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Sunday, March 20, 2011

I’ve just finished reading The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a history of cancer and cancer research, written in a style that kept me engaged from the beginning. I knew very little about the subject going in, and lest you be thinking now that such a book would have to be more boring than mud, think again. The word I’d use to describe it (if I must stick to only one) is compassionate.  
In my teen years, my household lived with and in fear of cancer. First my mother’s mother, then my mom died from it. In fact, we know in hindsight that my mom already had brain cancer the spring and summer of my senior year in high-school when she was caring for her mom. As a young adult, I had so much anger about my mom’s cancer treatment.  I knew intuitively that the treatment was futile. I experienced directly the long-term mess it made of my family. This was the 70’s, and as I now know, cancer research and treatment was entrenched in its own version of suckville.  So imagine me, four decades later, finding a book in which early-on the author himself, an oncologist no less, describes cancer research and treatment of that era as having been plagued with, hubris! Wow, hubris as in “overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance”. My feelings exactly! How could I not be hooked?
Segue alert:  I have also finished reading Pam Carriker’s just-published book Art at the Speed of Life. Check out chapter 4, pages 80-81. Just check the whole book out.  There is a connection to what I wrote above. Trust me, there is.
Pam, Lisa Bebi and I will be holding a 3-day, small group art retreat this summer.  A major theme of the retreat is art as a vehicle to healing. The retreat will be in southern California near Lake Hodges on June 27, 28 and 29. It has been approved by the California BRN for 15 CEU’s.  Email me if you’d like more information.


  1. 'Hubris' is such a brilliant word isn't it!!! I am in the process of reading Pam's book, but keep getting distracted by the doing part!

    Your retreat sounds wonderful! Wish I could get there but alas not this time! I am in the midst of putting lots of the stuff from Paris in to my journal pages at the moment. It is amazing the things you find when you decide to tidy your desk!

  2. Make room for my swelled head! My suggestion of the theme "healing," is now mentioned in Pam's fabulous book!
    I was already excited about the workshop (as you know), and see from you FB post that you are going to cover the Paste Paper technique used to create that lovely book cover! I'm SOOO there!
    I've got to get back to "The Emporer of All Maladies." I was fired up at the outset, but had a hard time sticking with it. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Ooops...maybe I misread that. It's not quoted in the book, but mentioned on this blog...just as good!