Welcome back to Lamon Reviews. Today we are spotlighting the book AGAIN: Surviving Cancer Twice With Love and Lists by Christine Shields Corrigan.
We have an interview with todays author and a giveaway you are able to enter.
“Cancer cannot cripple love, it cannot shatter hope, it cannot conquer the spirit.”
Book Title: Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists
Author: Christine Shields Corrigan
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 256 pages
Publisher: Koehler Books
Release date: Oct 2020
Content Rating: PG-13. My book has some profanity and one non-explicit sex scene with my husband.
A breast cancer diagnosis at forty-nine forces Christine Shields Corrigan, a wife, mom, and meticulous list-maker, to confront her deepest fears of illness, death, and loss of control as she struggles to face cancer again. From the discovery of a “junky” cyst, to chemotherapy and surgery, sleepless nights filled with rosaries and “what ifs,” and shifting family dynamics, her adult experience mirrors her teen bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with one exception—she no longer has parents keeping her in the dark.
With the ghosts of cancer past hovering around her, Chris falls into the same overprotective traps her taciturn Irish-Catholic parents created, striving to keep her family’s life “normal,” when it is anything but, and soldiering through on her own, until a neighbor’s unexpected advice and gift move her to accept others’ help. With fierce honesty, poignant reflection, and good humor, Chris shares a journey filled with sorrow, grace, forgiveness, and resilience, as she winds her way through cancer for the second time. Again offers practical guidance and hope to individuals that they have the strength to forge a path beyond a diagnosis.
Christine Shields Corrigan is a two-time cancer survivor, wife, mom, and author of Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists. In addition to Again , Chris has published a number of lyrical and practical essays where she gives voice to the beautiful ordinary. Her work about family, illness, writing, and resilient survivorship has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and other publications including, The Brevity Blog, Grown & Flown, Horn Pond Review, The Potato Soup Journal and Anthology, Purple Clover, Ravishly.com, Wildfire Magazine, and the Writer’s Circle 2 Anthology.
Chris’ essay, “Not Back to But Forward,” about how her cancer experiences helped her cope with COVID-19 is included in (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic (edited by Joanell Serra and Amy Roost), an anthology that draws together the stories of 52 women across the US during the Covid-19 pandemic (March 2021). A graduate of Manhattan College and Fordham University School of Law, Chris built a successful career as a labor and employment law attorney and as a legal writer and editor. After surviving cancer in midlife, Chris became a freelance writer. She also teaches creative nonfiction writing for an adult education program, provides writing workshops for cancer support groups, and is the chair of the programming committee of the Morristown Festival of Books. She lives in New Jersey with her family.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ instagram
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Enter the Giveaway:
📚Author Interview with Christine Shields Corrigan📚
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for most of my life, but I like to say my I came to my writing career early and again much later. I started writing when I was in treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a teenager in 1981. I kept a journal about the experience. I wrote a lot of angsty poetry as a teen and into college. Terrible stuff.
After I started my career as a lawyer, I didn’t have a lot of time to write creatively other than keeping travel journals or family scrapbooks, though I wrote a lot as an attorney. I left practice in 2004 and decided to run my own legal writing/editing business and did marketing writing for law firms—articles, newsletters, and later, web content on legal developments.
I returned to creative writing following my breast cancer diagnosis in 2016. I spent a year in treatment and came to a crossroads as I turned fifty and had to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up—whether I wanted to return to law or my legal marketing business, or whether I wanted to do something entirely different, like write a book.
But, I knew that, before I could write a book, I had to take classes to learn to do that, and I did. I went to writing conferences and workshops. I read a lot of craft books. I joined a writing group, and over time, wrote and edited my way to a completed manuscript, Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists.
What made you decide to write a book about cancer?
I decided to write Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists for several reasons, both internal and external. The easiest external reason is that I wrote Again because my surgical nurse navigator asked me to write a “list” of helpful tips or tricks I’d learned going through breast cancer treatment that she could share with other patients. She really wanted a list. But, once I started writing, I couldn’t stop and three months later I had more than a list. I had ten essays for her.
