The Next Page is run by Jennifer C Wilson and Elaine Cusack but there is a third member of the crew, Sandy Chadwin. Sandy has performed at both of our Pure Fiction events in Whitley Bay Library this year and will be appearing at more of our events in 2017. Over to Sandy....
One of the more pleasant discoveries that may be found when you’re diagnosed with cancer is the good nature of the vast majority of people. Oh, one or two may delight in telling you how awful the radio and chemotherapy is going to be, but most try and find a plus side to the whole business including, for me, the suggestion that it would give me the chance to get some writing done.
Well, I can’t say that it did for me. The curious activities of the televisions in the ward where I stayed for my biopsy gave inspiration for a short story (or anecdote as some have firmly, and publicly, argued) and this little piece here and that’s about it, so far. There may yet be a poem but no promises I’m afraid.
The problem is that when you have cancer, you don’t always feel 100%. You also find the even tenor of your ways disrupted at regular appointments in a 60s villain-like basement room where a sinister machines hums and whirs at you and leaves you in a state of mild irradiation. This is not conducive to the creation of deathless prose or fine prosody. Neither is chemotherapy, though I may yet get something out of the range of feelings I had when it appeared that my hand was going to, well, pop. A long story.
The same thing (ie that at least you’ll be able to get some writing done) is also trotted out as a reason for wishing to go to prison for a short period. Well it may have worked for Thomas Mallory, Marco Polo, John Bunyan and Joe Orton in roughly that order, but I can’t see it working for me. You see, I’ve been to prison – oh not as a felon, but in my short and lively legal career – and it is not conducive to fine thinking anymore than a cancer ward is. It’s a tad fraught in there. Sorry.
So, thanks for the kind thoughts and highly appreciated they were, but in future, I think I’d prefer a nice writers’ retreat in the country. One near a pub. Now that would be inspiring.