Generally speaking I don’t do reviews, even book reviews, very often because frankly, I get tired of being a vehicle for free promotion. So unless a book grabs my attention or is about a topic I’m super interested in (and think you will be too), I mostly pass on these “offers”. If I am interested, I usually say sure send me your book; in fact, send me two copies.
I like to offer free stuff to you, dear readers, once in a while and free books are always nice, right?
Even then, I don’t commit to a review post. I just say I’ll read it and take things from there. This seems to work well and weeds out more than a few requests.
Some subjects I am truly passionate about and one of these is writing.
Writing is healing. Sharing is healing too. Put the two together and well… just about anything is possible. It’s why I started blogging and why I keep at it.
This is also why when I was asked to consider reviewing, Write For Life – Communicating Your Way Through Cancer by David Tabatsky, I pretty much knew I’d be saying yes.
Write For Life. The title alone is great, don’t you think?
Sometimes I quite literally feel as if I do write for life. Or live to write. Or something like that, but you get the idea. Writing is a huge deal in my life. I believe it can be in yours too. It can be in everyone’s.
Right off the bat in the foreword of this book I read this:
“Writing for your life is about telling your truth. Trust your feelings; they tell you the truth.”
I think I’ve written something pretty similar more than a few times.
Truth telling is what it’s all about. Honoring your own truths about cancer or whatever you are dealing with.
Is there any other way? Umm, yeah…
Write For Life – Communicating Your Way Through Cancer is divided into three parts: Part One – Me: It’s All About Me! Part Two – You: It’s All About You! (and Me) and Part Three – Us: It’s All About Us (The World at Large).
Each section contains a little story, words of encouragement, general information or questions to get you thinking followed by writing prompts to get you closer to the goal – writing stuff down!
Admittedly, at first I was skeptical because I was waiting for the part where you are asked to write down how cancer has taught you such and such and how you are now a much better and wiser version of your former self.
That kind of thinking does not work for me. I reject the notion that cancer magically turns you into a better person.
No, the author instead encourages the reader to pay attention to her genuine feelings – whatever they might be. He goes so far as to call one exercise, Blood on the Page and says this:
“If you feel it, write it. If it hurts, say so. Why hold back? This is your life.”
Don’t you love that? I do.
There are also prompts for making practical lists and heaven knows, after a cancer diagnosis, we need some of those too.
Part two focuses on relationships and contains prompts to encourage writing about gratitude (for people not cancer), communicating with family members and doctors and improving active listening skills to name a few.
Part three has tips on how to actually write. The author offers tips on where to write, how to set a scene, the benefit of laughter and there’s also a snippet on editing along with a few suggestions on how to go about actually getting published.
So all in all, the book is a handy tool to get yourself writing more.
My only “complaint” is that at less than 100 pages, it’s almost too brief. I would have liked more exercises, especially in Part One, where the focus is on self-examination. You can get through the entire book pretty quickly, which come to think of it, after a cancer diagnosis is not a bad thing after all.
It’s also worth mentioning that this book is appropriate for anyone whose life has been impacted by cancer – definitely including caregivers, other family members and yes, the medical professionals too.
Finally, the following words from the book are ones I live by every single day when I sit down to write:
“Life changes in an instant. It can happen to any of us. Your story, poem, song or drawing may resonate for someone else in ways you can never imagine. Inside each of us is the potential to heal another through care, compassion and honest communication.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself!