To Cure? Or Endure? by Christine Larsen

To Cure? Or Endure? by Christine Larsen

“I got the death sentence!” Harry sank heavily into his favourite chair by the fire. His face was white and drawn as if indeed he’d had a deadly serious eyeballing contest with the Grim Reaper… and lost. Harry’s death sentence was as irreversible as the diagnosis of lung cancer being the inoperable primary, and liver and lymph system stalking closely behind as secondaries. I never witnessed this tragic day but heard it in sorrowful detail from his wife, my ‘other’ mother, sometime later.

Throughout his relatively short battle, he fought to reverse the diagnosis. Unfortunately, his attitude swung constantly from one potential cure to another. As he embraced each one, his hopes were impossibly ‘high’, at first believing changes for the better really were happening. No matter how slim, every possibility was tried and then rejected when it didn’t make major differences to his pain and physical deterioration within a few weeks. Each and every time he plunged emotionally to the depths, returning rapidly to his base belief in that ‘death sentence’ – until the next apparent miracle cure was found on his never-ending quest.

Inevitably, he died. And when the immediate pain of his loss quietened somewhat, his family questioned how much his attitude could have affected the speed and severity of his disease. They examined attitude and illness and its effects on longevity and severity of the disease. Could it – would it – have been altered by a less desperate mental and emotional grasping to stop the terrible nightmare that lingered on, day after day?

Much respected research has shown positive or negative thoughts of those dealing with chronic illness CAN indeed impact recovery.  Strong negative emotions create avoidance, denial, depression, anxiety – and severely hinder the body from fighting back. But those who feel the slightest control over their illness are less distressed, able to adopt and stick to more positive coping strategies. Given the chance and options, all degrees of illness can be managed more successfully.  In rare cases, enough true positivity has proven to stem, even reverse the toll of the ‘good health thief’.

Other equally respected researchers loudly disagree, but even in the midst of their nay-saying, admissions are made that cancer most certainly affects the mental health of its victims. The question then is – can it, in turn, be significantly managed and coped with better with ‘mental health care and emotional support’. Surely there’s no place like home for this to begin – with the person’s own attitude.

I think of the times any one of us has been home, sick, left alone to wallow miserably in our unhealthy state. But should the phone ring, or the doorbell – and a friend or relative we care about be there, we are capable of an impressive, if temporary, appearance of coping far better than we truly are. Is it adrenalin? Pride? A wish to not spend precious time together with a loved one miserably? Later, we’re probably exhausted from the pretense… and yet, are we not feeling more cheerful and more than somewhat improved, at least in our heart of hearts? In our mindset?

Maybe the experts who insist unequivocally that the quantity of Life is not altered in the least by mind control, are right. Perhaps there is nothing known to Man able to stop that relentless march towards the ‘death sentence’ Harry was convinced awaited. But they could be wrong. Researchers into all manner of things from time immemorial have been mistaken in their most unshakeable beliefs.

Let us all hope and pray the research into Cancer we, One Million Project writers, donate our words to, will uncover the answers to this and so many other questions sitting on the tip of that iceberg, melting quickly into the 90% laying below the surface and exposing the truth of this Life-thief.


OMP Admin Note:  Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, IMG_7208and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

Christine can be found on –

ceedee moodling


Tablo Publishing

Amazon Author Page




Real Life — by Mark Huntley-James

Real Life — by Mark Huntley-James

It’s funny how the same theme can pop up over and again, apparently by pure coincidence.  I’ve been in conversations with writers, talking about progress on current projects and a regular (largely humorous) complaint is but real life got in the way this week.  I know we’re only larking around, and I have my fair share of Real Life(TM) getting in the way, but it got me thinking – this is not a coincidence, it’s the wrong way of looking at things.

Firstly, ignore the implied pretension that writing is more important than real life.  Whatever gets your blood moving will always be more important than the necessary chores of daily existence.

Secondly – Real Life(TM) is the most important resource a writer can have.  Yes, it pays the bills, gets the laundry done and all that, but real life is the fundamental building block of our existence, with so many uses.

Thirdly – Apparently using Real Life in your writing is a proper Thing now, but it’s called Slice Of Life, which sounds more like a pizza serving suggestion.

Why would I ever use Real Life? I write crazy stuff about time travelers, alien beasts and a fictional English town where demons walk at night, doing unspeakable things with chocolate flakes. Any hint of real life there is surely going to set off a fictional allergy attack that will leave my books coughing up their final chapter through the prologue.

Maybe not.

That fictional town of mine – it’s inspired by bits of a place where I lived for years, along with scraps of the nearby town where I now do my shopping.  It has all the geographical continuity of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (I’m not knocking the movie – Morgan Freeman was fantastic).  Yes, there’s a lot of fiction stitching it together, but the town and my characters are sucked straight out of Real Life. (And then thoroughly chewed until there’s no visible sign of Real Life.)

It doesn’t matter whether you are writing bizarre fantasy, or fictionalising a true story, there is nothing like a hefty infusion of Real Life to make it more convincing.  A reviewer said some complimentary things about the believability of my characters, but the real point is I that have met them, and not just in my head. No one character is a single individual from my Real Life, but like my fictional town, each one contains a bunch of reality glued together with fiction.

