WITS Writer Interviewed on Purple Songs Can Fly Radio Show

Posted April 25, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

anitagracieWriters in the Schools (WITS) is thrilled to have partnered with Purple Songs Can Fly since its inception.  This innovative program provides a musical outlet for the many children being treated for cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. Children work with Purple Songs Can Fly founder, Anita Kruse, and other professional composers to write and record their own songs.

fabianwguitarThrough VoiceAmerica Kids Network, Purple Songs Can Fly also hosts an online radio show.  In the latest episode teenagers Emily Freeman and Zachary Tavlin interview WITS writer Marcia Chamberlain, who teaches at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.  Marcia has assisted many children to write poems and songs recorded by Purple Songs Can Fly.

The VoiceAmerica show airs online every Monday at 3:00pm PST/6:00pm EST and is broadcast internationally. To hear the interview with WITS writer Marcia Chamberlain, click here and listen to Episode 6.


Posted May 29, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

One day I was sitting at home. It was the day after I got my hair cut short.  I thought I was stable but then I took a good look in the mirror, and I wasn’t comfortable with what I saw.  I stared and thought about it.  Then I took my journal (which I didn’t usually write in!) and picked up a pencil and started writing.  The words just poured out onto the page.  In a few minutes I had a written a poem called “Mirrors.”  I didn’t share it with anyone.  It was just for me.  Then I met the folks from Purple Songs Can Fly project, and they asked if I wanted to write a song.  I read them my poem, and they said, “Yes!  You’ve already written a song. This is perfect.”  So, I recorded my first song ever, “Mirrors.”

By Kaitlin, 15

Kaitlin participates in the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center.  She turned her poem “Mirrors” into a song through the wonderful Purple Songs Can Fly program.  Click here to hear Kaitlin’s song “Mirrors.”

Here I Go

Posted September 9, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

Texas Children’s Cancer Center is full of young authors. I work with them every week through WITS and always leave inspired.  The children in outpatient treatment come in to the clinic regularly, so I often get to build a relationship with them. When we are first getting to know each other, many children choose safe, familiar writing topics.  They talk about puppy dogs and basketball and trips to the beach.  Their words conjure up “normal” lives, which they want to return to as soon as possible.

As time goes on, some children find power in writing more directly about their illnesses—how it feels to be told you have cancer or what happens when kids tease you at school or how you deal with the effects of chemo.  Opening up about their sickness takes an incredible amount of courage.Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman, a teenager who is dealing with a recent relapse in her cancer, wrote this song several years ago when she learned that she was cancer-free.  It is an A-Z list poem that captures her will to survive.  Please join us in sending healing thoughts and love to Alice Hoffman, a longtime participant in WITS.  Her song was mixed and recorded by Purple Songs Can Fly, another wonderful project at Texas Children’s Cancer Center.

posted by Marcia Chamberlain, Writers in the Schools


Here I Go by Alice Hoffman

A is for Atavan
B is for Bactrim
C is for Codeine
D is for Dilauden

E is for Excedrin
F is for Fluoxodine
G is for Groggy
H is Hydrocodone

Cancer treatment for two years
Radiation, Chemo
Difficult by here I am
I made it, here I go

I is for Iodine
J is for Jittery
K is for Kitral
L is for Loratab

M is for Marinol
N is for Nexium
O is for “Oh My Gosh”
P is for Previcid

Cancer treatment for two years
Radiation, Chemo
Difficult by here I am
I made it, here I go

Q is for Queezy
R is for Really Long
S is for Stomache Ache
T is for Tremodol

U is for Underweight
V is for Verconizol
W is for Weepy
X is for X-Ray

Cancer treatment for two years
Radiation, Chemo
Difficult by here I am
I made it, here I go

Y is for YoYo moods
Z is for Zofran
Mac & Cheese & drinking Boost
Part of the Med Plan

Cancer treatment for two years
Radiation, Chemo
Difficult by here I am
I made it
Here I go
Here I go…here I go…
here I go….

by Alice Hoffman

[Photo of Alice was taken by Yvonne Feece at the WITS Young Writers Reading in May 2008 at The Menil Collection. The WITS program at Texas Children’s is funded by the Periwinkle Foundation.]

WITS is Mentioned in the New York Times

Posted January 7, 2008 & filed under Notebook.

ishaphotowanita-purplesongscanfly.jpgToday the New York Times published a great story about Purple Songs Can Fly, an organization founded by Anita Kruse that helps young cancer patients write, record, and produce original music. Writers in the Schools collaborates with Purple Songs at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Both WITS and Purple Songs are part of the Arts in Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Hospital led by Carol Herron. You can read more about the collaboration between WITS and Purple Songs in an article by WITS Writer Marcia Chamberlain here.