Of Power and Poison

Words of wisdom from The Secret Garden (a recovery must-read):

In each century since the beginning of the world wonderful things have been discovered. In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before. In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light. At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can’t be done, then they see it can be done — then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts — just mere thoughts — are as powerful as electric batteries — as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live
.

So long as Colin shut himself up in his room and thought only of his fears and weakness and his detestation of people who looked at him and reflected hourly on humps and early death, he was a hysterical, half-crazy little hypochondriac who knew nothing of the sunshine and the spring, and also did not know that he could get well and stand upon his feet if he tried to do it. When new, beautiful thoughts began to push out the old, hideous ones, life began to come back to him, his blood ran healthily through his veins, and strength poured into him like a flood… Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought come into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.

Where you tend a rose, my lad
A thistle cannot grow.

The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911.

The Warrior Theme

I can’t help sharing again here a sampling of this absolutely overwhelming and magical show of support (we originally posted at our JustOneMoreBook! children’s literature/literacy site). Thank you Mark and Thank you to all the fabulous creative friends who are supporting me! xoxo

The day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Mark sent a personal email to every one of the 220 interview guests of Just One More Book!! asking each if they would leave a voice message on our hotline sending me good wishes. Mark’s plan was to create a CD of audio messages I could listen to during recovery from surgery and during my chemotherapy treatments.

The messages started to pour in immediately (Henry Winkler responded first, within minutes). In all, 126 messages came from authors, illustrators, librarians and publishers from around the world (including England, Spain and Israel) and ranged from newcomers to celebrities.

Many of the messages were more than just good wishes. Some people recited poems or sang songs they wrote specially for me. Some related their own experiences with cancer and others offered to speak on the phone anytime I wanted someone to talk to. An overwhelming 75 minutes of audio! Plus, I received a number of packages in the mail — handwritten cards with original artwork, t-shirts, books, CDs and other gifts. I even received two “bionic” candy apples.

In fact, we received so many messages that Mark realized he needed to create a summary audio clip for me so I could get a quick hit of support and energy any time I needed it. The result is an audio collage called The Warrior Theme packaged over Sunshine and Starlight, a fantastic instrumental by Bjork Ostrom.

There are too many names to transcribe and link to from this post. Instead, listen carefully to everyone who so generously contributed, many of whom continued to send kind wishes and check-in messages throughout this challenge to date.

With all these creative beams shining in on us, we’re sure to sail smoothly to a swift, complete and permanant recovery!

Get Well Wishes from some Rock Stars of Reading

We treasure this touching Get Well message and can’t help sharing it again here (we originally posted at our JustOneMoreBook! children’s literature/literacy site)…

Our friend author Richard Michelson arranged and sent us this amazing video Get Well message which was filmed on November 8, 2009 during the 20th Annual Children’s Illustration Show at the Richard Michelson gallery. The video features an incredible gathering of authors and illustrators sending get well soon wishes to me. How cool is that?!

A huge Thank you to everyone who beamed us these good wishes and to Richard for the beautiful sentiment. We missed you this year and we’ll be there for sure in 2010!

YouTube Preview Image

Front Row: Heidi Stemple, Rebecca Guay, Jane Dyer, Jeanne Birdsall, Diane deGroat, Barbara Diamond Goldin, Nonny Hogrogian, Susan Yard Harris.
Second Row: Brooke Dyer, Shelley Rotner, Norton Juster, Jane Yolen, Lesléa Newman, Brian Karas, Barry Moser, Susan Pearson, Anna Alter, Alice Schertle.
Third Row: Wendell Minor, Jeff Mack, Rich Michelson, Kathy Brown, Nancy Sippel Carpenter, Jeannine Atkins, David Kherdian.
Back Row: Carol Weiss, Mo Willems, Scott Fischer, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Mordicai Gerstein, Paul Jacobs.

A Rallying Cry (today is chemo #2)

A rallying cry from the reluctant hero of Zorgamazoo:

Now, sometimes you lose and sometimes you win,
but my Pop always told me: You never give in!
And if he were here now, I know what he’d say:
Morty, my son, when you’re caught in a fray,

or your travels are tough and the going is rough,
or you’re up to your neck in the slippery stuff,
or say some old robots are on the attack,
then I tell you, my son: You start fighting back!.

Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston
RazorBill, 2008.

Reflections on Family

“Why does she want me?” Coraline asked the cat. “Why does she want me to stay here with her?”

“She wants something to love, I think,” said the cat. “Something that isn’t her. She might want something to eat as well. It’s hard to tell with creatures like that.”

The other mother shook her head, very slowly. “Sharper than a serpent’s tooth,” she said, “is a daughter’s ingratitude. Still, the proudest spirit can be broken, with love.” And her long white fingers waggled and caressed the air.


from
Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
HarperTrophy, 2002