I can hold my dad’s professional and passionate pursuits in my hand. They are an assortment of medals with pens with strong insignia. Red and gold Maltese crosses, bugles, and axes show the authority of a man given the responsibility and honor to protect and serve.

He was a first…


The metal inside the old peanut butter and mayonnaise jars weighed heavily in my arms as I carried them up from my dad’s basement workshop. Some of the hardware in the jar was shiny and straight, catching the light sharply, others were rounded and softer in color, dull browns, and…


I’ve been studying first lines and first pages of memoirs. I’ve rewritten mine at least a million times. Well, maybe not that many, but at least many times as I’ve rewritten the intro for this article. We all know that openings matter. People need to be wowed to keep reading.


Avoiding an oft-asked question and figuring out the real answer

Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

Although 2020 has kept me away from loved ones more than usual, as a self-proclaimed writer, I still get the same question no matter how long it has been when I see one of my fans.

“Have you been writing?”


A Memoir About Cancer and a Journey

I read a lot of memoirs. I read a lot of memoirs about people with diseases. …


They say denial ain’t just a river, but 2020 has been flooded with it. From COVID debunkers to a president who won’t concede the election, 2020 is the crazy man at the podium who refuses to admit his hair dye is running down his temple.

But I don’t even mean…


Is the pandemic a blip on the radar? Or will it have long-term lasting effects on the way we live? At a time when we can’t seem to agree on anything, it’s no surprise that we’re divided on predictions of how it will all pan out.

Half of Americans think…


Did you know it has been 20 years since the decade of the brain? The Decade of the Brain, from 1990–1999, was an initiative by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health “to enhance public awareness of the benefits to be derived from brain research.”


I started reading The Opposite of Certainty, a memoir by Janine Urbaniak Reid, because it’s another story about someone with a brain tumor. This time it was the author’s young son. I’m an astrocytoma survivor and I think I’ve read every book there is on brain tumors trying to find…


As a writer, words are important to me. I usually write quickly, but still choose my words carefully. When I type, my cursor usually doesn’t just go one way. It goes forward and backward as I write and rewrite, making sure to choose the words I really want to say…

Catherine Lanser

Narrative nonfiction and memoir. Querying my memoir about my family, told through the lens of brain tumor and father’s stroke. www.catherinelanser.com

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