When I recently learned my youngest sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, I wondered what in the world I could do to help her so far away in Guatemala. One of our WiDo authors, David Kalish, helped me out. I immediately thought of him because in his book The Opposite of Everything, a semi-autobiographical novel, the main character gets a cancer diagnosis. Since Dave has been through it, I asked him his thoughts.
He wrote back to me: "I'm so sorry to hear about your sister, and I understand how you must feel being in Guatemala while she's in Minnesota, that you want to be there for her in whatever way you can. Although email communication has limits, it's also a way for you to use your strength as a writer, to be honest and strong for her in the way that only writers can be. And, of course, ask her how she wants you to support her, let her know that your heart is wide open for anything she needs and wants from you."
This was exactly what I needed to hear. When my mom had her stroke, I didn't email her during the last months of her life, stupidly not even thinking about it. I didn't want to make the same mistake with my sister. So I've been emailing regularly and although she's been too ill right now to respond, I was told that yes, "she reads your emails and loves them."
I asked one of my sons to use his particular talents to make a video clip of my sister. His clip so perfectly captures her as a young girl, with the child-like spirit she has kept fresh throughout her life.
And I have learned that regardless of how insignificant one might think a talent is, when it's used to bless others, a talent becomes very large indeed.
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf