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This is one of several essays from my private cancer journal. It is not intended as anything than a record of my states of mind as I struggled with the disease and the effects of the treatment.

Finally, something different

quarkxpress box 8/02/02

Until recently, I didn't really know how miserable the last month and a half had been.

There was the rising PSA, the 12 days of pain and those trips into the room that did nothing to help my morale.

My existence is filled with this damned disease. If my own wasn't enough, from the time I get up until I quit for the day, I live on the Net with mailing lists and updating Phoenix5, and it was starting to get to me. I began to envy people who have "hobbies" that offer a diversion from the rest of their existence.

And finally, I found something!


That flat-rolled pulp that computers promised to release us from. Unlike pixels on a screen, paper can be folded, stapled, torn into shreds and wadded into a ball with a delicious crinkling sound.

I hadn't realized how much I missed paper. Oh, it arrives in the mail box and floats about me on my desk. Some goes into file folders. Most into the trash.

But it hasn't been my medium of expression for years. The last real time was in San Diego, in 1990, when I had an idea for a weekly yacht racing newsletter. Each Monday, I gathered the last results of that week's races -- and San Diego had many -- and the San Diego Yachting News was quickly compiled with a desktop publishing program (QuarkXPress) and was out the door.

As an entrepreneurial idea, it was foolish, but it was fun. I mastered Quark, writing and laying out pages that I could hold in my hands or carry from room to room, unlike the Web pages that I have lived with for the last two years.

I didn't realize how much missed layout until a couple of weeks ago when I groped about for something different and remembered the glossary. I had long planned to convert it to a booklet. Maybe now was the time.

A quick check of Quark prices showed it had doubled from the $400 it cost 12 years ago, far out of the Phoenix5 budget. But eBay carried some that fit. Within days, an old friend was back on my computer.

That is where I've been for the last two weeks, sometimes unable to sleep because of the excitement. What I was creating was meant for paper. It wasn't to be uploaded. There was no URL. It would be on paper that could be wadded, stapled, shoved into a pocket or an envelope and -- gasp -- mailed.

Which is what I did today. I printed out the 66 pages that the booklet will be and made copies for the 10 people who are going to review it. The pages were shoved into paper envelopes, got paper stamps and then carted to the -- gasp -- post office, just like the days before the Net. The people will, in turn, mark the paper pages with pen (or pencil) and then shove them back into a paper envelope to repeat the process.

It has been wonderful and there will be more to do later, all with glorious pulp and postage.

Man does not live by the Net alone.


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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.