Why The Wait?

Hello there! Thought I’d type up a little something to explain where the title for The Wait came from, and share my experience with the horror that the anthology is in aid of fighting.

So, nearly a year ago, my father took me into the kitchen, and we stood by the kettle (a spot often occupied in our family home). He was wearing one of his Harris tweed jackets (I forget which one) and his hair was grey, or more of a silver streaked with black (he’s since dyed it – ‘because f**k it’, which is frequently the best reason to do anything). He told me that my mother had to go back into hospital, following some tests to check for evidence of Marfan syndrome (fun fact – it’s very possible Abe Lincoln had this). However, whoever Marfan was, they had nothing to do with the next visit to the doctor – it was looking like cancer.

And cancer it was indeed. We had a few drinks, went to see The Lone Ranger (new one with Johnny Depp – surprisingly worth a look), and then there were more tests. One operation, which went well. Then, to make the most out of the operation going well, six months of chemotherapy, followed by five weeks of radiotherapy, which, at the time of writing, is nearly halfway done.

Now, I’ve summed up the Year Of Cancer (it’s not quite a year, but almost) in one paragraph there. Of course, in particular for my mother, it didn’t feel like the moment or so it took to read that paragraph at all. In most of our discussions about cancer and the treatment for it, one very prominent theme was waiting. Waiting for appointments to have tests done. Waiting for opinions on the results of those tests. Waiting for further tests. Waiting for good dates for the operation. Waiting at home when the chemotherapy ravaged Ma’s immune system so the smallest infection could prove incredibly dangerous. The wait for the sufficient amount of hair to fall out, and now the wait for the hair to grow back (it’s currently baby hair – a close friend of mine, who, thanks to that marvellous way the universe has of throwing things together has had an extraordinarily similar year to me, likens post-chemo regrowth hair the feel of a hamster). Cancer hits pause, makes time one of the obstacles, and for Ma that was the real issue – she’s an academically active, busy person. She’s a teacher, and here she was not being able to go into college and do that because of cancer and the treatment.

So, that’s where the title came in. I like to think that collections of poetry, like great albums, should often have fairly basic names. They’re a good jump on point for the reader, to ease them in and not feel like they’re going to get time-blasted back to their school days, where the analysis of the poetry felt more important than the enjoyment of it. And it is such a wonderful thing to enjoy.

Anyway, to wrap it up, I’d love to spread the word about this and get as many submissions as possible. Cancer is a classless, unbiased, unprejudiced stalker of just about everybody who’s ever lived (everyone knows someone, right?) and if we can do even just a little tiny thing to help fight it, that would be phenomenal. So share this around, people of the known universe. It all helps.

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