Week 34: All well

Not much new to report – which is good. Good walking weather that I am taking advantage of, some nice get togethers with people, and the usual activities and projects that continue to fill my day.

As part of my turning my blog into a book and preparing a Prezi, have been working on some graphics to capture the different stages.

While these largely reflect ‘linear’ views to be used in the more ‘parallel’ Prezi, fun to develop these, and experiment with colour, grouping and ‘layering’ using Keynote. Without the normal corporate constraints (e.g., templates, culture of bullets), enjoying having the latitude to try more information rich approaches, and encapsulate a lot of information that was presented to me in a more organic and step-by-step process at the time.

For those interested, some examples (Allo SCT Decision, Allo SCT – Salvage Chemo, Allo SCT – Recovery – First Six Months, Allo SCT – Counts Bouncing Back, and Auto SCT – Treatment Protocol). Any comments or feedback on how these can be more useful appreciated.

I have also been working on a piece trying to categorize the various terms people with cancer use to describe themselves: warrior, fighter, hero, survivor, student/intern/graduate, and victim.

Has been harder to put together than I thought, as it is more subjective, and changes throughout the cancer journey, than a technical and medical glossary. Forcing some good reflective thinking, helped by some friends, and hope to finalize this in the next few weeks. The intent is to have a piece that allows more reflection on why each of us gravitate to certain terms, and the possible implications of that choice.

Suggestions on any terms I have missed appreciated.

Finished the Ondaatje/Murch book The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film. Really enjoyed it, and makes me want to re-see most of the movies mentioned as well as some that I haven’t seen (e.g., Orson Welles, A Touch of Evil, that Murch re-edited according to Welles’ wishes). Some favourite quotes:

I can think of no higher tribute to a film than … that you sense simultaneously that it’s crystalline and organic at the same time. Too crystalline and its lifeless, too organic and it’s spineless.


There’s that wonderful line of Rilke’s, “The point of life is to fail at greater and greater things.” Recognizing that all our achievements are doomed, in one sense – the earth will be consumed by the sun in a billion years or so – but in another sense the purpose of our journey is to go farther each time. …. I think we’re always failing, in Rilke’s sense – we know there’s more potential that we haven’t realized. But because we’re trying, we develop more and more talent, or muscles, or strategies to improve, each time.

When something is successful, everything that went into it, both the good and the bad, tends to get bundled up as the recipe for how to make a success. It becomes very difficult to separate out what was true and what was untrue, what was good and what was bad, what was superficial and what was profound.


The distortions of failure, of course, are the opposite: instead of having everything unjustly accepted, everything is rejected. Or that’s the risk, at any rate. Truly great lessons can be learned from work that fails, but failure is stamped on the product and there’s a tendency to think everything you did was wrong, and you vow not to go there again. You have to resist this impulse, just as you have to resist the syrupy entanglements of success. These are, almost, religious issues. What the world thinks is a success, what it rewards, has sometimes very little to do with the essential content of the work and how it relates to the author and his own development.

Helpful in my trying to develop some non-linear and more creative ways to tell stories and engage, as well as good reflections in themselves.

Not to mention a renewed appreciation for the importance of sound in movies, which juxtaposed with this short series of quotes on silence, from the book In Pursuit of Silence:

The Origin and Cultural Evolution of Silence

In watching A Dangerous Method, I found myself watching the editing more than usual, as the film itself did not really hold my attention (curious to know if the original play, A Talking Cure, worked better). Expect I will not watch movies quite the same way again, and now have a list of movies to watch again that Murch edited, to better understand some of the comments he made in the conversations.

Lastly, for those celebrating Easter or Passover, best wishes for this time of reflection and family.


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