*Lorrie Moore, People Like That Are the Only People Here
*Raymond Carter, A Small, Good, Thing
**Proposal for Final Project due
Your reflection this week can be brief, but please still post and comment on another post about the impact and effectiveness on these fictional short stories.
We opened class with our guest speaker, Dr. Joy Brooke Fairfield, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Rhodes College. She led us through several improv exercises that touched upon the fun of making mistakes, creating a safe space by consenting to improv, hilariously breaking bad news (ie. a superhero firing their sidekick), and breaking bad news like in A Small, Good Thing. It was a playful hour full of laughter and observation that encouraged students to stretch themselves outside of their comfort zone.
After reflecting on our experiences with medical improv, we wrote in the style of People Like That Are the Only People Here. During our class readings this week, we explored two different short stories that touched upon pediatrics: A Small, Good Thing by Raymond Carver and People Like That Are the Only People Here by Lorrie Moore. Even though we have talked throughout the semester about the value of first person narrative and insight, these stories exemplified how impactful and truthful fiction has the potential to be.
We then spent some time encountering first hand narratives from children and adolescents with cancer, as featured in my book Chronicling Childhood Cancer: A Collection of Personal Stories by Children and Teens with Cancer. It was refreshing to encounter these stories again for the first time since I have been an oncologist. Memories of my time with each of these young authors flooded back to me. I remembered kneeling in infusion centers, perching at the center table in the playroom, or pulling up an armchair to sit at the bedside inpatient. I remembered how so many of these kids were excited to participate in this activity (and some terrified by the idea), one telling my frankly that he didn’t think he had ever really spoken about his cancer this much. That idea still stuns me, that many children and adolescents with cancer might not have the space to tell their stories. Even though it was a decade ago, I remembered it as though it were yesterday.