Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies

Cancer Video Picture

Movie Premiers on PBS on March 30th, 2015

Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS. The book  is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Spurred by a personal tragedy, America’s foremost documentarian is tackling cancer. According to the Associated Press, Burns collaborated with Dr. Mukherjee to bring the historical work to PBS in spring 2015.
Stand Up to Cancer co-founder and legendary film producer Laura Ziskin envision creating a documentary about cancer for years. In 2010 she came across The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. From the first time she laid eyes on the book, Laura knew it should be the basis of the documentary she still wanted to make. She was the driving force behind the film’s production and her spirit is very much part of the completed product.


Martha Larsen Signs Never Again

NeverAgain_FCoverauthor photoMartha Petronella van der Wal Larsen signs Never Again this Saturday, December 13th at the 4th Annual Santa Claus and Tree Festival in Joseph City, Arizona.  Never Again is an inspirational collection of shorts stories about Martha’s true experiences as a young girl during World War II in Hilversum, The Netherlands.

Margaret: What is your main reason for writing Never Again?

Martha: To make people aware of some of the atrocities that took place during WWII. I have noticed as a substitute teacher that recently the history books play down or don’t even mention the Holocaust. There are people out there that say it never happened. That is not true. We should never forget, never allow such madness to happen ever again.

Margaret: Is there a story that didn’t get included you would like to share now?

Martha: One Dark Scary Night a bunch of the neighborhood kids got together and went to the harbor after dark. [Read more…]

James A. Owen Introduces his Meditations Trilogy

The first book in the Meditations trilogy, Drawing Out the Dragons: A Meditation on Art, Destiny, and the Power of Choice, was originally not a book but an oral presentation, developed very organically through the necessarily improvisational process of being an author who was occasionally expected to stand in front of an audience and say interesting things. I shared the stories I thought my audiences—primarily educators and middle school students—would be most receptive to, and those just happened to also be some of the stories I felt to be the most meaningful and the most worth sharing.

The second book, The Barbizon Diaries: A Meditation on Will, Purpose, and the Value of Stories, was written with the first in mind, but with larger goals. Among other things, I wanted to expand on the themes of the first book while sharing the stories of my life that have been most difficult for me to process. I took some of the hardest, most personal parts of my life and articulated them as clearly and simply as I could. The result was a book that reached more deeply into people’s hearts, because in it I provided an example of someone—myself—who had endured difficult circumstances and emerged stronger for having done so. That was a message many people needed, and I was happy that it was so meaningful and helpful to them.

The third book in the series, The Grand Design: A Meditation on Creativity, Ambition, and Building A Personal Mythology is the only one written to deliberately teach a specific, vital message, which is this: It is possible to choose to live an extraordinary life.

These books are both a personal history and a tour through twenty-plus years of pop culture. Some of the interleaved stories were based on historical literary and artistic figures who mingled with—and in some cases, actually were—real-life relatives of my mother’s family. But mostly, these books are about art, and stories, and family, and the threads that connect us all, on levels both seen and unseen. It’s about how people use the search for great ideas to add meaning to their lives.

I started with a beginner’s guide to making choices that matter, I continued with an advanced course in surviving the refiner’s fire, and with The Grand Design, I give you a master class on living an extraordinary life.

MeditationsTrilogyAll the works by James A. Owen

are available on his website:


Author Interview with Anna Laurene Arnett

AuthorPhotoAnnaArnettAnna Laurene Arnett  is one of the eight original members of Writers Unite to Fight Cancer .  She has served as an editor for both WUFC Anthologies and participated in several WUFC fundraising events.

Anna Arnett recently released her second book: Just a Woman Romping through Poetry with Anna Laurene Arnett. Anna Arnett began memorizing poems before she started school, and still recites on demand. She wrote her first poem by request in 1962. Since then she has delighted people young and old with her poetry, stories and memoirs. She compiled Just A Woman for the benefit of people who assume they’re not particularly fond of poetry, but are nonetheless willing to try dipping their toes within its soothing waters.

Margaret:  Tell us how is your book of poetry is different than other Poetry collections. [Read more…]