No matter how realistic or fanciful your story is, Real Life ingredients are an inspiration, a valuable background canvas, and a taste of the familiar to help your readers connect.  Yes, Real Life gets in the way and is pretty much impossible to get around, but that just means you’re not looking at it the right way.  Real Life is someone in front of you at the bus stop.  Say hello, start a conversation, and perhaps find yourself in a fulfilling long-term relationship with Real Life(TM).

That bus is only going to get you to the office or the shops.  Real Life can show you stories. And it can show you how to tell them.

In spite of all of that, I’m still going to joke about Real Life getting in the way of my writing.  It’s that sort of relationship.


OMP Admin Note:  Mark Huntley-James writes science fiction and fantasy on a small farm in Cornwall, where he lives with his partner and a menagerie of cats, poultry and sheep.

He has two urban fantasy novels out on Kindle – “Hell Of A Deal” ( ) and “The Road To Hell” (  ) – and is working on a third.

He can be found online at his blog (, his website (, and occasionally on that new-fangled social media thing (tw: @MarkH_J, fb: @MarkHuntleyJames)

Memoirs, In Pieces

Memoirs, In Pieces

OMP Blog by Michele Potter

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying that everything is autobiographical; that authors cannot help but integrate their views, life experiences, and personality into whatever story they write. I will admit that my personal history has inspired some of my writing. Writing is a way to claim a bit of immortality, so it follows that we inject our personal slant to our stories.

Most of what I write is complete fiction, fantasy stories from my imagination. I have shied away from the memoir idea because my non-celebrity status and relatively scandal-free life would not make for a best seller. However, I recently found that personal writing can enhance creativity and move one past the dreaded writer’s block.

For Christmas, my son and his family gave me a subscription to a site called StoryWorth. Through this site, questions are sent out a couple times per month. The questions are such as: What were your grandparents like? Describe one of your favorite Christmases. How has your life turned out differently than you expected? In answer to each question, I write several paragraphs. At the end of a year, the company binds all the responses into a lovely book to be passed onto the family. My prospective audience is my grandchildren.

From the first, I liked putting together the little pieces and adding old photos. As I wrote, I noticed some remarkable things: My memories grew; while writing about one thing, other, long-forgotten memories bubbled up; I became emotionally involved, often laughing or crying over my keyboard; best of all, after finishing a piece, I felt energized and inspired; I could go back to my “other” writing with a better frame of mind.

If you are doggedly writing late into the night, becoming frustrated, and staring at a blank page, you might consider taking a little time out. Think about something in your life that affected you, your family, or your friends. Write about it, quickly with no editing or stressing. You will find the words come easy. Even if emotional pain was involved in your memory, the act of writing it out is deeply cathartic. Keep your memoir pieces in a file. At some point, you might want to share them. Or if you fear that your memory is fading fast, you could revitalize those cranky brain cells a bit.

Instead of waiting to become famous to write your memoirs, pack away pieces of your life for yourself and possibly your loved ones. Doing so could be another way to achieve immortality.

OMP Admin Note: Michele Potter is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.

Michele is an incredibly diverse and talented writer who I hope will collect her short stories and make them available on Amazon someday soon. In the meantime, her story PERCEPTIONS is available in the guest author section of the flash fiction anthology BITE SIZE STORIES VOLUME ONE.

The Words No One Wants to Hear

The Words No One Wants to Hear

If you ask almost anyone what is the one thing you don’t want as your diagnosis, a large percentage will say, “Cancer.” In the hospital, we simply referred to it as ‘CA’. Over the years, I’ve watched patients deal with their new diagnosis or the return of the dreaded disease in another part of their body just when they believed they’d won the fight.

It is a fight. A battle against mutated cells generated in our own bodies that overpower our immune systems and sometimes even destroying the body’s ability to build the white blood cells needed to combat diseases. It can hitch a ride using our bloodstream or lymphatic system to travel throughout our bodies.

It is a terrible enemy without mercy attacking young and old alike. I hate cancer. I want to see it made as innocuous as polio is now.

My family has — and is — dealing with cancer. And wouldn’t you think having been a nurse for over 30 years, I’d be immune to its ability to wound my heart and soul. The answer is no. Even in the hospital setting, I remember heading to the bathroom, running water and flushing the toilet repeatedly to hide my sobs when I couldn’t deal with the hurt and pain I’d witnessed moments before.

I’m old enough to remember when people would whisper the word ‘cancer’ as if saying it aloud may bring bad luck. Back in the mid-twentieth century, it was often a death sentence. Today, modern advances in treatments and surgical procedures have reduced mortality rates for many forms of cancer.

It is a good feeling to personally know so many long-term survivors of breast cancer and other cancers among my family and friends. I can only pray I would be as strong and appear as fearless as my loved ones if I would be diagnosed with CA.

This is why I support the One Million Project’s efforts to raise money for Cancer Research UK (CRUK).  Their research has aided in helping develop treatments such as immunotherapy to specifically target cancer cells throughout the body and reduce the ill effects other types of cancer treatments have had on surrounding healthy cells during the treatment process.

OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers and in the One Million Project Fiction Anthology. Her books EXODUS  and WINTER’S ICY CARESS are available on Amazon.