I hired an assistant today, and promptly put him to work.   Chris is working on the library organization (it’s a big job and it won’t get finished today). I worked with him for the first hour, to answer questions and make sure he was on track, then broke to have lunch and do a little gardening, then checked in with him again (still good, reminded him to eat lunch), then went to go put away some laundry, but first opened FB and saw a time-sensitive call for subs that immediately sparked an idea in my mind.
So I sat down and wrote 1500 words in an hour and submitted it, and I don’t know if it’ll get picked up or not, but if it does, that’s $350, and if it doesn’t, it’s another piece for the memoir, and either way I’d say having Chris here has already paid for itself today. Woot.


Here’s a teaser, although the essay’s mostly not actually about cancer, oddly enough:

“During cancer treatment, I cleaned my own house instead of calling the charity that cleans houses for chemo patients. I cooked for my children. I drove myself to chemo treatments, unwilling to ask anyone else. Until the day a cop pulled me over because I was driving twice the speed limit and hadn’t even noticed. He asked what was going on, and I said, “I’m going to chemo” and burst into tears. We hold ourselves together on the surface, but there are storms raging underneath, violence slamming against the foundations of our sense of self.

I stopped driving myself to chemo after that. I even let people – strangers, friends — bring me trays of mac-and-cheese and broccoli for the kids. I couldn’t really eat by then, with everything tasting like metal, nothing tasting good. I was living on cans of Campbell’s chicken-and-stars, the only thing that seemed halfway palatable. I tried to go for a walk around the block with my husband, and had to turn back before we’d gotten to the first corner, the exhaustion dragging at my bones. I am one of those hyper-competent people who invests a tremendous amount of pride in her own competence. I had to be almost at the point of total collapse before I was willing to admit that there was anything wrong, that I needed help.”

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