What NOT to write to cancer patients – please

Having had cancer twice myself, I cringe sometimes at the comments well-meaning people write on social media to a friend or acquaintance who is “battling” cancer. Encouraged by the tabloid media who love to dramatise cancer even more than it deserves, with “gruelling treatments,” “terrifying surgery,” “fighting for their life” and other exaggerated clichés, commenters tend to turn someone’s cancer journey into World War 3.

how not to write to cancer survivors

Much as the media love these terms, we cancer survivors never talk about “cancer-free” or “all-clear.” With cancer, you learn never to think “never.”

Some comments that may not do as much good as you’d like, and why …

“You’re strong – you’ll beat it!” Unfortunately cancer doesn’t discriminate about who it hits – it can occur in the fittest of athletes as easily as it can in someone who is physically weak. [Read more…]

Happy Thanksgiving, USA!

Have a wonderful Holiday!

Thanksgiving greetings

 

Be careful when carving the turkey…Cartoon about Thanksgiving

 

And don’t go too wild on Black Friday!

Thanksgiving article

 

 

What to write to someone who is depressed

This article is not about the professionals’ answers on how to deal with depression. It’s about how we as ordinary people should react when faced with a friend or family member who is dealing with it: the professionals are the next step, if necessary. In the meantime, how can we help our friend appropriately?

How to handle depression in a friend

The most important thing to your friend at this point is just to know you’re there for them

What about your initial response to a friend who is depressed?

[Read more…]

Writing from the heart – and by hand

Do you groan when you have to address an envelope by hand, or write something in a greeting card? Or do you welcome the chance to express your true self through personally-penned words rather than use the impersonal blandness of a keyboard?

Writing from the heart – and by hand

How many of us remember how to write by hand – neatly?

Recently I was chatting to my good friend Sarah Sibley who runs a business offering the most gorgeous personalised stationery, and we got on to the subject of handwriting and how today it has become almost a novelty in a world of text generated by keyboards that make everyone’s written communication look identical.

Much as I love the online environment because it offers so many varied opportunities to communicate via the written word, I can’t help wondering if its sheer “high-tech-ness” isn’t slowly strangling the poetry and romance out of writing that I, like all children born in the Ming Dynasty, experienced when writing before the digital age. [Read more…]

Writing From The Heart – goodbye, my young friend

If you’ve lost a close friend or family member to cancer, this poem of mine may resonate with you. I wrote it about our beautiful 37-year-old cancer group member who passed away in 2017, leaving behind an 8-year-old daughter.

My language is rude as usual, but this time I don’t apologise other than asterisking out the rudest words. I was angry, as we all are at such a cruel curtailment of a young life.

Writing From The Heart: goodbye, my young friend

RIP Deb, whose favourite colour was blue.

DEATH

Who knows when your number’s up.
Three score years and ten, and then? [Read more…]

How to write a better cliché – Writing From The Heart

We’re all using clichés like this at the moment and the repetitiveness is making my teeth itch. In this edition of “Writing From The Heart” we take a humorous but nonetheless heart-felt look at how our current clichés are letting us down, and how we can come up with better and stronger alternatives.

How to write a better cliche - some ideas for words that express current sentiments more accurately than some currently in use (humor!)

Unicorns: fat little grey Shetland ponies tarted up with tinsel and a conical piece of plastic tubing stuck on to their browbands.

If the following make your teeth itch, too, read on and we’ll all have a good scratch…while checking out some more sensible alternatives…!

Do you write and speak these Clichés du Jour?

[Read more…]

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