Jammin’…’Cause Hidin’ Ain’t Livin’

Had my first night out since I got the Diagnosis of Doom (Ha! I laugh in your face, Diagnosis of Doom! Like this: Ha! And ha! Ha, ha, HA! I say). Amanda and Jo/Mutha Hydra and I went to my local, the Salisbury last night. Got in early, at six, and beat the rush. I stuck to diet Coke until I saw the list of single malts on the menu and remembered that all my chemo lit has said that if I imbibe, I should stick to really good red wines and really good single malts.

I am happy to report that good single malt Scotch defeats sour-metal chemo-mouth, and tastes as good as it should. I can’t remember the name of what I had––started with a K and sounded more Japanese than Scottish. Twelve years old; good stuff. Too much would have given me heartburn but I had just enough.

Emboldened by this, I have decided Chris and I should take a bus ride to the Borough Market, where I am going to walk on the wild side with a chorizo sandwich. I’ve been dreaming about chorizo sandwiches. I’m also going to look into whatever fruits and/or vegetables that peel or need to be cut open––I can have those, too.

I didn’t realise that I was hiding in the house but the truth is, I have been. After my first experience with chemo, where I got so violently sick that I had to go to A&E, followed by two more stays in hospital when my temperature went up, I got gun-shy, I guess.

But you can’t conquer anything by sitting still. Not that I really sit still. I turned down the blood-thinning injections when I was in hospital because I never really sit completely still––years ago, I got into the habit of flexing my leg muscles to keep them warmed up for dance and now I do it without even thinking. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I’m sitting down, lying down, I’m flexing. I do it in my sleep. It feels good and I’ve noticed that despite my excess weight, my lower body is still fairly toned. But I digress.

I’ve been hiding in the house but no more.

I’m going to put on my lovely red hat with the stars and I’m going for a ride on the bus with Chris, my one true love in all the world, and I’m going to remind myself of all the things I want to live for. If my white cell count is going to fall, it won’t do so for another six or seven days. Therefore, I’m pretty sure I can handle the Borough Market long enough to have a chorizo sandwich. If my resistance is still up, I might as well take advantage of it. And I’m certain it is. Both Chris and Amanda have been suffering with colds for the past few weeks and I didn’t catch anything from either one (my elevated temperature was something else, knocked out by IV antibiotics). Both are better now and I’ve decided: time to live like I’m still alive.

As Robert Heinlein said in Glory Road: Dum vivimus, vivamus! While we live, let us live!

Sometime in the near future, I’ll talk about my friendship with Mr. Heinlein, a man who had an appetite for vivamus!, so to speak, but whose health put limitations on him. Nonetheless, he lived as much as he could; he tried, he pushed, and he never gave up. I have thought of him so often in the close to thirty years since he left the building. He encouraged me even when he was breathless from emphysema (the only thing he ever actually ordered me to do was quit smoking). It’s not a coincidence that my son is named Robert. The Patricia in the dedication to Friday stands for me and at least one other Patricia, possibly two (we all knew it at the time). I miss him…enough that I guess I’ve made quite a start on talking about him already.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about him because he’d be the first one to tell me that I should get out of the house whether I could walk out on my own or whether I had to use a wheelchair…or crawl on my hands and knees to keep myself alive.

There’s so much I want to do. So I guess I’ll just start doing it, with an eye to building up enough momentum that it will keep me going, and going, and going.

I’m seeing real progress on the novel now––the sushi novel. Working title: See You When You Get There. I have also written a substantial portion of the next novel, working title: Truth and Bone, a completely different type of book taking off from a story that appeared in Ellen Datlow’s Poe anthology, also called “Truth and Bone.” I want you to read it. You might like it.

In fact, I want you to read all my work. Fortunately, all my books are in print, electronically and/or in hard copy. Any uncollected stories, you might have to search for. But this will help:


The ISFDB is good for looking up work from all your favourite genre writers, not just me. I don’t know who maintains it but all of us should buy them dinner and candy and flowers for keeping it up to date. Even I didn’t have a lot of this information on my work.

Yeah, pardon the commercial. I have tried not to give in to the urge to advertise and tell everyone how wonderful I am. On the other hand, I’m a freakin’ writer. I do this for a living, for other people to read, not just for my own amusement. I want people to read my books. If you read them and don’t like them, you can slag them off. If, however, you do like them, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or some other place.

I wasn’t going to say, “Consider leaving a review on Amazon, etc.” but I changed my mind. I’m past sixty; the hour was already growing late before it acquired new urgency. Cancer can make you understand the power of love, the world in a grain of sand, and eternity in an hour; it can also make you honest. So, honestly: I want you to read my work.

PS: The appearance of this blog will change every so often. Change is life.


2 thoughts on “Jammin’…’Cause Hidin’ Ain’t Livin’

  1. Yes, late. Trying to catch up. Just got diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome to help explain tardiness.

    I don’t know if you read mysteries, but if you do, you should know about a site called Stop, You’re Killing Me. Just put that into Google & away you’ll go. It’s really amazing.

    I am, of course, unhappy to hear your news. Our first meeting gave me a memory I’ll always cherish. And I cherish you along with it. Is there anything at all I can do? From thousands of miles away? If so I will do that thing. I’m going next week to stay with my friend Kate Yule. She has brain cancer. I’m staying with her a week so her husband, David Levine, can go to a writing workshop. I would do the same for you should you need. Though you are further away than Portland, where she lives. I am do fortunate to have the time & resources to do these things.


    Mary Kay

  2. Mary Kay, you are never late. You are always right on time.

    Please give Kate and David my love and maybe a couple of gentle fist-bumps.

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