Monday, May 23, 2022

 Hello All,

As I indicated in the postscript of my most recent posting, I am experiencing difficulties with Google and blogging. 

I tried to visit many of your blogs this past week, but I was unable to leave comments. 

Also, I cannot respond to comments you've left on my blog.

Today, while visiting DJan's nature/hiking blog, I tried to leave a comment (her hiking days always inspires me!) but, once again, was unable to do so.

However, a notification did come up that I'm sure will help me solve these two problems . . . if only I could understand what is being asked of me in the notification! 

As I've written before, I'm totally inept with computer technology.

BUT . . . my niece Linda, who holds down two jobs and so is busy, is a whiz-bang with computers. So, when she's here again (probably bringing me grocery ingredients for the fried rice I'm craving and want to prepare), I'm sure she'll figure all this out.

Until then,  I'm lying low, trying to write a new memoir. I've put aside the other two that I explored in the past two years. They simply refuse to be shaped into a story.

I'm excited about my new idea as it represents the attitude that I bring to life in this ninth decade of my span of years.

Moreover, I've discovered how to sit on the screened-in porch in this lovely springtime and use the talk-to-text aspect of my iPad (the "note" app). Then, I e-mail what I've spoken/written to this computer. 

Thus, I now have a combination of leisure and work--a combination that gives me great pleasure as I can look at nature while telling a story. 

Also, of course, this is good for my vision as when I'm "talking the story aloud," I'm not focusing on the screen. So this new method is truly a winner!

As soon as Linda comes and figures out how I can leave comments on your postings and respond to comments on mine, I'll be back to enjoying what you all write about as you share your lives. 

Take care. Please be gracious to yourselves and know that you all have become so dear to me.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Review of Memoir "Two More Years"

“What do you do?”


That’s the most common thing we ask—or so it seems to me—when first meeting someone. Generally, we mean, “What work do you do?” The answer helps us place the person in a category with others who do the same work. It gives us a starting point for discussion.


We could ask, “What’s your favorite movie?” Or, “What hobby do you enjoy?” Or, “What’s your best memory? Your worse?” The list goes on, depending on our own interests, our willingness to hear, “It’s none of your business,” or our ability to hear . . . and see . . . beyond the mask many of us wear. 


The questions, the answers for which I find myself most interested at this stage of my life, is “What do you ‘be’?” 


And “Do you be grateful for being?”


And “What have you learned in being?”


It is these three questions that are the main threads in the tapestry of events that make up the recently published memoir Two More Years by E. C. Stilson.


A memoir about living with Stage 4 melanoma of the bone may sound—and could be—a downer. A real deep down dark downer! However, Two More Years uplifts this reader, who is, admittedly, a friend of the author. 


At least that’s what happened when I read the memoir before bed during the last week. I read only a chapter or two at a time—not because of vision constraints but because my mind needed to consider, perhaps ponder, the story, the attitude, the experience, the philosophy of life, the gift the author was sharing with me.


Before reading her words, I knew first-hand that Elisa does not want to be defined by cancer. And yet, how can she not be for what she is experiencing is a defining moment in her life. A moment, which, like the 2020 Pandemic, halves our lives into “before” and “after.” 


In this defining moment that spans what? Weeks? Months? Years? Elisa has chosen to take the definition and flip it. Turn it on its head. She lets us know what cancer has done, is doing, may do to her body and to her sense of self. It is that she shares with us. That is, she lets us know what it has taken from her . . . and her family. 


Then, in almost each chapter, she shares with us what this insidious disease has given to her. It takes; it gives, just as any disease does. This memoir explores both the taking and the giving. As well, it reveals to us the possibilities of growth in the human spirit through the journey into the dark caverns of possibly a terminal illness. 


Yes, that journey, but also another: the journey into the glades of gratitude that await someone whose essence has been and continues to be that of joy.


My experience of Elisa is that she is like the sun. By that I mean that the sun lights up the day. When she comes into a room, she lights it up. She radiates joy and lifts our spirits—in life and in language.


 Throughout the memoir, she relates how the disease is progressing: when it retreats; when it advances; when it teases with expectations and when it disappoints with the advent of new tumors, new scans, new immunotherapy, new prognoses. 


It’s all there: the fear and the sorrow as well as the hope and the faith.


But what is also there—what is the main thrust of the story—is the realization on her part that she is One with everyone she meets. Twice before in these postings, I’ve quoted Philo of Alexandria who said, two millennia ago, “Be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting a great battle.” 


Elisa’s memoir uplifts instead of downloads. That is, she relates how again and again in the past months she has met someone who seemed to have a life much more “charming” than hers. Must less fragile. And, through conversation, listening, and opening her heart to possibilities, she finds that the person also is fighting “a great battle.” 


And aren’t we all? 


In some way, at some time in the span of our life, we fight a battle that can temper the steel of our being. What I find in her memoir—Two More Years (the prognosis given her in November 2020)—is that her tempering has led to great gratitude and a deep appreciation for the Oneness that connects us to all engaged in the battle to find, at the deep center of ourselves/the wellspring, the fortitude to embrace the moment, to live in the present, and to sing—yes, sing!—of the Holy Oneness of All Creation. 


That is, to understand that all of us are united in the quest to find the praise of gratitude. 




PS: I’d give you a link for Elisa’s memoir on Amazon, but Google, to which I’m tied with this blog, seems to have done something that (1) doesn’t permit me to link and (2) doesn’t permit me to leave comments. I’m not sure whether you will be able to leave comments. But no worry, no sweat. Let’s just take wish the best to one another.