Monday, September 3, 2007

What Cancer Is Not...

IMPROMPTU CONTEST FOR LABOR DAY! Leave a comment on either of my blogs or on my web page at with your favorite legal Scrabble word by midnight EST on Monday. I'll draw a name or two out of the hat and award a couple of prizes. And on Friday this week, I'll post the entire list. Maybe you'll find some new words for your next Scrabble game.

I have several friends living with cancer. One of them recently asked me to do a calligraphy piece for her. Calligraphy is my down time occupation. Occasionally, I even receive payment for a commission. My friend commissioned this one--complete with payment, but when she explained exactly what she wanted and why, I turned down payment.

I just want to interject something here. In our country, payment for a job is usually by the hour. One of my calligraphy pieces, 8 1/2 X 11, framed and matted, takes approximately eighty hours to complete. That doesn't include materials which can be difficult to find and expensive. If I charge Seventy-five dollars for a finished piece, I make considerably less than $1/hour. Don't tell me it's too much money. Same goes for embroidery, crochet, knitting, or any of the other crafts. Craftsmen invest time in their work. Writing is another craft that is considerably under paid.

Enough said.

Anyway, my friend asked this favor of me and of course I will gladly do it for her. I could never do less. She lives two thousand miles away so there are other things that I can't do... like take her shopping or to the doctor appointments or clean her house. This is something I can do.

I asked her what she wanted it to say. She dictated it over the phone and I found the words powerful--powerful enough that I decided to share them. It occurs to me that Cancer could be a metaphor for any life catastrophe we have to deal with. Take the words into your heart and use them in whatever way serves you best.

What Cancer cannot do...
It cannot:
...invade the soul
...suppress memories
...kill friendship
...destroy peace
...conquer the spirit
...shatter hope
...cripple love
...corrode faith
...steal eternal life
...silence courage


Don't forget to stop by Amarinda's blog where she's interviewing Claire from Total E-Bound Publishers at and then rush over to Kelly's blog to read how she continued the saga with Louella, Sam and Jonas at


  1. I once did a cross-stitch for the Manager of my call center. He saw me working on it between calls and asked me to make one for his new baby. He picked out the design and provided the info. I spent three month on it, at work, at home. When I gave him the piece along with the receipts for supplies and pattern then charged him $50 above that, he balked. If I had charged him by the hour, it would have been worth far more monitarily. That was the last time I picked up a needle.

    I write now. I find it more fulfilling and though equally underpaid, I feel like the comments about my blog are a form of payment too. And that makes it worth the headache of writing.

  2. Wow cross stitch in a call centre. I know someone who got sacked for knitting.
    Cancer sucks but you are right - you live with it and remain the intelligent, loving person you always were. My mother did

  3. Heh. That reminds me of the time I was working on a counted cross stitch family tree... very elaborate, three feet by three feet. I worked on it at work on my break. A woman watched me for several days and then asked how much I would charge to make her one.

    When I named my price (which was ridiculously low) she was appalled and then I added the coup... "Of course, that's if you have the information. For research, I charge $75 an hour."

    I used to be reticent about charging for my work, but no more. I usually ask for payment up front as you have learned, sometimes after you complete the work, they balk at paying.