Kathleen Watt, author of Rearranged, in conversation with Melanie Brooks.
Balin Books is excited to be hosting Kathleen Watt and Melanie Brooks in conversation about Kathleen's memoir, Rearranged: An Opera Singer's Facial Cancer And Life Transposed.
REARRANGED tells of leaving the operatic stage for a starring role opposite the Big C. Bone cancer in my cheek ended my career as an opera singer and brought me face to face with mortality, disfigurement, the meaning and uses of beauty—and a lot of left over pieces.
A small corps of medical elites convened to excoriate my diseased bones with surgical wizardry and lethal toxins, and stayed on to restore me to myself through a brutal alchemy of kindness and titanium screws.
REARRANGED is a tale of letting go to hold on, of putting old pieces to new uses—and of the unlikely arrangements that make it all work out.
About Kathleen Watt:
LONG AGO I took a scattershot at life and I've been catching up to my marks ever since.
Trained in illustration and painting, I moved to Manhattan to become a professional opera singer (why not). For years I enjoyed the privilege of singing some of the world's greatest music as a principal soloist, and for a few seasons with the extra chorus of New York's Metropolitan Opera Company. I was still peddling high C's when bone cancer settled in behind my cheek.
So began my greatest and least anticipated adventure, the subject of my new memoir: Rearranged.
Melanie Brooks is the author of A Hard Silence: One daughter remaps family, grief, and faith when HIV/AIDS changes it all and Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Traum. She teaches professional writing at Northeastern University and narrative medicine in the MFA program at Bay Path University in Massachusetts and creative writing at Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast writing program. She has had numerous interviews and essays on topics ranging from loss and grief to parenting and aging published in Psychology Today, the HuffPost, Yankee Magazine, the Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, Creative Nonfiction, and other notable publications. Her forthcoming memoir, A Hard Silence (September 2023), explores the lasting impact of living with the 10-year secret of her father’s HIV before his death in 1995. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, two children (when they are home from college), and two Labs.
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