“Every kind of creative work demands solitude, and being alone, constructively alone, is a prerequisite for every phase of the creative process.”
I remember when Katherine was in pre-school and we had our first parent-teacher conference. It was her pre-K year and I felt like this was a HUGE thing and ran the risk of discovering what a rotten parent I obviously was.
It was none of that. She was doing great, was reading a bit and such a delight to the entire campus. (Some things don’t change, even more than twenty years later.)
I remember five years ago when I went to my primary care doctor to have a spot on my face tested I was sure was nothing. It was something. A week later I was called by the dermatologist I had been referred to. I was standing in the office at Samuel’s school when the call came. It was melanoma. Katherine was about to return to school at Smith College and wouldn’t be around for the surgery. Samuel had started 6th grade, Emma 10th grade.
I had surgery and received a lovely reminder of my cancer via the scar on my face. I spent time creating art and writing about it. There is a link to a post on my old blog about it I can’t even remember writing but in retrospect had some insightful, caring writing that deserves to be read again.
Five years later I have not had a return to melanoma but I do sport a fancy heart shaped scar on my face, I have had basal cell carcinoma removed from my back and actinic keratosis led to facial lotion chemotherapy and just this morning I learned I need another round of facial lotion chemotherapy.
This time the actinic keratosis had spread more, so she froze the four spots where it had popped up and sent me off with a prescription.
My skin still stings from the freezing process and I am not quite ready to be my cheerful, upbeat, face the world squarely with confidence self. I do feel compelled to meet the world with passion – after I take a moment to reflect and be alone for a few hours.
Probably the moment I will remember the most from this morning was my dermatologist noticing I was not my usual ebullient self. I was having a challenging time not crying – I have been straddling the line between being so-so and falling into a funk again – and she gently asked if I was ok, if I wanted to talk to her about what was going on – if it was something she might help me with.
My responses were head shakes, couldn’t quite speak yet, and I felt cared for by her even on a morning I knew she was extra busy.
That felt nurturing and good.
Maybe I should have asked for a gift certificate to a luxury hotel and a house cleaning service for a month so during the chemo treatments I wouldn’t have to worry about housework? J
The simple act of writing about it is making me feel refreshed a bit. I was able to dress my bitmoji in a cute holiday outfit. I watched some of my live streaming friends do their thing. I am now looking at “how to draw a bridge” instructions.
I am not falling into a black hole, I am stepping into the light at my pace. It is slow but not too slow.
I’m starting to look forward to the stories I will collect and tell about today in the future.
I found a stirring blog post from five years ago I really enjoyed discovering from when I had a diagnoses that included melanoma.
“Words. They can do for the heart what light can for a field.”
Juan de la Cruz
Words have always been my anchor art. I can always return to them. They always wait for me to show up. And the rest of the world? Is waiting for them.
So here I am, offering my words up – sure that for someone out there this is exactly what they needed to hear. For that, I am grateful.
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people’s creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in soon!
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.