Unexpected Gifts from an Unplanned Journey
by Will Weigler
About this book
Late in the afternoon on the day I was diagnosed with cancer, I sat at my computer and composed a message that I sent to a small circle of friends, telling them about this new turn of events in my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but that one message would soon grow into a series of messages—healing updates—that I would send out every ten days or so. I am at heart a storyteller, and it was through the telling that I was able to make some sense of it all. In this story of my journey to find a source of resilience in the face of a life-threatening illness, I turned to what I know—myths and lines of poetry, songs and jokes and dreams, and words of wisdom that I found along the way. In all, I sent out twenty-three updates over eight months, until shortly after the post-treatment scans showed the radiation had been successful and I was in complete remission.
This relatively brief span of time was, without exception, the most profound period of learning that I have ever experienced in my life. Many of my friends told me that they found my writing personally valuable and they encouraged me to find some opportunity to share it with others. That’s what I have done with this book. It is simply a compilation of my healing updates as I wrote and sent them, plus some sidebars with a few extra notes from my journal and descriptions of dreams I had during those months. I am offering it in the spirit of reciprocity for all the gifts I received.
You are welcome to download it, read it, and forward the link to share with anyone else who you think may find it useful. I have no expectations, but if you feel you'd like to give me a gift of some money in exchange for the writing, you can send me any amount that seems right to you by clicking on one of the payment icons.
—with buckets of gratitude,
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About Will Weigler
I am a theatre director, playwright, producer and professional storyteller based in Victoria, British Columbia. Much of my work involves collaborating with different communities to co-create original performances about the issues that matter to them. In some projects, participants have a direct hand in writing and staging their scripts and then performing the work themselves. For other projects, I take on more responsibility as playwright, interviewing community members, writing scenes and songs based on what I learn, and then sharing my drafts of the scenes and lyrics with them until they feel the play best represents their experience. I also work as a theatre coach and consultant, helping solo performers shape and refine their own material to create a show.
I earned a PhD in Applied Theatre at the University of Victoria and have studied at both the National Theatre Institute in the US, and Oberlin College. I’ve also written several books on theatre, including The Alchemy of Astonishment: Engaging the Power of Theatre (University of Victoria, 2016); Strategies for Playbuilding: Helping Groups Translate Issues into Theatre (Heinemann, 2001); From the Heart: How 100 Canadians Created an Unconventional Theatre Performance about Reconciliation (VIDEA, 2015); Laughing Allowed! — A How-to Guide for Making a Physical Comedy Show to Build Neighbourhood Resilience [co-author] (Building Resilient Neighbourhoods, 2016); and, Web of Performance: An Ensemble Workbook [co-editor/co-author] (University of Victoria, 2018).
To learn more about the work I do, visit my professional website www.willweigler.com
To contact me, send an e-mail to willweigler(at)gmail(dot)com