Frequently Asked Questions
on the Show, Family, and Cancer
1) How long is it?
The live performance is 70 minutes + 20 min Q&A.
2) Why a Q&A?
I didn’t design the show for Q&A, but from the first performance on, I was asked if I would do it, so it has become a part of the show package. Theaters and organizations choose: with or without. Most choose with.
3) How long did it take to write?
Eight weeks for a strong first draft; six months of staged readings to redo & refine; eleven months to first public performance.
4) Do you like the one-person show & have you done one before?
I hadn’t done one before; and yes, I do like it, even though my sister, Gooche, insists I have lost my mind.
5) Would you do another one?
Usually the question is “When are you doing another one”. I said “one and done”, but then I added a keynote to the mix. Now I’m done!
1) Has your family seen it?
Ten (including me) siblings, both my parents.
2) Do they like it?
Eleven for/ one against—there’s always one.
3) Are you like the Waltons?
We’re more like the Addams Family meets the Waltons. I call us “the Thurber Family” (for James Thurber).
4) Is “Gooche” your sister’s real name?
She was christened “Mary Catherine” but called Gooche all her life. She’s older than I am and was “Gooche” by the time I hit the planet. She changed it legally years ago.
5) Were you close growing up and/or are you close now?
That depends on whom you talk to. I think we’re closer now, but not all my brothers and sisters would agree with me. Age factors in the most. Those closest in age are generally closest to each other.
6) Are you alike or different?
Yes. We have blondes, brunettes and redheads; brown eyes, green eyes, and 1 blue-eyed sister (guess who). We have republicans and democrats; church-goers and atheists. But we all love poolroom burgers, the lake, and Andy Griffith.
7) How did your mom and dad raise 12 kids?
The way they tell it, they wanted 12 kids. Certainly the word “crazy” has to come to mind. Crazy. Tolerant. Funny. Patient. Loving. Forthright. Pragmatic. Remarkable. For starters.
1) How scared were you when you were diagnosed?
Not at all. I never have seen much point in being afraid of things including cancer and, while we’re at it, death.
2) What are the biggest problems?
Speed, fear, language. Slow down; park fear outside the door; and get very clear on what is being said: what they say / what you hear and what you say / what they hear.
3) How did cancer change your life?
It didn’t. Cancer’s job is not to make you realize how much you love your mother or to help you figure out if you believe in God. Cancer’s job is to kill you; your job is to stop it. Save philosophical analysis for another time; stay focused on the job at hand.
4) You didn’t do this disease like most people; how did you know what to do?
Believe it or not, I limited my approach to fact gathering only. I call myself the “Joe Friday” of the disease. I used logic and common sense as much as anything else and never let anyone else make or adjust final decisions. It was my way or no way.
5) Do you worry about getting cancer again?
No. I don’t worry about getting cancer any more than I worry about getting a cavity. I pay attention to my body and get regular checkups. Simple, but true.
6) Has your view of cancer changed over time?
No. It was just a disease then, and it’s just a disease now. Mind you, it ranks. But those who speak the word ”cancer” in reverential tones are usually the worst at dealing with it — that includes doctors as well as patients. It’s just cancer; it’s not God.