Chapter 5: Stephen King
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Video games and movies/television were always my life. When I wasn’t outside swimming or riding bike and being creative with ways in which to keep busy, I was slothful. In fact, I was so lazy as a child, I never had any aspirations for occupations like most children do. There were no fantasies of floating through space or rescuing cats from a tree, or shooting a three-pointer from the center of the court; no, I had nothing.
Around the end of my junior year, many of my classmates were well into the pre-planning of their careers. Whether or not they actually stayed on those proposed paths was irrelevant. No, at any rate, they had plans, any plans.
Then it hit me. In such a nonchalant manner I just up and decided: I’ll make movies. I like movies and I used a camcorder for a bit one summer. What an idiotic way to stumble upon a career path, but what I said then was true, I did like movies, and was excited by such a career path. But I had little to no idea on how to do it.
My plan then formulated. I’ll go to school for filmmaking; I’ll get the basic credits out of the way for cheap at UMFK and then I’ll go to a school that teaches filmmaking. And… well, we all know how that started.
So when the prospect of The Make-A-Wish Foundation came up during my chemotherapy, I have to admit I was excited. I mean, I could fly to Hollywood, visit a movie set, and rub elbows with celebrities! …That was until, they double-checked and because I was already eighteen, I would be ineligible for any sort of Wish.
Still, my options weren’t limited to only Make-A-Wish. The nurses found a few alternatives. The first one we could try to apply to was the Sunshine Foundation. The “gift” wouldn’t be as grand as a trip to Hollywood, but maybe I could get a laptop so I could commence my movie-making journey.
Then a nurse offered the novel concept of trying to broker a visit from Stephen King. “He did donate a million dollars to this floor after all. If you’d be interested, we could at least reach out to him. Plus his movies are quite popular, maybe you could learn from him?”
Remember, I wasn’t much of a reader, so I quickly shut them down. “No, thanks, I’m not much for books, plus he doesn’t make his own movies. He just writes the books that turn into movies. I’ll just try for the laptop.”
A Brief Aside: How incredibly foolish of me. If I could go back in time, the first thing I would achieve would be to try to convince myself to at least try to meet Stephen King. Let’s stop and ruminate on the outcome of such a meeting. If I were able to meet him, not only would I be more apt to pick up reading and thereby improve the quality of my writing more rapidly (and far earlier), but I would also have met the man who has written hundreds of books and worked with the likes of Frank Darabont, Fred Gwynne, Leslie Nielsen, and countless others.
The stories he could have shared with me alone would have propelled me to write my own fictional works much sooner. Not to mention, jackass, he did, in fact, write his own screenplays (Pet Semetary, Creepshow, and Maximum Overdrive [which he also directed] to name a few).
Whew, okay rant over. That snotty decision will be one of the things that I regret most from my time at the hospital– That, plus the lack of keeping a proper journal.
But the foundations designed to help children reach their dreams weren’t the only foundations with which the family had to deal. My Mom and Gary were disabled and had a difficult time to get the money to come see me (and stay close by) as often as they did. That’s when they tried to reach out to the particular funds that help people in these times of need.
If it weren’t for a local organization, The Edgar J. Paradis Cancer Fund, they wouldn’t have been able to spend the time with me that I desperately needed. I would have been left alone for longer periods of time and without any emotional support. Clearly, I’m eternally grateful for that.
Another source of income during the battle was funded by collection jars that were placed at different stores around Fort Kent. It was something that hadn’t crossed my mind, but after a friend mentioned it, it sounded like a good idea to me. “Go for it,” I said.
Soon after I gave up on Dark Cloud 2, my boredom grew to anger-inducing levels. So I imagined using the money from those jars to hopefully buy some stuff to keep me occupied. I mean, isn’t that what they’re for? (Spoilers: No)
This is an ongoing story of my personal battle with Cancer. My hope is that it helps others who are currently experiencing their own battles (whether it be for themselves or a loved one) or to help with early detection.
The way I’m doing it is terrifying for a writer. I’m writing a publically available first-draft outline for an eventual book, chapter by chapter in weekly form. The only reason I’m doing it this way is to get the story out as soon as possible for someone out there who needs a survivor to visit them during their own treatment. If you’re reading this and need someone to talk to, tweet at me and I’ll give you a call. No questions asked. This story is for you and I’ll help any way that I can.
Stay tuned, as I will be posting a new chapter every Monday until the story is complete.
And remember if you experience any Anemic symptoms– get checked for Leukemia as well.