Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg has been a writer for much of her life and used the written word to help her through six months of chemotherapy and three major surgeries. Now she wants to share what she has learned with other patients with cancer or other chronic illness.
Mirriam-Goldberg will be the presenter at the next interactive television (ITV) event at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center. It is called “Writing for Your Life” and is set for 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, July 31 in the basement-level St. Dominic Room.
The session, which is cosponsored by St. Rose and the Midwest Cancer Alliance, is free and open to the public.
“Writing can help people enhance their health and well-being in so many ways,” Mirriam-Goldberg said. “Many studies show how short writing exercises can help increase circulation, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and otherwise improve health.
“These exercises can also help us clarify thoughts and feelings, clearing space to make better decisions,” she continued. “They can enable us to release emotions and transform our stuck moments into moments of positive change. Writing can cultivate resilience, courage and meaning.”
Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Poet Laureate of Kansas, author of 16 books and a professor at Goddard College. She was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer and has the BRCA genetic mutation. This mutation increases the odds of a recurrence of breast and other cancers.
One result of the diagnosis is her book “The Sky Begins at Your Feet: a Memoir on Cancer, Community and Coming Home to the Body.”
“But the larger result,” she commented, “is how writing helped me find humor, strength, community and connection when I felt most vulnerable and scared.”
Mirriam-Goldberg noted that no writing experience is needed to attend her ITV presentation. “I will share writing prompts that you can do on your own or with loved ones,” she said. “No one will be put on the spot during this presentation but the connection we make with one another will lead to inspiration.
“This is not about whether you think of yourself as a writer but simply whether you are drawn to experiment with writing,” she added. “It can be one of your tools to greater resilience, courage and joy.”