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Old 10-30-2010, 02:10 PM   #1
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The Big C - fighting the monster the best way I know how

My Dad has cancer. More than one kind in fact. He's fighting hard, but cancer is a devious bugger. It hides, it lurks, and it pounces when you think it's down and defeated.

Cancer is a monster.

I write about monsters, and have been doing so for a long span of years. Just recently I've started thinking more about why and taking a harder look at my motivations. A look back at several recent things I've done was revealing. THE INVASION features an alien invasion that comes in the form of an organism from space that eats anything in its path, transforming it into something different and unnatural. My short story THE COLOUR THAT CAME TO CHISWICK features a colour out of space that gets into beer and, when consumed, eats the drinker away from the inside out. A story sale to another anthology features gross body changes and loss of identity, and even my current work in progress, ostensibly just a little creature feature disaster story, features genetic modification leading to crawling chaos. I may not have been consciously aware of it, but it's obvious to me now that the Big C has been on my mind.

Cancer has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember. I first came across it in the late Sixties. My Gran's brother came back to town to die with his family. I was fascinated by this man, so thin as to be almost skeletal, wound in clothes that were many sizes too large for his frame, his skin so thin that I could see his blood moving... not pumping, for it had long since stopped moving enough to keep him alive long. He rarely spoke, just sat by the fire as if trying to soak up heat, his eyes frequently wet from tears, not of sadness, but of pain. He lasted for months in that condition until it finally took him and I knew then that cancer was a monster.

Since then it has taken others, both friends and family; a young mother with two pre-teen children, a cousin who was like a big brother to me, and a girl I never got to know for she was taken before her twentieth birthday. Other family members are still fighting. There's my Dad, who meets it all with a good humour that is humbling, and my godmother who has battled bowel cancer into remission twice.

Cancer is a monster. I can't fight it for them. But as a writer there is something I can do.

Just yesterday the idea came to me. I'm not the only one who writes about monsters. Maybe together, there was something we could all do. The idea grew and grew in my head and wouldn't leave me alone. So I did something about it.

I've been discussing a possible cancer-themed anthology with Stephen James Price who has taken over Ghostwriter Publications. He's agreed in principle to a POD paperback and ebook release, all proceeds to cancer charities. Steve and I will be joint editors (and possibly contribute a collaborated story.)

Provisional title is THE BIG C.

I've been inviting some writers I've always wanted to work with and who's work I admire. I'm proud of these virtual friends, as they're coming through for the project with enthusiasm.

Recruitment is going well. Provisionally signed up so far I have: Gary McMahon, Scott Nicholson, Steven Savile, Steve Lockley, Steve Duffy, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Allyson Bird and John Shirley.

And we've got a cover artist signed up too... Simon Marshall Jones. He does great work that'll be perfect for the book.

I'm still waiting to get decisions from others I have invited, but I already feel energised and ready to take the project on.

Cancer is a monster.

I plan to fight it the best way I know how. Watch this space.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:55 PM   #2
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Ahh.....you hit a nerve here. I understand and admire your position.

Many on this board have relatives, or are battling the big C. themselves.

I've watched my husband fight for years with this monster.

Colo-rectal, three lung battles. Each time he's come back, each time a little weaker, but each time he's refused to quit fighting.

I don't know why some people make it, and some don't.

I love your stories, have bought quite a few of your books.

But this one........I won't. I live with this monster daily, and don't want him in my library. Realize, please, that this is just my opinion.

Best wishes to you.
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
Ahh.....you hit a nerve here. I understand and admire your position.

Many on this board have relatives, or are battling the big C. themselves.

I've watched my husband fight for years with this monster.

Colo-rectal, three lung battles. Each time he's come back, each time a little weaker, but each time he's refused to quit fighting.

I don't know why some people make it, and some don't.

I love your stories, have bought quite a few of your books.

But this one........I won't. I live with this monster daily, and don't want him in my library. Realize, please, that this is just my opinion.

Best wishes to you.
I understand completely... and know there will be many like yourself.

It's just something I have to do...
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Old 10-31-2010, 04:42 PM   #4
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This is a worthy cause Willie, against a illness that blights so many lives both young and old. I hope, and I'm sure, your project will be a massive success. Hope your Dad gets better soon.
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Old 10-31-2010, 05:15 PM   #5
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All power to you William,

A project MANY of us will support wholeheartedly !
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:19 PM   #6
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Two of the big hitters from the UK horror market have signed up to contribute to THE BIG C -- Ramsey Campbell and Guy N Smith.

I'm well chuffed.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:43 PM   #7
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The big "C" affects many, perhaps more than we expect.

I had 3 colleagues at work who all died.

My wife is a survivor.

My brother-in-law is being operated on as I type.....
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:54 PM   #8
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I can read scary books without any problems because I know that monsters aren't real and the book is fiction. But, a scary book about cancer? No, not for me. Cancer is too real and I have enough things to worry about in my life. I read for enjoyment and I don't think cancer stories would be too enjoyable.

Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:46 PM   #9
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I was going to use THE BIG C but discovered that there's a US TV show with that name. To avoid confusion, our proposed anthology has been renamed.

It will now be THE UNSPOKEN.

