Saturday, March 12, 2011

Writing SURVIVING RECURRENCE with a Bungee Cord

I really slept late this morning. By late, I mean well past 12:00--noon. I was up well past 2:00am finishing two more chapters in my second book, SURVIVING RECURRENCE. (Many 2s and wells there. Synchronicity?)

Once I am "in the zone" it's difficult to break my concentration and stop typing. "Leave the rest for tomorrow," is not in my vocabulary. By mid-chapter, I am driven. Forget food and water, I'm content in my self-inflicted jail cell.

This driven feeling is more than work ethic or time restraint. It is emotionally based. I must pull painful memories out of hibernation, (often kicking and screaming,) from behind locked mental doors, convert them into word and sew them to page before they can snap back into the dark bowels of my mind like a bungee cord. It is much like reluctantly remembering a nightmare months after having had it--a struggle on many levels.

So why would I inflict such masochism on myself? How does that saying go? "Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it."

I used my notes from my first battle with breast cancer to help me live through stage 4 the second time. Those journals and memories, became my first book, SURVIVING CANCERLAND.

My story is unconventional, but not unique. Doctors are human. Scientific tests are only as accurate as the people who perform and read them. Life is not infallible.

My second book is more than halfway complete because I have my own style of cutting out my literary pattern and sewing it together with a running stitch that can be removed to make adjustments.

I write the beginning and ending of my book--then fill in the middle. By using this technique, I always know where I am and where I'm going with a story that is filled with impassioned twists and turns. It gives me a mental edge--no floundering around in the dark while retrieving dark memories. I never feel like I have wandered off the books path. Rather than holding one tread of the story's line in my mind, I have two. This extra balance anchors my writing so I can interject humor yet not wander away from the serious nature of the main theme.

I've found that writing a book is much like sewing a garment. Somewhere between the beginning and the end product, areas no longer fit. Some seams must be let out, others taken in, and extra material trimmed. But, I always save my scraps! They could be the collar of another adventure.

About the Author- Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos has penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND and is working on her second book, SURVIVING RECURRENCE. She is a phone counselor for the R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation, a mentor for WE CAN, a contributor to Cape Women On Line Magazine & c4women, blogs on cancer,medical, literary, and spiritual pages listed on her website, and volunteers for many organizations and online cancer groups. Follower her @ website, @, @