Those essays became the backbone of Again.Another reason I wrote Again is when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I searched for a book that would serve as a trail map, so to speak, to help guide me through the experience. In my search, I found plenty of books written by medical professionals about cancer, its diagnosis, and treatment. I found celebrity cancer narratives. I found beautiful memoirs about the meaning of life written by individuals who died—from cancer.
I found plenty of pink, inspirational guidebooks and journals. I didn’t find those books helpful. So I decided to write my own in the hope that when other individuals hear: “I’m sorry, you have cancer,” some of my experiences may resonate and help them. I wanted Again to read like a conversation with a trusted friend—honest, true, and frank, particularly with respect to the profound changes that breast cancer causes to one’s feminine and sexual identity.
As I started writing, I realized I couldn’t just tell the breast cancer story. I had to tell my teenage Hodgkin’s lymphoma story as well. That required a great deal of digging deep and coming to terms with some unpleasant memories, but it made for a more rounded and I think relatable story. By weaving my past into my present, Again became more than a book about cancer. It became a book about hope, strength, and resilience.
“Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.”
— Susan Taylorhttps://parade.com/1178471/michelleparkerton/inspirational-cancer-quotes/
What is your next project?
I’m excited to participate in a project called: (Her)oics: Women’s Lived Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic, edited by Joanell Serra and Amy Roost, which released on March 11, 2021 by Pact Press.
The anthology draws together the stories of fifty-two women across the US during the pandemic, including Not Back To, But Forward, my essay about how my cancer experiences helped me cope with COVID-19. I saw many similarities between going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment and the COVID-19 pandemic experience, particuarly in those early months–the fear, the concern about one’s mortality, the isolation, and how a single moment in time can irrevocably alter all that’s to come—and I found that I could deal with the uncertainty of the pandemic because I’d learned to live with uncertainty as a result of my cancer experiences.
In today’s tech savvy world, most writers used a computer or laptop. Have you ever written part of your book on paper?
Yes, I have. Normally, I draft on my computer, but when I get stuck I always go back to writing on paper. I find that the physical act of writing helps me unlock whatever idea was trying to find a way out.
Where do you write?
For years, I wrote in my kitchen at a built-in desk facing a wall. Writing in the kitchen was challenging, particularly when my children were young and came home from school. I learned to pack a lot of writing into the four or five hours of quiet. Last year, after our daughter moved to her first apartment and shortly before we went into quarantine, I claimed an unused bedroom for my office. I painted it a soft grey, moved a comfy loveseat (for reading) and a bookcase into the office, and now use my mother-in-law’s desk as my own. She was a writer and an avid reader so by using her desk, I feel a connection to her. The desk sits in front of two bright windows overlooking my garden so now I have view of more than a wall. I truly have a room of my own with a door where I can write uninterrupted and without distractions.
“God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”
What’s your favorite travel spot?
That’s a hard one. There are so many beautiful places that my family and I have visited over the years—The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, San Diego, Charleston, France, England, Ireland, and Scotland. I would go back to any of them tomorrow if I could. My most favorite happy place is Harwich Port, MA on Cape Cod. My husband’s family bought a beach house there thirty years ago, and we’ve spent many summers there with our children and extended family. There’s something about the light and salt air on the Cape that’s special.
So many choices! Lemon bars or pumpkin pie? Carrot cake or macarons? Love them all, but my favorite dessert is made sweeter because I only have it once a year. That’s the sweet cream and walnut ice cream from Sundae School in Harwich Port, MA. This ice cream perfectly balances the sweetened cream, not vanilla, flavor against the crunchy, slightly bitter walnuts. It’s all of life in ice cream, and I willingly drive the five plus hours from NJ to MA to have it every summer.
I hope you enjoyed todays post.
And As Always…
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