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Home - Bottom Row

Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 


A rant, because this is all I can do. 

Right before Christmas, I got to have a needle core biopsy on my right breast. A few days before that, I found an impressive lump, which I quickly had checked out by my GP, who hurried me along to get a mammogram and an ultrasound. The radiologist informed me that I had a few cysts (six!) in my right breast as well as a tumor (a large one!) which he preceded with the words "definitely benign," so as to keep me from falling off the table. It worked! "Definitely benign" has a lovely, comforting ring to it. Still, though, he said we'd want to do the biopsy right away, which they did. And after it was all done, and I was lying there icing my poor, drilled boob, the warm, comforting, grandfatherly doctor who performed the biopsy assured me--PROMISED me--that the results would be in two days later, "at the latest."


I'm not going to bury the lede, here: I still don't have the results. And although I have been assured that I am most definitely going to be all fine, I would like to know, please, thank you and goodbye. I would like to not think about this any longer. And yet I am forced to think about this, a lot longer. I am feeling a little crazy. I am ready to march down to the NYU labs and start knocking heads together. Only then they wouldn't be able to give me the results, what with all the brain injuries.

And you know, if they had TOLD me it would take a while, I would have resigned myself. If they hadn't said to me, "This is the last thing you want to worry about over the holidays," I would have expected to worry about it over the holidays. Worrying's what I do, after all, so I'd add this to the list. But since they were all concern and rush-rush with me from the start, I assumed we would continue on that course. It's fun to assume things.

Instead, when I called the radiologist's office two days later, I received an incredulous "What? Of course the results aren't in yet." Then I was told to call back in a few hours. Once again, I was met with incredulity. Two days! Do I think I'm the Queen? The Queen of New York? "Call back Monday, that's when they'll be in," I was told. I couldn't believe I would now have to wait an entire weekend. Ha, ha! I was so cute, back then.

On Monday, the same woman who assured me the results would be in on Monday was amazed I would think they'd be in on Monday. "It's Christmas Eve! The lab's not even open." Call back Wednesday, she said. Because duh.

I bet you can guess what she said on Wednesday. And on that day, my friends, on that day I said to myself, "I will not be calling this office ever again. I now hate this person, and I don't want to hate someone, so I will turn my attention solely to my GP." Oh, because also, after the fifth phone call, the woman at the radiologist's finally told me that no one but my GP could give me the results anyway, so really there was no reason to call her. This is the same woman who was standing right there as Dr. Grandpa lovingly squeezed my shoulder and assured me I'd wait but 48 hours, at the most. She didn't roll her eyes even a little when he said that, and I LOOKED.

My GP continues to take my calls and emails, but she's not getting answers either, and today I couldn't stand it anymore so I called the radiologist's, again. My hate had receded, and I thought, maybe in 2013 the lady who answers the phone will be nicer. Maybe she'll tell me whom to harass at the lab. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.
"Hi, it's Alice again. Alice Bradley," I said, chuckling (why chuckling?). "Still waiting on those biopsy results, as you know." Chuckle, chuckle. Oh, me.
"They're not in yet," she said.
"Wow," I said. "This is getting nuts." Mildly, though. She could hold my results hostage, after all, so I'm trying to stay on her good side. I mean, if she has one.
And, then, my friends, she hung up. On me? Or just because she was done? I'll never know.

And, look, I sympathize. A little. She's not in control of when the lab results come in. But she should sympathize too, no? A little.


Practice of Writing registration closes January 7! 

Happy holidays! My word, I've been having too much fun to be online. I hope you have, as well.

The Practice of Writing course begins in a couple of weeks, and I need to send encouraging notes to the class and start offering personal makeout sessions to each student (that's a hidden benefit of the class). I know many of you have been focusing on the holiday season, however, so I'm giving you a little extra time to realize that you deserve something as well.

Before I close registration, here are some answers to your questions. (I'm also adding this FAQ to the course description page.) Let me know if you have more!

