On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Semester's end

I haven't read as much as usual in 2008, but one book I finished last week was Joan Didion's, THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING. The story of grief after the unexpected death of her husband -- when her daughter was in a coma in the hospital -- is moving beyond my own ability to describe. It's hard to enter in to another person's mourning, and even harder to share such private times, but this narrative does let us participate in gut-wrenching moments. I will pass it on to others in similar circumstances.

I finished the semester-long mixed media class. I don't know which pleases me more -- that I learned so much or the fact that I stuck it out and didn't panic and drop out this time. My book-length project was passed around and critiqued by the instructor and classmates with kindness, which I appreciate. I found it hard to listen to appreciative comments because, to me, almost every page was a disappointment. So I need to work on that and I need to just keep learning.

There is a full month before the next semester begins. I will draw my way through it, hopefully, and practice binding little books. My commitment to learning how to depict with accuracy and to keep my own sketchbooks continues to grow. My one envy is those who have a shelf full of books they've either made or filled -- or both -- so that gives me a project to work on in the new year.


  1. Anonymous10:14 AM

    Wow, you can be really, really proud, Barbara! What a grand feeling that must be, having completed the semester.

    A star for you, girl!


    (Awww, make that LOTS of stars. Really love the sea shells ~ they show such growth in your art, you can really feel proud.)


  2. i read this book also. I found it deep and sometimes depressing, but so necessary in a strange way. it was almost comforting to have someone describe the process so vividly and real - as if learning the truth was somehow freeing of the other scarey unknown feelings we might even exaggerate in imaginary grief scenarios. Hey, way to go finishing your semester. It is so encouraging to see someone like you continue to push yourself and learn new things!!

  3. Congrats to Demi - you both must have a feeling of accomplishment. I read The Year of Magical Thinking, by coincidence the same week a friend's husband died. I was very impressed by Didion's writing, her ability to put the "craziness" that grief induces into perspective. Happy holidays to you!


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