This morning in my email I found the final 'page proof' of the essay I presented at the conference on Spirtuality, Theology and Cancer in New Zealand roughly 18 months ago. Despite having had various things published at various times, it always excites me to see my stuff in print, and amazes me that what I write is judged worthy of publication. Afterall, I'm the girl who got good marks for English because her grammar and spelling were decent (before typing made me lazy!) and could construct a half-decent argument for a discursive essay, not because she had any creative writing ability whatsoever.
I am especially excited because my essay is going to be Chapter 1. This is the position to which real writers of theological essays aspire... either be the key note speaker and get Chapter 1 by default, or be judged good enough to go first. This is the 'make or break' chapter - the one that hooks or repels the readers. Can it really be that I wrote something worthy of this slot?
The book hits the shops at the end of November, and I have been invited to the launch party, but suffice to say won't be attending. I'll just have to have my own mini book launch at home!
Anyway, if anyone is interested, here's the 'abstract' as it will appear in the book:
As an ordained minister I have sat alongside many people affected by cancer, sharing their bewilderment, refusing to avoid tough questions, and modelling a response many found helpful. When I was diagnosed with cancer in August 2010 my own response was to be honest and open, free to name anger, fear, doubts, and questions that arose along the way. And yet, it became clear that “the minister is still the minister” and that the responsibility of caring for others affected my quest for authenticity. In this essay, I reflect on my experiences in an endeavour to explore attributes of “authenticity” for a religious professional living with cancer.
The essay uses anonymised/masked identities in accordance with good practice, however it is entirely feasible that anyone who is part of my local church would recognise themself or others in the reflections... anyone wishing to read the essay, once published, should be aware of this.