Building Connections beyond Stereotypes

by Kerry Cue

One of the great joys of Posting on INSTAGRAM is coming across enthusiastic book groups with hilarious names. Boozy Book Babes is a favourite.

Here is the comment about The Sunday Story Club by the Boozy Book Babes on INSTAGRAM:

‘Beautiful cover! Would it be too ironic for our book club to read this book?’

Touché. The Sunday Story Club is like a book club without books. Whereas a book club asks ‘What do you read?’ in The Sunday Story Club we would ask ‘Why do you read?’ This last question opens up a different and deeper conversation. It is this deeper conversation that helps build connections beyond stereotypes.

BOOKTOPIA    

LISTEN

AMAZON

Building Connections. Creating your own Community

by Kerry Cue

We wrote The Sunday Story Club to encourage others to build connections through   deeper conversations. It is these connections that create a community. Doris and I have been running a story salon for 5 years and have built a community based on empathy and understanding because we took the time to stop and listen, really listen without interruption, to others as they told their real-life stories of love, loss, and resilience.

It seems appropriate to talk about community following an interview I did with Jeff Bullen on Community Radio RTR FM, Perth. Audio link here.

BOOKTOPIA    

LISTEN

AMAZON

Chemo Journal I

by Sibyl Jules

Sibylesque Chemo Quote

How do you describe the old chemo trip which, incidentally, I finished 2 weeks ago after 6 months of 2 weekly cycles? This is only my experience- everyone has different sorts of chemo and some are much worse than others. My side effects were horrible on one drug, which I was spared after 4 cycles because of weird stuff happening. I never wanted to know what the side effects might be beforehand- then I’d only get them! A useful tip shared by an oncology nurse friend was to keep the literature they gave me as a reference if something did feel unusual or bad, and just read it as you need to. This helped me avoid worrying about things that might happen and to respond appropriately to them if they did.

chemo art

I can’t say chemo was easy, but when I meet with any of my ‘cancer club’ as my partner calls them, he always comments how happy we all are. We are, after all, alive, and eating, drinking (albeit a modified beverage of choice) and laughing with friends. I think that the last 6 months of chemo has taught me to enjoy and savour every tiny joy- cooking and sharing food and wine with good friends and family has always been an important part of our lives- so when chemo flattens me for a week, being able to eat and drink and meet friends again- or go to WOMAD, the happiest 4 days of the year as I know it- gives me much to be happy about. Every tiny joy helps…Look for them- they make you feel safe and help to stave off the anxiety and fear.

Sibylesque Apparition of the Visage of Aphrodite of Cnidos in a Landscape, 1981

Oddly, chemo has also reminded me how much I love my work. I’ve been able to work two or three days a week, throughout chemo. I found that focusing on thinking and working, surrounded by busy people doing interesting things has helped me to avoid the pitfalls of the ‘poor-me-illness-behaviour mode’, which I might be prone to without the focus! I’m lucky I can choose when I go to work and if I feel too bad I crash and burn, but usually I get some days in each week. I’m also fortunate I love my work. And having a supportive and loving family and partner has helped too of course. I’ve loved having old friends call up out of the blue, and have been overwhelmed by the incredible generosity and thoughtfulness of people around me. Totally unexpected and humbling.

On grumbling about chemo prior to treatment starting, a surgeon reminded me that I am very lucky to be offered chemo- a treatment that may help keep me alive. For some things there is no such treatment and for that reason I knew I’d just have to go with it, knowing that every 2 weeks, just as I’m beginning to feel a bit ‘normal’ again, another bus will run me over.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 Picture 1Jules is a perceptive observer and an irrepressible, positive force as well as director and publisher for the Neuro Orthopaedic Institute, Adelaide, SA. And here is the Chemo Fashionista post of the fabulous Jules at WOMAD, Adelaide.