Tag Archives: Breast Cancer on a Jazz Lit Canvas

Free Write Friday ~ Grace Notes by JM Fuller featuring “The Shadow of Your Smile~ Gil Fuller & Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra performed by Dizzy Gillespie



Happy Free Write Friday!  Wishing you a joyous holiday season filled Joy, fun, inspiration, freedom and peace…

This is an excerpt from:  The Sounds I Felt:  Improvisations on Freedom This is a Literary Companion to my father’s CD and the selection that sums up my Season of Improvisation in 1965 is “The Shadow of Your Smile” (Love Theme from the Sandpiper) I hope you enjoy it

Grace Notes

Dear Dad,

Thank you for giving me life.

Mom and God gave me all the rest.

Here’s what I have learned from my greatest teachers….

My journey began from the 1st sound of you humming the song you wrote for me.

Releasing my heart to search for the life that is waiting for me.

You were the one who taught me to dance atop your feet when you were called

To be the Conductor for the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra

The summer of 1965 would be my master class in the art of jazz improvisation.

It was a master class filled with civil, women’s rights and a cultural revolution that changed the face of American Life

August set things off.

Bringing forth a Tsunamic red tide attacking, redefining Life with discordant notes of ignorance, illiteracy, desolation, fear and destruction.

And so my song took flight.

Timing is critical in jazz as in life,

Knowing when to stop, start, step it up, slow it down

And more so,  and

oh so important is to learn how to wait thru the strife.

Jazz harmony is the theory and practice of changing chords,

where major and minor scales share the same space in a timeless             bond…

progressions depart in thirds and stacked fourths

favoring harmonic progressions where tensions in intervals                          of 9th , 11th, or 13th abound.

Learned about the search for meaning, intentions and having the blues

Finding your truth and appreciating a life of humility

‘cause the universe is misting the air with valuable clues

now you have the essence of a universal tranquility.

Notes are just window dressing a façade you create

listen to the spoken word filled with meaning

of the path and choices you debate

Play it slant is the message best heard in the evening.

Learned that being different is the integral part of the plan

pressing forward seeing how far you can reach

harmonies in real-time, flowing and ebbing broadening the span

of improvisational context is what matters in all you teach .

Learned that playing jazz has four elements

broadening your words and expressing every letter

in a charismatic way to enhance

finding your intentions and mixing all together

where freedom and coordination can really dance.

Jazz has the power to go deep within,

having a relationship with you as next of kin

surpassing arrogance into a love of sound and words

sharing that experience like the legends you’ve heard.

Now three years after your death,

I discovered in your music room the Gibson Guitar in case you                    gave to me

Nestled beneath the pristine guitar

A hand written note to me,

like in a bottle,

Uncorked my heart you wrote,

July 30, 1979


Jazz is my language. 

Notes are all I know to tell you how much I love you,

And I know that that is not what you wanted,

I wanted to spare you the struggles I faced to be

Your dad and to express the love for my family through

Jazz without words.

So now I am going to tell you that I know you

Were secretly writing in your room.

I want you to know what I couldn’t express it in notes…

If you truly want to be a writer,

you will have to sacrifice your life.

 that words are the loves of your life. 

It is a choice that you cannot shake. 

It brings happiness, patience, love and peace.

You are miserable and tortured if you don’t write.

Self-expression is overrated when it comes to

the ‘hour of the wolf’

 when it seems that the words are discordant and fretful. 

The trick is they are your children

 be humble and allow them the love and respect that you claim for yourself. 

 I was very fortunate to have met your mother, she gave me you and your brother. 

So I did not have to make that choice alone. 

So your family is words and jazz replete with lessons on life,

discernment and discovering who you are,

who you’ve been and most of all be grateful

to God for the talent to write.  

Write your heart out, share your soul.

That is what happens to me when I am writing a song. 

The notes are my children too.  I know you think that I made your life difficult,

but you will realize some day that when you look back

it is the fuel you’ll need to be who you are.

That’s your story. 

Love Dad

In 2000, I was saved by jazz

healing my soul and my body from

breast cancer’s trials and tribulations

Finding peace on earth filled with

joyous jubilation!

I am waiting and discovering a life filled with wonder and love…

I am definitely on the right wake…

portions of hard times, mean and hurtful folks, mistakes, failures

creating a wisdom that it is

It is not the number of years in a life that matters…it is the life in the years that counts.

To this end, for all of my life coaches,

I have,

Fallen in love with sounds and words,

They are truly the grace notes that have transfromed

and healed my life.

Thank you so much,

Your loving daughter,


Copyright © 2016 by JM Fuller/Jannat Marie/Jazzybeatchick/. All rights Reserved.

This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and please provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name or visual artist @ https://jazzenbeatchick.wordpress.com/.  Readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance for any or all of this content.



