This, friends, is the story of how a poem I wrote, my bio, and a tiny picture of my face ended up in a book.
(Cover designed by the talented James Baldwin)
This, like every good story, begins with elephants, otters, and a great deal of hugging. (You think I’m joking, but the #hugsquad is not a laughing matter.) Let me explain. I’m in a writing group on Facebook, and while there are 23,000+ members, we’re remarkably close-knit. We have a lot of shared interests, from the obvious (books and writing) to the adorable (fuzzy animals) to the macabre (this is the only place I can go to ask all of my gross murder mystery questions without being judged). Many of us also share a love for the notable work of David Bowie and Alan Rickman.
2016 barged into our lives swinging a death-club. When cancer took Rickman and Bowie from us, we writers decided to fight back. With our lovely captains (thanks, Laura & Andrew!) leading the charge, we marched. We decided to create the anthology to benefit cancer research, and now we’re less than a month away from the release date! Scores of brilliant writers, beta readers, editors and other wonderful people came together, and the result is going to be beautiful.
Cancer runs rampant in my family. When I was asked why I got involved with the anthology, this was my response:
(No, I don’t quote myself with tasteful graphics. Credit goes to Naomi D. Nakashima.)
My main inspiration for writing my poem, “The Metastatic Squatter,” is the lovely lady putting me in a headlock in this photo.
This is my sister, the woman in whose dainty footsteps I try –and fail–to walk (my feet are too big and she always notices me following her). She’s sweet, generous, a fantastic mother to my nieces, and makes a mean Thanksgiving turkey. She’s also currently fighting cancer.
People deal with the stress and hardship and fear of losing someone they love in different ways. I definitely haven’t been perfect at handling this, but one of my best coping mechanisms is writing. I wrote “The Metastatic Squatter” at 3 a.m. one morning. I couldn’t sleep because I was furious–furious–that something so evil would dare to mess with someone so good. All of that anger, frustration, and helplessness burned its way from my brain to my fingertips, and by 5 a.m., I had the beginnings of a poem. Cancer is a jerk, guys. A real jerk.
How You Can Help
I hope that my poem and the rest of the poems and stories in this anthology touch people’s lives. I pray that they will bring hope and healing to many, and it’s my wish that you’ll order a copy on June 5th. I’ll definitely post the link as soon as it goes live! Until then, you can assist by promoting the anthology. Help us make these Photoshopped pictures by the talented Andrew Barber a reality. Get the word out.
Share this post! Like us on Facebook, attend the virtual release party, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and use #StardustAlways to stir up a fuss. You can also check out my sister’s GoFundMe Page if you’re interested in helping someone RIGHT NOW. Doing any or all of things things is a great way to join the fight against one of humanity’s most formidable enemies.
UPDATE: Stardust, Always is now officially available for pre-order as an ebook. You can find it here or through my Amazon author page.