I Have Cancer and Maybe a Year to Live

Cancer Schmancer

Posted Apr 10, 2017

Yes, it's cancer. Stage 4. Lung cancer all over. Why do they call it lung cancer when it's in my liver and lymph nodes and bones, even? Who knows these things? But the doctors right now think I have a year at most (with the added stipulation: "who knows these things?").

Yes, cancer's definitely not happy news. And I can't blame you if it makes you sad. I've been crying a lot lately. Even at how beautiful the flowers are.

But here's the thing, my beloveds:

Enough with the sadness. There's too much of it in the world already. Way too. Do you really think I'd want there to be even more sadness? Who, me? Sure, a little grieving. Who can blame you? I, myself, am taking brief grief-breaks about every 22 minutes. But please, don't let that distract you. Cancer, I say, schmancer.

If you want to do something for me or because of me, grieving is not what I need. What I need is for you to continue your play/work however you can. Play games. Play the kind of games I like to teach - you know, those "funny games" - harmlessly intimate, vaguely physical games of the semi-planned, spontaneous, just-for-fun ilk, basically without equipment, or goal, or score or reason, even.

Teach those games to everyone. Play them outside, these games. In public. With friends. And strangers. As many as want to play with you.

Make up your own games. Make them up together with the people who play them. Play. Teach. Invent. Play some more.

Also especially - look into this playfulness thing too. Deeply. Because we're not talking just games here. We're talking about how you can let yourself be as playful as you've always been, how you can be playful almost anywhere with almost anyone, how you can invite people to be playful with you, in school and office and in the checkout line: all kinds of people with all kinds of abilities from all kinds of backgrounds.

Maybe download a free copy of A Playful Path, even.

Me, I'll probably be working from home for the rest of my personal while. If you've been playing like this professionally already - helping people experience their playfulness and stuff - and are involved in trying to teach more to more people: family, friends, neighbors and basically the known universe, it would be fun of the useful kind for us to talk more about your work/play. Maybe using the contact form on this deepfun.com, or the comments section of any post, maybe on Skype.

As for me right now, I'm looking for a little help:

I finished a book that I'd really like to see published. But the energy it takes to find the right publisher is completely gone. The book is kind of like A Playful Path, only it's about playing on, well, what I've come to consider the "Infinite Playground." Which is, you guessed it, imagination. It's kind of sweet how this project surfaced in my life, just as I neared the time when the only way left for us to keep playing together will be, well, imaginary.

Other than that, my work here is just about done. It's been fun. Amazingly, profoundly, deeply, loving fun. Honestly, what more could a man ask?

About the Author

Bernard De Koven is the author of The Well-Played Game. He writes on theories of fun and playfulness and how they affect personal, interpersonal, community and institutional health.

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