle. She found that writing about her treatment helped her cope. She described her experiences with chemotherapy and radiation therapy; dealing with hair loss; and the fears and hopes that rose along with a new realization of her own mortality. And she described her recovery.
“This became my most important writing,” Brown says. “I would lie in bed at night thinking about how I wanted to word something.”
As a part of her experience as a cancer survivor, Brown says she ...

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