Thursday, May 1, 2008

In the Face of Fear

I have had the strangest week! I put that down to making my way through the Julia Cameron book, Walking in This World. I hopefully thought that this book might be a little bit easier to work through than her first, The Artist’s Way. Well - it's not!

At first I was not able to write, although my head was full of stuff I wanted to explore and write about. I have felt bleak and blocked and only just feel like I am breaking through some sort dark emotional garbage.

For the last two days my 'morning pages' have taken the brunt of this frustration. I have written with an urgency that has surprised me. Now, here I sit with a bunch of notes and a need to sort the ‘chaff from the wheat’. And I find I am not going to go where I thought I would. Figures!

I was in my favorite book shop at the start of the week and a book caught my eye. I recognized the name of the author from a friend's blog. I picked the book up and took it to the cashier. Knowing full well that I do not like to read books that tell of heart break, hardship and the unfathomable bravery some people find within themselves; to live through whatever it is that has besieged them.

Nevertheless, I bought the book and now I find that it is going to take some courage to read it. I have picked it up many times and even read the introduction. But I have not actually read any more at this point. I am afraid!

Sad to think that someone else’s pain is so hard to look at, but there it is. Pain, trauma, heartache and death are scary and not easily faced, even from a distance. Not by me anyway. I am probably not alone in that, so that is some comfort. Staring into the face of mortality, no matter who's it is, is like looking at your own and it can be daunting.

The book, by the way is, ‘The Last Lecture’, by Randy Pausch, and co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow. The man has pancreatic cancer and chances for his survival do not look good. He has a wife and young family. That fact alone is sad. From reading the introduction, I have ascertained that he wrote this book for his children. His desire; to leave something of himself for his young children to read when they are old enough to grasp what has happened to him.

I have known quite a large number of people that have been diagnosed with cancer. Personally, I know only two people who have had this battle confront them and win, women and both with breast cancer.
The victories were not easily won.

I now have a challenge before me, to read this book and to discover what has given this man extraordinary courage under such an attack on his person, his mind and his spirit. The book is sitting in front of me as I write and I have opened it several times, focusing on the pictures of this man and his loved ones. What kind of things has he dealt with, fought and come to terms with? Well, I am going to read and discover the answer for myself.

Oh, and another subject that spoke to me from the blurb on the jacket of the book; time. That is something I value, but do I use it wisely? I am keen to read what Randy has to say about time and what it means to him. You can’t purchase time and you can’t get it back, once spent that’s it. “Once around the block” I believe is the saying, one shot at it all, better make it count.


  1. Glad you decided to pick it up, Eaton - and looking forward to hearing what you come away with.

  2. What a powerful essay. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your journey and the book, and time. They all seem to be tied together, and go well with the song you've chosen as background music. Quite a lovely experience! Thank you for sharing!


Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright

Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright
click on the photo for link

Flat Stanley near Castlemaine, Victoria.