Read by the author: Shayna Lance -- Time: 4 hours 16 minutes
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From a mother to her young daughter... The secrets to leading a good life, told in humorous fashion.
= 2009 Audie Award Finalist for "Original Work" =
= AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award Winner =
[Adult (non-fiction) - ethics] A CoolBeat original publication.
Edited by: Joel Nicholas
Diagnosed with terminal illness (from which she has now made a full recovery), Shayna Lance wanted to leave behind a mothers wisdom, for her daughter to read after she had passed away.
An honors graduate of the University of South Florida, Shayna Lance has been in the news game in Florida's top radio markets for the past 12 years. She began working with Tampa, FL, icons Hugh Smith and Pat Brooks, then went on to WOKV in Jacksonville, FL, where she won 8 Associated Press awards; including recognition in Breaking News, Investigative Journalism and Individual Achievement. For over 6 years, she was part of the top-rated AM News Talk station WFLA in Tampa, FL, and presently she is happy to be News Director of WWBA. Impassioned about her community, Shayna does hundreds of hours of volunteer work a year. Nearly every week-end, you can find her giving speeches to benefit the Hillsborough Guardian Ad Litem group and the Krew of Libertia (which benefit local underprivileged children).
CoolBeat: Shayna, "Sugar Pop Thoughts" has been nominated for a major award: the 2009 AUDIES, in the category of "Original Work". Are you excited?
Shayna: I'm in shock. Thanks for believing in me and the manuscript that had been tucked away in my closet. I am honored and thrilled.
CoolBeat: You wrote this very funny book when you thought a serious illness had come back. How were you able to keep your sense of humor?
Shayna: I was very, very ill when I wrote this book, and I thought I was dying. Although the weight loss and nausea was a great diet (I never looked so fantastic!) and I had an excuse not to do housework, I became convinced that the ovarian cancer I had when I was 21 had returned and I was on my way out. Not thinking clearly, rather than go to the doctor (as a normal person would do), I got it firmly in my head that the best way to deal with impending doom was to write down my story and life philosophy, so that if my child did have to grow up without her mother, she'd at least have a firm understanding of who her mother was. I might not be there for her first true love, her first job, or her first heartbreak, but I could write down and leave her with my thoughts about those things, and more, to guide her.
As for why I wrote it in such a humorous fashion, well, there are three parts to it:
First, anyone who has been through something horrific can tell you that sometimes humor is all that's left. I've always believed that laughter and enjoying the experience are big chunks of the goal of a fulfilling lifetime. As the months passed, and I grew even more sick, I was determined to enjoy every moment I had left... and laugh even louder.
Second, much of what I tried to accomplish with this book were parables. I wanted to tell her my story and then explain in bite sized pieces what I'd learned. Sometimes morals are easier to digest with humor. (Similar to the way medicine is easier to digest with chocolate cake. Heck, anything is easier to digest with chocolate cake)!
And lastly, and perhaps most importantly; I truly worried that a little girl growing up without her mom could have a tendency to pity herself, or to be very sad about life. Being so swamped in sadness everyday is a waste of lifetime. I hoped to teach her how to laugh through each day.
CoolBeat: Before CoolBeat, who did you share your "Sugar Pop Thoughts" story with? Did you talk about your health issues while on the radio?
Shayna: I spent more than 12 years in radio, most of it in a newsroom and much of it recording public affairs programs. Even at times where I interviewed ovarian cancer survivors, I never spoke about my experiences on the air. There's a part of the book where I explain that I never told my husband details of my time in a foster home. My closest friends didn't know I was going through invetero fertilization. In some ways I felt these stories, these secrets were mine and mine alone - but more importantly - I didn't want anyone to think or act differently with me. I didn't want anyone feeling sorry for me. Those experiences and stories were in my past. It wasn't until I began putting them down on paper I realized how they shaped my future to make me the woman I am today. Possibly more importantly: each one of those experiences sounds so terrible, doesn't it? How else but on paper could I show that in so many ways they were actually adventures. Even the most horrific experiences can be 'fun' when you don't pause long enough during them to realize how much pain you're supposed to be in.
CoolBeat: Do you have a favorite author or a person who inspires you?
Shayna: I am inspired by every book I read and every person I meet. I know that seems like a very 'cheesy' answer, but it's true. The clerk at the grocery store can be very wise, if you take the time to listen.
Beyond that, there are special people who have guided me. A colleague of mine for a decade, Jeff Fisher, used to say 'nothing is sacred' - meaning there is nothing in life that you shouldn't laugh at. My Great Aunt Edna is quoted throughout the book. I think anyone who lives past 90 has earned the right to be wise. Not to kiss up, but my new friends at CoolBeat were the first to read this book and their believing in it made me feel as if they believed in me. That kindness inspires me to push harder, be kinder to others, and truly live up to their confidence. My girlfriends also help keep life in perspective. And books of all sorts (including audiobooks, of course!) will always be my closest friends.
CoolBeat: Give us a Sugar Pop update. Will you let your daughter listen to her mom's book?
Shayna: She has grown up (well, to the stage where she can nearly tie her own shoes) listening to her mother on the radio. This book is different though. Much like the pearl necklace my grandmother managed to hide through the Holocaust (the only item I didn't hawk when I was poor - though at times it looked very, very tasty) If I let her listen to my story now, she may not understand the significance of it.
So, my intention is to have her (and all teenage girls I know) listen to this as they head off to college. I hope it becomes a reference guide they keep with them to refer back to again and again as the years pass. (Kind of like a cookbook, but with more laughter and guidance and less fat grams).
CoolBeat: What, if anything, do you discuss with your now 5-6 yr old regarding death, divorce or God (in any order)?
Shayna: At nearly 5, my Sugar Pop isn't ready for 'big' conversations yet - even if they're tempered with humor to make the point more palatable.
I do answer her questions on her level though. Children have a great way of reminding you to keep it on point and on their level.
The other day she asked where wind came from. I began to go on a long soliloquy of convection and currents... at which point I noticed she had lost interest. "Yes, momma, I get it... but can the wind pick an iced cream cone up from Dairy Queen and fly it here?"
Fortunately, I didn't have the cancer resurge as I thought, so I am blessed that there are years and years ahead where I will be able to torture that poor child with lectures and laughter.
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Audiobook is in immediately downloadable MP3 format.
Size = 350Mb. A broadband connection is recommended.
Audience = Adult 16+
Non-Fiction Subject = Ethics
BIC = HPQ (Ethics and moral philosophy)
DDC = 177 (Philosophy and psychology / Ethics / Ethics of social relations)
BISAC = FAM031000 (FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Ethics & Morals)
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Copyright Summer 2008, CoolBeat Audiobook Publishing
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