Fresh Ink: My Body: A List

A large house sits at the top of a hill, with a long sidewalk leading to its door. There are two smaller buildings in the same style on either side and leaves on the ground.

In Unspoken Ink, one of our most popular programs here at Cactus Cancer Society, our participants write in response to prompts, ranging from pictures to quotes to poetry. We are proud to share the work of our writers here on our blog, including this piece, which is part of a series entitled Fresh Ink.

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Fresh Ink: The Jellyfish

The images of blue jellyfish stand out against black watery background.

In Unspoken Ink, one of our most popular programs here at Cactus Cancer Society, our participants write in response to prompts. We are proud to share the work of our writers here on our blog, including this piece, which is part of a series entitled Fresh Ink.

Continue reading

Join Our Next Survivorship Series for YAs Between 18 and 25

Are you between the ages of 18 and 25?! Join us for our next Survivorship Series! In case you haven’t heard of it yet, the Survivorship Series is essentially our favorite programs all wrapped up into one!

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Join The Next Creative Writing Workshop

journal on desk with coffee and pen

The next Writing Workshop is now forming!  Sign up on the form below!

The next session will start on Thursday, April 8th, meeting each Thursday at 4:30 pm PT / 6:30 pm CT / 7:30 pm ET for 2 hours via video chat.

Our online, Unspoken Ink: Creative Writing Workshop is designed to take you on a journey through your cancer diagnosis and into your survivorship with a small group of your young adult cancer survivor peers. Each 8-week Writing Workshop consists of a weekly writing night attended via online video chat. We will get to know one another in an intimate, 18 person setting and address issues that transport us from initial diagnosis into the new normal and survivorship.  To learn more about the method we use, go here!

Where: Online video chat. We’ll send you more information about joining after you register. Please have a microphone headset and a webcam.

Who: Young adult cancer survivors and caregivers.

When: The writing group meets for 2 hours each week, for 8 weeks. A commitment to attend each week is important to group continuity and in creating a safe space. Please be on time 🙂

Join A Morning Writing Workshop

woman writing

We have another Unspoken Ink: Young Adult Cancer Creative Writing Workshop scheduled!

This online workshop starts Wednesday, October 21st and will meet on Wednesdays at 9:30-11:30 am PT / 11:30 am-1:30 pm CT / 12:30-2:30 pm ET for 8 weeks.  The group will consist of 18 young adult cancer survivors and caregivers.  Sign up here!

Our online, Unspoken Ink: Creative Writing Workshop is designed to take you on a journey through your cancer diagnosis and into your survivorship with a small group of your young adult cancer patient/survivor peers. Each 8-week Writing Workshop consists of a weekly writing night attended via online video chat. We will get to know one another in an intimate, 18 person setting and address issues that transport us from initial diagnosis into the new normal and survivorship.  Want a lot more info on how the Writing Workshop works?  Go here!

Where: Online video chat. We’ll send you more information about joining a few days before the workshop begins. Please have a microphone headset and a webcam.

Who: Young adult cancer patients/survivors and young adult cancer caregivers.

(Lacuna Loft considers anyone diagnosed with cancer, at any stage of the experience, to be a survivor!)

When: The writing group meets for 2 hours each week, for 8 weeks. A commitment to attend each week is important to group continuity and in creating a safe space. Please be on time 🙂

Want even more info?  Go here!

Writing Workshops Are Announced!

We have announced two writing workshops starting this month!

Unspoken Ink Express (formerly One Night Write) is a 2-hour, one-night version of our Unspoken Ink: Young Adult Cancer Creative Writing Workshop.  It is scheduled for Sept 24th, 4-6 pm PT / 6-8 pm CT / 7-9 pm ET. Sign up here!  You do not need to have participated in a full Unspoken Ink workshop to attend the Unspoken Ink Express.  See it as a way of trying out the full workshop, without the 8-week time commitment!

The Fall 2020 Session of the Unspoken Ink: Young Adult Cancer Creative Writing Workshop starts Tuesday, September 29th, and will meet on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm PT / 6:30 pm CT / 7:30 pm ET for 2 hours for 8 weeks! The group will consist of 15 young adult cancer survivors and caregivers. Sign up here!

More info on Unspoken Ink:

Our online, Unspoken Ink: Creative Writing Workshop is designed to take you on a journey through your cancer diagnosis and into your survivorship with a small group of your young adult cancer patient/survivor peers. Each 8-week Writing Workshop consists of a weekly writing night attended via online video chat. We will get to know one another in an intimate, 18 person setting and address issues that transport us from initial diagnosis into the new normal and survivorship.

Where: Online video chat. We’ll send you more information about joining after you register. Please have a microphone headset and a webcam.

