I never met Cheryl B., but I really wish I had.
I first read about her on Sinclair Sexsmith’s blog (the two of them created Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival together).She was a New York poet and performer who in November 2010 was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She chronicled her daily life in the wonderfully titled WTF Cancer Diaries blog–everything from having a spinal tap to chic outfits for cancer patients to hosting a head-shaving ritual in her apartment.
Reading her blog, I alternately laughed and cringed. What she wrote about sounded so painful and frightening, but she was so damn funny when she was writing about it. And she was right–she looked fierce with a shaved head.
Reading her blog, you knew she was going to be fine. Cancer, as scary as it sounded, would surely be just a blip on the radar.
Sadly, that wasn’t to be. Cheryl B. died on June 18. She was thirty-eight.
Other people have written some truly moving tributes to her: Anne Elliot and Kathleen Warnock, to name two. The video above shows Cheryl reading several poems–the first one, Reasons to Stop, is particularly awesome.
Wish I could have known you, Cheryl B.