How did Called Back begin to shape itself in your mind?

I probably imagined I would write an essay about diagnosis. That’s how
it started — the relationship between reading the world and your cancer
becoming legible. And after I wrote that, I was embarking on surgery
and there was a lot to notice there. And the material just came
out — pouring — there’s no dearth of material. You think about each of
these aspects of treatment — each is its own new world. There are books
inside each of these.
I think about being inside the experience.
It’s a very turbulent place. But we’re not expected to be angry. That’s
not the collective discourse around cancer — that’s very monochromatic
and sentimentalized and pink. And we’re not being mobilized around
environmentalism and prevention. We might be enraged and we should be
enraged. We are the victims of environmental disaster.

How did you discover your cancer?

I was reading [laughs]. I was reading in bed, and I can’t remember
what the book was, and one hand was resting on my chest. I just happened
to touch that part of my chest and something didn’t feel right. I’ve
heard since that you’re more likely to find these lumps when you’re
relaxed. So ... there’s another reason to reduce stress. So you can find
your breast cancer more easily. 

- Called Back is in stores now from Alyson Books

Tags: Books