Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Portable Feast



“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”
Roger Ebert

"Life is never fair. ... And perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not."
Oscar Wilde

“Cooking is maybe the purest expression of love in the sense that you always cook for the other.”

Jacques Pepin


That’s the thing about writing. You can decide how much you are willing to disclose. And Roger Ebert could have easily continued to telegraph his reviews without baring his soul.

When I first saw Roger Ebert’s new face, I was in shock. Since his reviews continued to illuminate the films I watched, I assumed the generous jowly guy giving out the stars had remained the same. What I discovered instead was that cancer had radically altered the topography of his physical body. Radiation left his chin in ruins the blade was unable to restore.

Consequently, he has lost the ability to speak, but not to write. He communicates via a computerized voice system and blue post it notes. He continues to write 5 to 6 cinema reviews per week, and is actively journaling on an award winning blog. Since his diagnosis, more than five hundred thousand words of inner dialogue have poured out of him.

Though he takes his nourishment through a tube, he hasn’t forgotten the joy of food or the camaraderie of eating. His most recent book, "The Pot and How to Use It", is a paean to the communion of breaking bread.

I lost my first husband to melanoma. He died at age 30, after putting up a valiant battle. He wasn’t ready to die. When I read the Esquire article about Ebert’s buoyancy, I began to wonder about the wisdom of “waging war” on disease. For one thing, it distracts us from living. For another, it gives the disease a monster status, which I don’t think is helpful.

Whether you view an invasive species as the enemy or not, I have come to believe that you must humanize it, embrace it and recognize the ways in which you are the same.



a portable feast

they are cells
that have gone mad
for life
you must know
how
this feels.

a profusion of leaves
scales a wall
each birth
paler
than the
next

blue papillon
casting shadow
on shadows
breaking
open
the sky


Written for OSI prompts, "champion" and "grace".

8 comments:

sandy said...

I like this one very much.

Cloudia said...

such a wise post!





Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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Fireblossom said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment at my Word Garden! You probably didn't scroll down far enough to see my Library Thing, but Lucy Grealy's "Autobiography Of A Face" is one of the books there which come up randomly from my list. It was a singular sort of book, and I was saddened when I found out, not all that long ago, that she had died, and how.

I am about to go to bed (work in the morning, drat) and am too sleepy to give proper attention to your post right now, but I will come back another time.

PS--I see my friend Cloudia here!

Tammie said...

this is a wonderful and thought provoking post. I enjoyed every word of it. very sobering and tender.

Geraldine said...

A sad but wise post. Touching...

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SuziCate said...

I liked both your post and your poem, very touching.

gospelwriter said...

I liked this very much, the prose and the poem. Well-written, thought-provoking...

JP/deb said...

such an intense beautiful poem ... thank you for writing about Roger Ebert and sharing some of your own story.