Signed up provisionally we have, in no particular order:-

Ramsey Campbell
Guy N Smith
John Shirley
Allyson Bird
Steve Savile
Steve Duffy
Simon Kurt Unsworth
Tim Lebbon
Gary McMahon
Steve Lockley
Scott Nicholson
Johnny Mains
Stephen Volk
Lisa Tuttle

Cover art will be by Simon Marshall Jones

William Meikle and Stephen James Price will edit.

The book will be in POD paperback and e-book formats and will hopefully be ready for Summer 2011.

All proceeds will go to cancer charities.

Several of the contributors have already started work on their stories, Simon is thinking about the cover art, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Wish us luck.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:43 PM   #10
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Boy that's a big one. Until four years ago no one in our family had ever had cancer... then one day I got a tearful phone call from my daughter. "Mom", she cried, "I've got cancer". Huh? I had just taked to her the day before (she lived out of town) and listened to some symptoms she was having and insisted she visit the Doc - again. She had been diagnosed with pneumonia and was put on antibiotics but just kept feeling worse. But Cancer? Never did it cross my mind that was what she had. I hopped on a plane in time to visit the Hematology Doc and get the official diagnosis. Leukemia, AML, but curable. After several months of treatments she was tentatively pronounced 'cured'. Then just after the 1st year anniversary, she re-occurred. More chemo, even more agressive, full-body radiation, bone marrow transplant.

Last year just before her 1st 'birthday' post-transplant, new symptoms. She had renal failure. After several consultations it was determined the disease she now had was unrelated, an auto-immune thing. Apparently they could find no prior case anywhere in the world of such a thing happening (kidney failure from effects of chemo etc, yes, but this, no). We are now 2 1/2 years post transplant and the big C seems to be gone. But she needs a kidney transplant now. She has been amazing through it all, but enough is enough already!

At the same time she was diagnosed with the renal failure, my little bro died from prostrate cancer. Just yesterday my sister-in-law passed away from lung/kidney cancer.

It seems the pundits are correct, it is almost sure to hit everyone's family sooner or later.

A book? Horror scares me enough, I never buy it anyway. But the cause is great and done properly could be a wonderful thing.

My heart and prayers go out to all who have been or are battling this disease.

Sharon
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williemeikle View Post
I was going to use THE BIG C but discovered that there's a US TV show with that name. To avoid confusion, our proposed anthology has been renamed.

It will now be THE UNSPOKEN.

Wish us luck.
Great title. Still, even today, people have a tendency to lower their voice whe using the word "cancer"

As in,........"is it "cancer"?

And I wish you all the luck in the world.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:10 PM   #12
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William, wish you all the best on your endeavor.... under other circumstances, I would most likely read it... as I love a good horror book. This time, I have to agree with desertgrandma... if you are living with it, you don't in any way want to empower it... we worry enough as it is.
Great idea... for those who enjoy horror and are not already dealing with it.
I will have to catch the next one of your books, instead. Good luck

Very best wishes to your father!

Last edited by joobies; 11-04-2010 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shazza View Post
Boy that's a big one. Until four years ago no one in our family had ever had cancer... then one day I got a tearful phone call from my daughter. "Mom", she cried, "I've got cancer". Huh? I had just taked to her the day before (she lived out of town) and listened to some symptoms she was having and insisted she visit the Doc - again. She had been diagnosed with pneumonia and was put on antibiotics but just kept feeling worse. But Cancer? Never did it cross my mind that was what she had. I hopped on a plane in time to visit the Hematology Doc and get the official diagnosis. Leukemia, AML, but curable. After several months of treatments she was tentatively pronounced 'cured'. Then just after the 1st year anniversary, she re-occurred. More chemo, even more agressive, full-body radiation, bone marrow transplant.

Last year just before her 1st 'birthday' post-transplant, new symptoms. She had renal failure. After several consultations it was determined the disease she now had was unrelated, an auto-immune thing. Apparently they could find no prior case anywhere in the world of such a thing happening (kidney failure from effects of chemo etc, yes, but this, no). We are now 2 1/2 years post transplant and the big C seems to be gone. But she needs a kidney transplant now. She has been amazing through it all, but enough is enough already!

At the same time she was diagnosed with the renal failure, my little bro died from prostrate cancer. Just yesterday my sister-in-law passed away from lung/kidney cancer.

It seems the pundits are correct, it is almost sure to hit everyone's family sooner or later.

A book? Horror scares me enough, I never buy it anyway. But the cause is great and done properly could be a wonderful thing.

My heart and prayers go out to all who have been or are battling this disease.

Sharon
{{hugs}}
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:25 PM   #14
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i wholeheartedly support your project and you father's battle.
for some reason, i have an image haunting me when it comes to cancer: it's so random it's like someone pushes the delete button.

one more thing, don't call it "the big c", don't call it "the unspoken" don't write it with small characters. it's cancer.
let's not give this disease more power than it already has.

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Old 11-05-2010, 04:34 PM   #15
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Sounds like a very worthy and interesting project. My missus had cancer a few years back in her thirties. Thankfully she has the all clear now but it was a very worrying time - and even now it nibbles away in the dark corners of your mind.
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