Abbey and 1,078 Words

Here’s what’s been written about Abbey since her battle began in 2015.

Sheffield 14-Year-Old Shows Tremendous Strength In Fighting An Aggressive Cancer

Surrounding Abbey

Dirty Dozen Changes Focus; Now Fundraiser for Abbey

Abbey Halfway Through Battle Against Cancer

Two Magical Words: Cancer Free

Teen Thankful For the Little Things Amid Fight With Cancer

And, sadly, this last one:

Abigail Schmader

I don’t really have anything else to add. Abbey was awesome. Cancer sucks. That’s just all there is to it.

On a lighter note, I made some progress on the essay.

I’ve basically distilled all of my anxiety surrounding the whole awful thing down to one specific philosophical quagmire:

Am I a normal person having an acute reaction to an abnormal amount of bullshit in her life (which I want to be the case), or am I a person with a personality disorder which has caused her to create an abnormal amount of bullshit that complicates her life unnecessarily (which I recoil in horror at the suggestion of).

I think it’s the former.

My best friend thinks it’s the former, so that puts me at ease.

I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but if they think it’s the latter I’m prepared to fight them.


And that’s what I’m going with moving forward.

I’ve got 1,078 strong words on four sheets of paper, double spaced, with one inch margins all around.

It’s far from a chapter.

It’s a prologue at best.

And it’s definitely a first draft. But it’s not at all the shards of story I’ve been producing so far. It’s legit. When you write you sort of know what you’re coming up with, and whether it’s a practice round or a first draft.

The two are not even remotely related.

A first draft is the skeletal framework. It’s something you’ll refine. Something you’ll build from.

It’s the raw material of a real thing.

A practice round is basically spilling out all of the Scrabble letters onto the floor and playing picture pages with them.

It’s helped to break down the whole experience into small doses. It’s helped to examine them in detail. I’m still only on the first segment of it in this essay. Or essay-in-progress. The second piece is still leaving me too reactionary to engage with meaningfully.

But I feel like being able to see this first piece come together into something I can be sort of, kinda proud of is a step in the right direction, and it makes me hopeful that the next portion will come.

More accurate, perhaps, to say that I’ll be able to stomach it long enough to put it on paper in a useful way. That’s been the problem all along. Not that I don’t have the material, but that I don’t have the iron gut to engage with it. To craft it. It makes me feel too squirmy. It makes me feel too icky.

And at the core of it all, that icky, throbbing heart of philosophical uncertainty: have I done this to myself?

What responsibility do I (should I) bear in any of it?

Am I being too hard on myself (God, I hope so, because that’s more easily corrected than the alternative: have I not punished myself enough)?

Four double spaced pages.

One thousand and seventy eight strong, good words.

I’ll take it.

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