Spotlight Blog: Writing Through Cancer
In the wake of natural disasters, national tragedies, and international conflicts, social media has served as a vessel not just for factual news but personal thoughts and responses. As we all know, information from across the globe spreads faster now as do the opinions of bloggers on the happenings from politics to humanitarian crises. But what about writing about our own personal tragedies? There is the classic set-up of a handwritten journal, but even then it can be difficult to figure out what to write about. Once you are out of school, the idea of taking direction from others in one’s own writing can seem like an uncalled-for assignment. And hey, who wants homework once they are out of school? However, when a writing prompt serves as part of the healing process for personal adversities it seems less like an assignment and more like a medicine.
“Writing Through Cancer” is a blog started by Sharon Bray, an author, writer and teacher who uses writing as a way to help cancer victims and their loved ones heal through the art of writing. Her project originally began as a website, and developed into a well-frequented blog with weekly writing prompts serving to inspire therapeutic writing. Others are free to comment on the posts, but your own responses to the prompts are for your personal healing process. The writing prompts are prefaced by an expository blog post, and the entries are kept available for several weeks as a reference.
The most recent post relates the recent natural catastrophe in Japan to the same feelings of “disbelief and sorrow” that arise when we deal with the news of any “sudden tragedy”. The power of social media allows those going through these personal disasters to know that even in the aftermath of events larger than life, it is important to continue to deal with personal tribulations.
Another element of the blog is the section “Cancer in Our Words: Survivors Write”, where members of the Stanford Cancer Center writing group have offered to share their pieces relating to the C-word. This is a group which supports men and women, as well as their loved ones, who have recently been diagnosed with cancer. The group meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California and is open to any of these brave individuals in the area. The pieces in this section range from poetry to prose, and serve as an outlet for those interested in reading more individual perspectives.
We all know about national news websites, celebrity gossip blogs, and the infamous Facebook, but the average internet user’s needs are a bit more complex than just those sites. Writing as a form of therapy is a broad idea, but seek and ye shall find outlets for even the most personal hardships. “Writing Through Cancer” is digital proof that Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only one with a great social media idea.
Check out the blog at http://writingthroughcancer.wordpress.com/ every week for a new writing prompt!