Oh, Hormones, You Are Merciless…

Yeah, they just don’t quit. I’m a swamp when I wake up. More hours of daylight seems to mean more hot flashes. Flashes, did I say? ‘Flash’ implies something that lasts a minute or less. I’m having hot episodes.

I like to think that I’m feeling the side effects so acutely because there’s so little cancer left, and those crazy little hormones gotta go somewhere and do something. I used to try to follow a policy of not sweating the small stuff. Well, now I sweat all the stuff.

But I can stand it. It’s life––messy, sloppy, not always tidy or comfortable or presentable, even kinda smelly.

Love (and sweat) like you’ve never been hurt (or cold); work (and sweat) like you don’t need the money (for anti-perspirant); dance (and sweat) like nobody’s looking (horrified).

Cancer Dancer

…is the title of my story in the anthology Dead Letters, edited by the outrageous and brilliant Conrad Williams, out next month from Titan Books.

This is the cover:

So you can see it’s got the quite the list of contributors. I know, I posted this last October but can you really see the cover of a good book too often? Hell, no!

Conrad has been running teasers for the book on his blog. I found this one today:

The thing about London is…
It’s teaser #6 in a series, so you can check out the other five, and wait for more.

I am particularly proud of this story. I say that about all my stories and it’s always absolutely true, because all of them have their own stories. I’m proud of this story because I wrote it during chemo––i.e., not while I was being infused but during the first half of the course of chemo. Or rather, the story unfolded and I took dictation.

Memo to editors and publishers: this was a brilliant way to put together an anthology. Let’s have some more of this kind of thing, okay?

From the Pre-Cancer Annals: The Porno In My Past

Okay, it has come up elsewhere so I thought I’d clarify something:

Yes, I was an extra in the movie  Linda Lovelace For President. 

Okay, I’ll just leave that there for a moment… 

…before I add that I was an uncredited, fully-clothed extra. Part of the movie was filmed on the University Of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kansas and my participation was completely accidental.

I came out of a class to find the main road through the centre of campus lined with cheering students holding signs that said U.R.P. 

Spotting a grad student friend from the theatre department, I asked him what was going on. 

“They’re filming part of Linda Lovelace for President here and we’re all going to be in it!” he said, waving his sign.

“And what’s U.R.P.?” I asked.

“Upright Party, honey!”

Never wanting to be seen as less than upright myself, I immediately joined the party and cheered myself hoarse as a convertible cruised past with a beautiful woman waving to the crowds. The director did several takes while the light was still good.

Later I found out we had all been cheering Linda Lovelace’s stand-in and I felt a bit cheated. 

The film came out the following year. I don’t know how it did over-all but in Lawrence, Kansas, it was a blockbuster, with all shows sold out every night. And of course, I went to see it. I couldn’t find myself but I know I was there, fully-clothed and uncredited. However, I did spot Micky Dolenz in a bit part as a bus driver. His (very brief) scene was out-of-focus. At the time we blamed the projectionist but later I wondered if that wasn’t by his request.

And that’s the true account of the (soft-core) porno I did as an undergrad. 

That’s Right, Cancer, I Said You Better Run ‘Cause There Ain’t Nothin’ For You Here

Yes, in case you can’t tell, the level of cancer in my body continues to decline. I did a little math and the current level is 3% of what it was when I started chemotherapy in January 2015. I saw one of the doctors on my consultant’s team, a young Asian doctor that I’ve seen before. He was so genuinely happy for me, I kinda choked up.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I had the bad luck to have my cancer recur in the worst possible form but the good luck to have the drugs work better than anyone expected them to. I’d like to tell you attitude is half the battle. I mean, then I could really pat myself on the back (no pun intended, I swear) and say I kicked cancer’s arse. The truth is, I got lucky; the drugs work. My attitude lets me enjoy it.

I would like to be more profound but at the moment, I’m just kinda dazed. Six months ago, I was terminal, at least as far as anyone knew. Today I’m no longer dying of cancer, I’m living with my technicolor Doc Martens boot on its neck.

You know, I don’t think that will ever get old.