Q. So how exactly does this class work?

A. Every weekday, you'll receive a lesson in your inbox. This lesson will also be posted on a password-protected part of my site, where you can comment and chat with your fellow students. The lesson will contain instruction (and, I hope, inspiration!) as well as an assignment or prompt for the day.

After reading the day's lesson, you would (in an ideal world) complete the prompt/assignment by writing for fifteen minutes each day. This is the time limit I recommend for writers who are starting out. Keep it short, but write every day. That's how you create a habit.

Q. So what are the lessons about?

A. There are twenty-five separate lessons, so there's a lot of material covered. The main thrust of the class is overcoming procrastination and anxiety and creating a routine, but I also cover dealing with rejection, improving your craft, writing about sticky subjects, why "talent" is overrated…I could go on, but then I'd give away the entire course. There's a lot.

Q. Do you critique each day's writing?

A. I do not. I strongly believe that no one should be critiquing your first-draft, stream-of-consciousness work. In the last session of the course, I read people's daily work, but this ended up being counterproductive to the purpose of the class. I also found that many students chose to write longhand and not share their work, and they ended up being extremely happy with the course. This is why I'm recommending that all my students write longhand for their daily practice. (This isn't a requirement, of course--I realize that some people hate writing longhand.)

Although I can't read the daily prompts,  I will check in with students and see what they're up to. If you want me to read a piece that might be further along, or just want reassurance that you don't suck, I'm here to assist and guide as needed.

Q. Do I have to share my work with the class?

A. Nope. Your work is your own. Again, for your daily practice, I think it's best that you consider that private. There's no better way to allow yourself to take risks.

Q. What if I have questions?

A. I'll be available every evening to answer questions on the course site, as well as via email!

Q. I want to take the course but my schedule doesn't allow me to write every day. Can I still take the class?

A. While I hope you make it your goal to write for fifteen minutes a day, you can absolutely complete this course at your own pace. Once you sign up, you have the material in your inbox for as long as you need it. (I'll also provide a complete PDF of the class material at the end of the five weeks.)

Q. I'm not a blogger or fiction writer. Is this course for me?

A. This course is for you if you're feeling blocked creatively and want to deepen your writing practice. It doesn't really matter what writing you've done up until now.  It doesn't matter if you've never written before but are curious about trying, or if you've been writing for decades.

Q. Will you tell me how to make money blogging?

A. Nope--there is nothing in this course that has anything to do with making money as a blogger. Or as a writer, for that matter! Although of course I hope we all end up making money doing the things we love. This is my dream.





Practice of Writing: new session begins January 14th

The Practice of Writing was so successful last time, I'm doing it again. Please join me!

This is a five-week course that will help you jumpstart a daily writing habit, increase your confidence as a writer, and get a lot of work done. I'm putting together  a detailed FAQ for the course description page, but I wanted to get the registration information up ASAP, as I know many of you wanted to give the course as a Christmas gift.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll answer them here and on the FAQ. The fee for this session is $95 USD, and fair warning--it will likely increase for the next time.



p.s. once you've paid through PayPal, you are automatically registered in the course. I will send out confirmations, but do not fret! If you've paid, you're on the list.


Look for the helpers 

My mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpersso many caring people in this world.

Fred Rogers

Henry's home from school, here with his best friend. They're in his room playing with Legos and discussing girls they like (sorry, guys, but I can totally hear you). This is another day to them. As it should be. As it should have been for everyone.

My heart is sick for all the families whose family members are not coming home today. Words fail in times like these. All we can do is cry, and pray, and fight for change. I am trying to figure out what I'm going to tell Henry later, after his friend goes home. Here's some helpful advice, if you're wondering the same thing.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with grief or panic, there is help. The Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24-hour support to anyone who needs it. It's free and confidential. 1-800-985-5990. You are not alone.


The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Gun Control. Now.

If anyone else has any helpful resources to share in the comments, please do. (No pro-gun comments, please--you're just going to get deleted and probably blocked.)


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