"I enjoy the solitary hours as the cursor moves across the bright white screen and behind its blinking are the letters that become words and then sentences and paragraphs and pages."
Anne Katz is a registered nurse and author in Winnipeg. She speaks and writes about cancer survivorship. This is an important topic for more than twelve million North Americans whose lives have been changed by cancer.
In Anne's latest book, After you Ring the Bell...10 Challenges for the Cancer Survivor, Katz talks about the challenges that cancer survivors are faced with - from depression to fear to sexuality. She also explains that "many cancer centers have a bell for patients to ring the day they have their last treatment. This is a significant moment --the end of active treatment and the beginning of a life free of cancer. What happens, though, to the patient with cancer after the bell has rung?"
SCENE invited her to tell us about her passion for writing about this challenging subject.
I have been gifted with a love of words and writing comes easy to me. I write about things that are relational - sexuality, love, and communication in the maelstrom of life threatening illness. I write in the early morning hours, the bright lights in my office the only sign to the outside world that the building is not asleep. I enjoy the solitary hours as the cursor moves across the bright white screen and behind its blinking are the letters that become words and then sentences and paragraphs and pages.
I love so much about the process of writing: the generation of an idea, the thinking and the planning, and the satisfaction of eventually seeing my words in print. I always delay the first word of something new just for a minute; I sit still before I begin to type because after that it's a fast rush to the end. Not all writers are that lucky.
I started writing articles for nursing and medical journals, a requirement as a nursing professor. The pressure to publish was never onerous to me, but rather an opportunity to educate beyond the walls of the classroom.
And then one life changing day a publisher in the U.S. offered me a contract to write my first book. That was the beginning of what has turned out to be eight books and I'm not sure it will end there. Every time I finish a book, usually ahead of the deadline, I say that this is the last one. But then there is another idea and another, and once again the lights in my office shine out towards the dark. And I am alone with my keyboard and my thoughts, and the cursor that moves across the screen.
Anne Katz is a doctorally-prepared nurse and certified sexuality counselor who works at CancerCare Manitoba. She is the editor of Nursing for Women's Health, a clinical practice journal for women's health nurses and writes a quarterly column for the American Journal of Nursing. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Nursing, an international speaker and educator on the topic of cancer and sexuality.