Who: Young adult cancer patients/survivors and young adult cancer caregivers.

(Lacuna Loft considers anyone diagnosed with cancer, at any stage of the experience, to be a survivor!)

When: The writing group meets for 2 hours each week, for 8 weeks. A commitment to attend each week is important to group continuity and in creating a safe space. Please be on time 🙂

Want even more info?  Go here!

Mother’s Love

crib mobile

I will never know a mother’s love. Let me be clear, because this is not about MY mother. For as long as I can remember, I knew that I did not want children. I did not have a single shred of desire to be a mother. I am sure that being a mother is great, in the same way that eating a raw onion and garlic salad would be just lovely for some people. I am not one of those people.

Motherhood never interested me in the slightest. For me, pregnancy seems unpleasant. I was accidently there at the moment my nephew was born, and I swear my ovaries jumped out of my belly button and ran away. I mean sure, not-so-baby nephew is adorable as are all of my nephews and nieces. But the single best part for me is that being an aunt means I can spoil them rotten, pack them full of Oreos and ice cream, and send them home. I love those kids, but they are not born of me.

Through this cancer journey, I’ve become aware of certain things that make me very lucky in unusual ways. I was already in a position where I had been permanently sterilized. I did not have any fertility to preserve or lose. When the social worker brought it up, I was almost dismissive, which probably seemed cold and insensitive, but I had just found out I had incurable brain cancer, and frankly, my uterus has always been more trouble than it was worth. Not only was I lucky that this was a non-issue for me, but as I became more involved in the cancer community, especially the young adult groups, my eyes were opened to a major emotional blind spot that I had simply never noticed. When I noticed this blind spot, I had a moment of despair, not for the children I would never have, but for the cancer survivors, my close friends, who I knew desperately wanted children and had the option ripped away from them, often literally cut out of their future. Inside of them lives the evil of cancer and the everflowing fountain of love for children who will only ever exist as tragic ghosts hiding in the deepest corners of regret.

I see my sisters and brother, and the neverending love they have for those children. They sacrifice, they give everything to make their children’s lives better every day, all night. I honestly don’t know that I could do that. Raising a family is hard, and knowing just how hard my own mother worked is humbling. Am I just too selfish to be a mother? Maybe some people just aren’t meant to be mothers. In the meantime, my cancer journey has revealed a special secret to me. Some people have that overflowing abundance of mother’s love. I have somehow been blessed to have acquired additional mothers over the past year. My friends’ mothers look out for me. They love and support me like I am one of their own. COVID quarantine keeps visits rare, but they reach out in a way that makes me feel the abundance of mother’s love. I will never know mother’s love as a mother, and although that makes me wonder what legacy I will leave behind, I know that there is so much love flowing from mothers that I never have to feel alone. To all of my mothers, near and far, I love you as only a daughter can.

– Melissa Mateo Blank

How would you respond to the writing prompt, the image of a crib mobile?

This writing comes directly from one of our participants in our Unspoken Ink Creative Writing Group for young adult cancer survivors.  The participants met for 2 hours each week, for 8 weeks during our Spring 2020 session.  This writing has not been edited since its original creation, showing the wonderfully raw and powerful prose coming from the courageous writing group participants each week.  If you’d like to sign up for future sessions, please email info@lacunaloft.org or sign up on our interest form.

If Life Is A Bingo Game

bingo head

If life is a bingo game, I wish the bingo caller would stop calling out the angry ball.

I’m angry at the way the world is working.

I’m angry at myself for a million reasons.

I’m angry that I get so angry at myself.

I’m angry that I’ve wasted time on that anger.

I’m angry for expressing my anger, when it seems like there should and could have been another avenue for me to drive down.

I would love to wake up, splash water on my face, make myself a pot of coffee and feel delighted. When’s the last time you heard someone say “I’m delighted”? That would be delightful; an earnest contentment that sounds effortless but seems like so much hard work to achieve on most days. I would love to meet someone and be in awe of them and as they walk away, think out loud to myself “they are just a delight”.

If life is a bingo game and it feels like the bingo caller is calling out “miserable” all the time, maybe it is time to quit that job.

I would love to win a bingo game just once. The momentary rush of excitement. Quickly exclaiming BINGO!!! before someone beats me to it. Holy shit, that would just be a delight.

– Steve Heaviside

How would you respond to the writing prompt, the bingo emotions?

This writing comes directly from one of our participants in our Unspoken Ink Creative Writing Group for young adult cancer survivors.  The participants met for 2 hours each week, for 8 weeks during our Spring 2020 session.  This writing has not been edited since its original creation, showing the wonderfully raw and powerful prose coming from the courageous writing group participants each week.  If you’d like to sign up for future sessions, please email info@lacunaloft.org or sign up on our interest form.