Levity, Coffee and Fighting Cancer with Haiku

Let’s talk about Spring. It’s a pretty celebrated season, really. Frank Sinatra sang about it. It’s got fluffy bunnies and chicks working for it. Snow melts. It starts to get warm. Pretty solid reputation for a season, if you ask me.

But today, at the Of Scars headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, spring looks like this:

Yeck.

I’ve spent my morning slowly checking tasks off of an endless to-do list, and when I got to “Write a Blog Post”, I was keenly aware of the fact that we’re often sorta serious here at Of Scars. And, well, it’s a gray day, and doing serious things on a gray day can feel very, very heavy.

I’d prepared a stirring, sweet and certainly life-changing post about the value of artistic expression in the healing process. The post would likely have won us a Webbie, catapulting our cause into the center of global consciousness and raising enough money to not only cure breast cancer, but to eradicate hunger and end all wars. It was a good concept, but as I sat down to write I realized that on such a gray day, my topic was a serious thing and therefore very, very heavy.

And so writer’s block took over, and though I forced myself to type through it, all that came out was this Haiku:

I WRITE ABOUT BREASTS

MORE THAN ROMANCE NOVELISTS

OR HUGH HEFNER’S STAFF.

Hm. Not exactly what I’d intended. But silly writing exercises sometimes open enormous floodgates, and so I sat down to try my touching, evocative piece once more.

No dice. At this point, I’d flipped on the Haiku centers of my brain, which is a dangerous thing. See, before I went freelance, my last 9 to 5 gig involved working for a man named Tom Petters, who was basically a small-scale Bernie Madoff. After the FBI raided our office, my coworkers and I coped with the stress of an imminent layoff by writing deplorable quantities of Haiku. It seems that by writing Haiku today, I’d somehow sent myself into a sort of frenetic flashback that enabled me to do nothing of productive value. At this point, I could only write Haiku. And so, instead of my earth-altering blog post, I wrote:

I HOPE THAT YOU KNOW

THAT YOU’RE WORTH MORE THAN YOUR BREASTS.

THAT’S WHY WE DO THIS.

Eh. Well-intentioned and true, but boring. Besides, the bizarre Haiku Flashback Effect had also made me feel a bit irreverent. So I kept going:

IF I LOST MY BREASTS

I WOULD USE MY PROSTHESES

TO THROW AT SALESMEN.

I have no idea where that one came from, but it certainly made the idea of future car purchases a bit more entertaining.

So it’s come to my attention that my brain has refused to write a very, very heavy post on such a dreary day, and any attempts I make to go against my brain’s intention will result in a barrage of horrible, horrible poetry. I will save the heavy post for a lighter day.

Instead, I’ll offer you the opportunity to stoop to my level, and together, we will put this arts in healing concept into practice. We will fight breast cancer with Haiku. Plus, I’ll offer you a shot at a prize for participating. Compose a Haiku about how breast cancer has touched your life or the lives of those you love. You can be funny, serious, or sweet. The point is just to express yourself.

Email your Haiku to ofscarsproject(at)gmail(dot)com, and we’ll send a $10 gift card to Caribou Coffee (a tremendous supporter of the fight against breast cancer) to one randomly selected entrant. Poems must be submitted by 10 P.M. on Thursday, May 13th, and must include the entrant’s first name and contact information (we’ll keep it private–it’s just so we can send you your treat if you win). We’ll post some of our favorites, along with the winning entry, on Friday, May 14th.

By no means do we mean to trivialize or make light of the experience of fighting breast cancer. However, study after study shows that laughter can improve quality of life as well as outcomes when it comes to cancer. Plus, a 2006 study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management indicates that artistic expression through art therapy can reduce cancer patients’┬ápain and anxiety levels. Cool stuff, huh?

So in honor of defying breast cancer (and gray days), let’s have some fun and express ourselves.

Go!

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