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Lakeshore - [cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, part 2 this week
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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-04-18 05:47
Subject: [cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, part 2 this week
Security: Public
Tags:awards, books, cancer, child, conventions, events, family, friends, health, jaycon, odms, original destiny, personal, photos, radiantlisa, stories, writing
Baseline Health

My baseline health is a bit poorer than it has been in the past, even allowing for the fact that I'm on light artillery chemotherapy. My nails are splitting and cracking much more readily. My gums bleed excessively from tooth brushing. My ongoing weight gain is disproportionate to my dietary intake and exercise levels. (In the past I've been able to keep 20-25 pounds lighter with this same behavior patterns.) I wonder if those are related to evolving liver issues, though so far the biochemistry doesn't suggest that. I also wonder if they're stress-driven. Psychosomatic, in other words.

Stress and Meditation

I saw my therapist yesterday. We talked a lot about my stress levels, which are pretty much off the charts for both painfully obvious reasons as well as some exacerbating issues I don't discuss here. He suggested I try meditation. As it happens, Lisa Costello has a daily practice, so I will discuss with her how she goes about it. Meditation has never been terribly successful for me in the past, as I find it difficult to focus that tightly, but I guess that's kind of the point: reaching that focus.

Writing

I'm currently operating under the assumption that I have about three months of productive writing time left in my life. Possibly as little as two. This is due to my anticipating going back on heavy chemo next month, and knowing what that usually does to my creative brain. Of course I would love to be wrong, but right now I have to act as if this is the case. I've abandoned all but three projects. Original Destiny, Manifest Sin is ongoing, and I try to spend at least an hour a day on that. I'm also writing bridging material for Jay Lake's Process of Writing, forthcoming from Apocalypse Ink. And I'm working with [info]kenscholes and series editor Steve Feldman to get METAtropolis: Green Space edited and out the door. Pretty much anything else I have on my plate is either being abandoned or seeking a collaborator. If I do wind up with a bit more time, I believe I will spend it working on short fiction. If somehow I wind up with a lot more time, well, we'll see.

My Premortem Wake

I have received a very generous offer from some experienced con runners to manage my premortem wake. If things go the way I fear, that may coincide with JayCon XIII. Otherwise, it will happen as appropriate, sometime within the next year most likely. The trigger will be me receiving a terminal diagnosis. I'll want to do it soon after, before medication or the progressing illness render me less and less able to enjoy the proceedings.

Photography

I think I want to start documenting my portrait. In a perfect world, I'd work with a pro photographer and do a weekly shoot. As a practical matter, I may set up a tripod and camera in a semipermanet installation in my house. Either way, I can capture myself in a series of portraits from now until death. I need to think this through. I think it would make a hell of an art project.

Basement

We continue to scour the basement here at Nuevo Rancho Lake by way of simplifying the stuff in the house before the shit all hits the fan. There will be concerted collective effort this Sunday. All sorts of things are surfacing, including the aforementioned note from my 8th grade English teacher, some of my Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee pins (some are still missing), and my 1980 Connecticut driver's license. Also, some long-missing belongings of both [info]the_child and Mother of the Child. It's a very strangely mapped trip down memory lane.

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Terie Garrison
User: teriegarrison
Date: 2013-04-18 13:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jay, if someone were interested in trying to collaborate with you, how would they go about getting in contact privately?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-04-19 00:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Drop me a note, and we can talk. jlake(a)jlake.com.
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a_cubed
User: a_cubed
Date: 2013-04-18 13:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
THere was a great art exhibition at the Mori Gallery in Tokyo about two years ago on health and the body and art. Some really interesting and thought-provoking stuff. I particularly liked Game Boy Advance (Google it with "art" or "scuplture" for a description). One of the other pieces I liked was a series of double portrait photographs. An artist had arranged with various people with terminal illnesses to take before and after death face portraits (within hours of expected passing and very soon after). It was really affecting. Your proposed art project sounds equally so.
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Shefa: hand reaching
User: shefa
Date: 2013-04-18 14:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:hand reaching
I wish that I had met you in person at WorldCon in Chicago, Jay. As it is, I just want to reach my hand through the screen (in a completely non-creepy way) and reach for yours. In my hand is a scrap of paper with a completely low-brow joke. ;) It's the least I can offer in return for your soul-baring openness and generosity as you walk this path.

I wanted to share a link with you of a friend of mine who does Bereavement Photography. He's a wonderful, sensitive and talented guy. I don't know if he's someone who travels to your neck of the woods, or if maybe he would just have some pointers for you as you document these weeks and months, but I thought you might like to have the option to talk with him or peruse his stuff.

His name is Todd Hochberg.

http://toddhochberg.com/main.html

This is the link for the bereavement photography, specifically... http://www.momentsheld.org

Edited at 2013-04-18 02:20 pm (UTC)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-04-19 00:45 (UTC)
Subject:
Thank you.
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Keikaimalu
User: keikaimalu
Date: 2013-04-18 16:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love the idea of the premortem wake. One of the strange blessings of knowing your death is coming is the ability to plan and attend your own (pre) funeral.

The photography idea sounds great too, and a bit eerie.
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Renegade Vagabond
User: khaybee
Date: 2013-04-18 21:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It has been my experience that when my mind is too frantic to allow for proper meditation I get some relief from chanting affirmations during exercise. (standard keep it simple, keeop it positive and keep it down to three e.g. I'm strong, I'm fit, I'm happy, but tuned to your brain.)

Love you and hope you find that useful.
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Jenny Rae Rappaport
User: eiriene
Date: 2013-04-20 02:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You wouldn't be on steroids to help with the cancer/chemo, would you? Because everything in your baseline health can be side effects of steroids, especially the nails and gums because they weaken connective tissue like nothing else.
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