Getting Back To It

Posted by: Sarah Baker on Jul 1 2012, 11:56 am in , , ,

Facing mortality has interesting results. I’ve faced it before years ago—when setting sail from Magadan, Siberia in a tugboat, and when getting lost in a snowy Alaskan wilderness—but most of my encounters have been relatively quick ones. (When you’re in a Russian tugboat bouncing through 40-foot waves on the open ocean, however, 12 hours feels like a lifetime. Trust me.) This past October, I heard the news many of us dread: that I had breast cancer.

 Nothing was as I expected. “Simple surgeries” are tougher to recover from when you’re over 50 than they probably are at a younger age. And chemo isn’t nearly as horrible as I thought it would be. The process reminds me a lot of The Matrix—everyone sitting around plugged in. Weird. I’m one of the lucky ones: I have one chemo treatment left, will be cancer free, and have insurance. Lucky on all counts! I still have 5 years of taking a pill every day, but that’s a breeze. (And it means plenty of chances to visit with my cute, Syrian, newlywed doctor who is anxious to be included in a book.)

 The biggest thing is that while traveling this road, I haven’t been as frightened as I expected to be. I recall reading The Way of the Peaceful Warrior when I was a teenager. I understand it more now than I did then. And I’m able to enjoy life more now that I no longer worry as much about the end of it. It will end for all of us; it’s truly important to enjoy every moment we can.

 So why am I writing all this? Because one of the things I’ve appreciated the most through this whole process had been reading. (I know, no big surprise. Writers read.) I’ve read everything from David Copperfield to short stories, with a variety of books in between (including some by my amazing LERA buddies – you gals rock!). The thing it reinforced in me is the belief that it doesn’t matter what you write as long as you tell the best story you can. The words you write today may very well be the words that help a stranger make it through a really crappy day in the future. And that’s a big deal! We sometimes forget that while working alone in our writing rooms, we’re really touching people’s lives.

 Another thing I’ve learned is that when someone is stuck at home sick, it really helps to email them, call them, message them on Facebook, and all the wonderful things my friends have done. Thank you!

 For me, I look forward to getting back to it. I wrote the first words in months not long ago, and it felt grrrreat! I just hope those words turn into a really good story.


Return to Marshall's Bayou

Sarah Baker writes romance as Sarah Storme, mystery as S.H. Baker, and erotica as Lydia Parks. Her latest audio mystery, Return to Marshall’s Bayou, was an Audie 2012 finalist!


9 responses to “Getting Back To It”

  1. Gabi Stevens says:

    Facing a diagnosis also frees up the writing, as in, I will write what I want, the way I want. At least that’s what I found.

  2. Tammy Baumann says:

    Sarah, we’re all so lucky to be part of your life. I have been so impressed with the positive way you’ve handled this. You attacked it head-on, and you did it with a smile. ;0)

    Wonderful advice as well. Sometimes we get caught up in the stupid little details of life rather than take a moment to be thankful for what we have. One of those being having friends like you.

    Good luck with the writing, I’ve no doubt what comes next will be fantastic as always.

  3. Jeffe Kennedy says:

    Excellent post, Sarah. You’re right – it’s easy to forget what reading books means to us during those difficult times. Looking forward to seeing where those first words go now!

  4. Sarah Baker says:

    Thank you, Tammy and Jeffe. You all are too sweet! And Gabi, yes, I completely agree with you.

  5. This is a keeper. Thanks, Sarah!

  6. ~*~Barb~*~ says:

    Wonderful piece, Sarah. 🙂
    It’s nice getting back into the swing, too.

  7. Robin Perini says:

    Sarah…what a wonderful post. You have inspired all of us over the last months. You met your challenges with what can only be described as an amazing attitude.

    And your words about books and stories…what a wonderful gift and reminder to all of us who strive to tell stories. My heart swelled with every sentence. Thank you! I can’t wait to read your next story!


  8. Tia says:

    You are auch an increduble amazing woman. And I couldn’t agree more about our words being powerful for other people. I can’t wait to see you at next months meeting!!

  9. Sarah, sorry so late to chime in here, but many congrats on getting back to writing. So glad you’re through the worst of the treatment phase.

    Love this: “We sometimes forget that while working alone in our writing rooms, we’re really touching people’s lives.”

    I’m sure you have many, many more great stories in you, and I look forward to having them lift my spirits on some future crappy day. 🙂

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