9 EZ PZ Ways to Happy Creative life with Special Video Snap of Nonconformity and the Creative Life


“All our problems and all our unhappiness are created by our uncontrolled mind and our non-virtuous actions. By engaging in the practice of dharma, we can learn to pacify and control our mind, abandon non-virtuous actions and their root cause, and thereby attain permanent peace, the true cessation of all our suffering.” ~ Geshe Langri Tangpa of the Kadampa Lineage

Mindfulness is the Survivor’s greatest weapon when it comes to managing living with cancer and dealing with life’s daily fun filled challenges.  I wish that as part of the entire process after being diagnosed that the Integrative Oncology Wellness team would have been a part of the treatment team sixteen years ago.  This way whatever the treatment plan coordinates so that it involves the mind in the spirit. It was as though my body went through all of the horrifying side effects and the mind and spirit were left in a state of limbo and confusion for extended periods of time.  When the treatment was finished then I was given the all clear but there was nothing for what to do with my life from there with a new body and an unprepared mind.  I was not only going through this alone, I was also my mother’s caregiver and there was no support.  Now I find there is NO support for Survivors who live beyond the extended survival date.  All Wellness Programs relate to those who are undergoing treatment and those that fall outside of that window as I have been and continue to be turned away.  In essence there is no Support or Wellness programs available for survivors over 2 years.  This is WRONG!

So, I had to DYI my life and it was by using Mindfulness to deal with the Stress and to explore myself to find out what makes me happy now living with cancer.  Integrative Oncology didn’t exist in 2000.  Research has shown and Time Magazine has just done a special edition pointing out how Mindfulness is the way to a Happy and Healthy Life.  With that, I, as a neuroscientist, Survivor Advocate, 16 year survivor and writer am LIVING PROOF that mindfulness in conjunction with building a daily practice using jazz improvisational techniques, and for me Poetry is what gets me to Show Up as  Survivor who, through time found a path that some days are good and others not, but, I am not suffering as a result.  Who wouldn’t want a Happy solution….  So here are the 9 EZ steps to putting a little creativity into your way precious and valuable life.

Creativity – is having the ability or power to create.  It is characterized as living in the moment and evokes approaching life with originality or looking at life with a fresh perspective using your imagination and expressing yourself in a style that is uniquely You. Sounds cool right?  So why not live like this every day?  Sometimes the hardest part is taking the first step.

Here are 9 suggested inspired steps to help you start living a creative way of life:

  1. Be willing to try something new.

Step out of your daily routine and did something totally different? Take a dance class, go to a concert or try a new jazz club near you to experience something that is a departure from your normal routine.  Try a new radio station or grab a pencil and start sketching the trees in your own backyard or a park where you see children (they could be yours) take a vegan or gourmet cooking class @ a Natural Food Store to engage in a creative action. Creative thinking and creative action occurs when you decide that you want to jazz up your everyday life.

  1. Create something with your own hands on a regular basis.

Set the table following a layout from your favorite magazine, i.e., I like Coastal Living they have wonderful recipes and table settings that are really festive and different.  Make time to try something new. For example go to the art section of your favorite department store and come up with a theme for the centerpiece with flowers, object, etc.  Check out DYI sites on your computer.  It is a lot of fun when you do it as a family and or friend thing.

  1. Express yourself through movement it could be dancing to music or watch a classic film, game or performing arts of a play or opera. creativeStart a  writingor book club.

You have the option of creating whatever fun filled game board night, or learn a new dance step or routine to break away from your usual nightly routine.  It does not have to cost a lot of money, just use your imagination.

  1. Integrate Creativity into your daily life.

Begin by scheduling time on your calendar for it. You don’t have to go crazy.  Start off with maybe twice a month.  Make it an intention as you would when you are meditating for a positive and productive day.  Chances are you will not consider it foreign or uncomfortable because you are pacing yourself to experience life differently.   Pick your own pace and find Parks and recreation programs that go to Wine Country or Hiking or Ballroom Dancing where there is not a long term commitment and you can sign up without going into debt.  My cable company has dance, yoga, exercise as part of the cable package for free!

  1. Design or make something for your office or your room that is made by you.

Your surroundings are a reflection of your uniqueness. Inspiration is the catalyst for more creativity, grace and character.  So it is wonderful to surround yourself with objects that you make or you find in unusual places.  Hand-made objects evoke vivid memories as well as diversify your experiences.

  1. Find interesting and exotic creative spaces.

Museums, art shows or galleries, outdoor exhibits, theatres and outdoor performances will places remind and cultivate our innate creative abilities.

  1. Take time-outs or break for new inspiration

Inspiration is everywhere!  Check with friends, family, coworkers, etc. suggestions of creative ideas they enjoy.  Get the conversation on creativity going.

  1. Let your creative juices flow and explore everything!

Keep in touch with your creative network.  Dialog and you will both be inspired.

  1. Be a creative outlet.

Talk about unique and unusual experiences to friends, email, start a blog or a Creative Living Circle.  Just be relaxed and free to do whatever suits your fancy.

