Why I’m Changing from Real Cancer to REAL

By Diane McDaniel

Ragged Point in Newport, Rhode Island

There are times in life when things get REAL.

The September 5, 2017, episode of my podcast marks an ending of sorts and a new beginning. It is a lacuna, an interval, a gap. One door is closing and another opens. The episode is the space between the Real Cancer podcast and the REAL podcast.

Listeners of Real Cancer gave me feedback about why they listen and what they like about the podcast. A persistent theme I heard is that they like listening to stories about people’s lives and how they have lived with, suffered from, found meaning and transformed because of cancer. I also heard that many listen less for the cancer and more for the stories of encounters with the reality of life and living. Their feedback has taken me in a new direction, which is to explore the world of engaging with real life that includes cancer but also goes beyond it.

REAL will continue to feature conversations with individuals who‘ve faced the humbling encounter with reality that is cancer, and it will also explore other ways in which we engage with reality as we live our individual lives. REAL will broaden out the focus, exploring each week — through conversations with creative people of every type — the biggest questions we face in life: What gives our lives meaning? How can we live meaningfully? What does it feel like to be alive? How can we engage with the real challenges we face? How do we get on with living?

Memorial pond for Dominique Blakely

Each week I’ll host a conversation with a wide variety of people who have found a creative response to:

  • surviving a fall (figuratively or literally)
  • experiencing serious uncertainty
  • doing something wild and frightening
  • facing obstacles
  • learning about themselves
  • starting something new
  • viewing life in a new way
  • bucking convention
  • gambling everything to take a chance
  • separating the wheat from the chaff
  • enduring what cannot be endured
  • making meaning
  • finding joy

Thank you to the 31 people who shared their stories on Real Cancer. Your generous willingness to reveal your inner lives, fears and hopes, challenges and joys are inspiring to me and to listeners across the United States and in other countries who tuned into your stories. Your example will guide my efforts in shaping the stories we hear on REAL.

The first episode of REAL will publish next Tuesday and then regularly on subsequent Tuesdays. I hope you’ll love the new format.

Listen, subscribe, and share REAL at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/real-cancer/id1218912570?mt=2

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If you’re currently subscribed to Real Cancer, thank you. REAL should automatically download in its place. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe to REAL with Diane McDaniel on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

I’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch with your feedback at REALthepodcast@gmail.com. Follow REAL on Twitter @REALthepodcast.

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