 At the end of the day, be yourself.  The possibilities are endless.  Just include love, compassion, grace, forgiveness and most of all YOU!  There is no right answer.  Not happy with a choice, just make another one.  And now for a short vid on nonconformity….You are here!  Peace and Love Out!  JBC 😎 & ❤


Copyright © 2016 by JM Fuller/Jannat Marie/Jazzybeatchick/. All rights Reserved.

This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and please provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name or visual artist @ https://jazzenbeatchick.wordpress.com/.  Readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance for any or all of this content.

What Do Cancer Survivors and U.S. Veterans believe in common? There is more to being Alive than just Breathing and No, We are not Grateful Living Drenched in an Attitude of “Beggars Can’t be Choosers…”


Jazz is smooth and cool. Jazz is rage. Jazz flows like water. Jazz never seems to begin or end. Jazz isn’t methodical, but jazz isn’t messy either. Jazz is a conversation, a give and take. Jazz is the connection and communication between musicians. Jazz is abandon.  ~ Nat Wolff

Actually, I don’t know what other survivors think because for the past 20 years I have been living in the margins of American life.  Of course I could blame this on something common like the neuropathy that took me down from a very active and productive life, which I never heard of before. I was paralyzed.  Or maybe the oh so common theme for the baby boomers was it was …”the rents fault” even better the man, anti-establishment, blah, blah blah.

I was born with a successful jazz arranger/conductor father who, you wouldn’t know it by looking at him, was a straight up, no holds barred, chauvinist of the more traditionally drenched deadly type.  He felt that the best way he could protect me from the “bad” things in life was to control mom’s and mine.

He wrote a song for me when I was 4 apparently it was a contract he made with himself to enforce it.  I spent most of my childhood in my room.  Not chained to a radiator but imprisoned by some undefined sense of  guilt, a duty as a daughter and powerless to do otherwise.  I grew up all jazz.  Not complaining, just that it is yet another layer that is so opaque that the truth became buried in pages in the books I read and poetry I wrote for an audience of one.  That changed in 1965 which for me was when I had truly fallen in love with music, words, and the Blank Space of which was filled with wonderful possibilities.

Being a Survivor comes in many layers and over the past twenty years the layers have gotten thicker.   Jazz is all about conversation.  It is when freedom of expression is allowed.  Where being totally present is a requirement.  Well there were three conversations I had with my father,  but this one is the one that not only confirmed my suspicions that this conversation revealed what my father felt about himself.  Ever since I was eleven years old I thought it was my fault that I was not the girl he wrote the song for and if he didn’t love me why should I? What remained in my heart was the last words that clang through my head to this day…  Funny thing I loved him no matter what and followed him everywhere in 1965 like a “mini-me” of him throughout all of the rehearsals and live performance.  But, those words some twenty five years after still cut through my heart with the same fear and anger…

”You brought this on yourself!  I told you that I am only doing what is best for you.  You can’t come back home and stop calling your mother at work you will get her fired.  Welcome to the Harsh Reality of Doing it Your Way!”

I didn’t say a word as the phone lay propped against my quaking chin slippery from the tears that fell from a shackled tree.  My arms lay dead at my side and my legs on fire and numb at the same time.  It was hours before I was set to begin my eight treatments of Plasmapheresis which drained my blood and replaced it with human albumin.  Now this was the only treatment for this neuropathy.  As a neuroscientist  the experiments done in the lab were what I thought were noble,  to find new pathways for nerve growth in spinal chord injuries or regenerating bone cells there was through electromagnetic fields were done on the body without any consideration of what was going on in the patient’s mind and spirit.  It is conceivable to not be concerned when we are talking about dogs, or cats, monkeys or rats.  But humans,  that is where we are now and I am terribly frightened that the Frankenstein syndrome has taken affect.  That life has been reduced to materialistic and is quantified by increasing the years of survival.  So the plan is to keep chasing the cure and forget about the carnage of the survivors left to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives.  Somehow I am having a hard time separating my father’s last words and how I feel when I even think of the word “Survivor”.

Actually, until now, I wish I was given the right and the choice to decide for myself because I am living with the unintended consequences that through no fault of mine I got GBS, Uterine and Breast Cancer, I now have Lymphedema I can’t afford treatment for and of course with being a 62 year old, single, female, missing body parts, weakened and rapidly deteriating neuropathy and being treated and feeling like I should feel lucky that I am alive, I don’t think so…It sucks.  And it is rightfully my choice with respect to the astronomical cost to save my life when I can’t afford to stay alive because of the circumstances.  Nobody seems to care.  They suggest therapy because they have accomplished their goal.  Now the rest is up to me?  NOT!  In the next posts will delve into the mindfulness of being a Survivor or the Secret Life of a Survivor…

So mindfully, Mary Oliver’s poem resonates so loudly in my soul…”Every day, I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight.”

by Mary Oliver

Every Day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It is what I was born for—
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these—
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

Copyright © 2016 by JM Fuller/Jannat Marie/Jazzybeatchick/. All rights Reserved.

This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and please provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name or visual artist @ https://jazzenbeatchick.wordpress.com/.  Readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance for any or all of this content.