Page 11

Vanessa Bayer

FEATURE

Bayer still required two years of “maintenance” chemotherapy, which often left her feeling weak and lethargic. “There were times when I wasn’t well enough to do a whole lot,” she says. “It made the things I did feel well enough to do that much more special to me. I was thrilled when I felt well enough to go to school. I always loved school and seeing my friends there.” Popular, and somehow always positive despite her health challenges, Bayer was voted prom queen her junior year. Bayer says the support she received from her circle of friends helped carry her through the darkest days of her illness. “It was obviously a very difficult time for me, but everything that happened affected my life going forward for the better in so many ways,” she says. “Everyone tends to be so obsessed with themselves when they’re a teenager, but my friends just rallied around me. It really meant a lot. Most of them are still my close friends to this day.” In Bayer’s case, the adage that laughter is the best medicine rang true. “Laughing with my friends is what helped me the most getting through the hard times,” she says. “I’m sure that’s the reason I ended up going into comedy.” How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? is Bayer’s debut book and she says she has enjoyed the entire process of writing it. “It’s been amazing,” she says. “It’s been really rewarding to see it all come together, especially since it had been in my head for such a long time.”

Bayer says she worked out a draft mentally and regularly made notes about the storyline on her phone for a few months before she really sat down and wrote the words. “It naturally came together in my mind,” she says. “I had been thinking about it so much, it was almost complete when I first put it on paper.” The book’s illustrations are by Rosie Butcher. “I’m such a big fan of hers,” says Bayer. “I can’t even believe how beautiful the illustrations are. It was so nice to have someone take my words and be able to illustrate them in such a thoughtful way.” Butcher’s depictions of the friendly bears are darling and sometimes poignant, such as when the sick bear is portrayed wearing a hat similar to those that cancer patients wear to stay warm when their hair falls out from chemotherapy. One of Bayer’s messages in How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? is that even if a friend is sick, they are still the same person that you’ve known and loved. “When someone we love becomes ill, it can be so scary and such a surprise and it can make us wonder if they’re somehow different now,” Bayer says. “It’s not logical, but it’s a natural reaction to wonder if they’re still going to be that same person they were before. I think that my constant joking around when I was sick reminded everyone that I was still the same person. My joking about my illness kept things light.” Bayer said another reason she wanted to write the book is because she’s found that people are often unsure of how to act around a friend who is sick or StoryMonsters.com | June 2019 | Story Monsters Ink

11

Profile for Story Monsters Ink

Story Monsters Ink® - June 2019  

This month's issue includes interviews with NBA legend Kobe Bryant, SNL alum Vanessa Bayer, Mickey Rapkin, Zack Bush, Symonne Harrison, Timo...

Story Monsters Ink® - June 2019  

This month's issue includes interviews with NBA legend Kobe Bryant, SNL alum Vanessa Bayer, Mickey Rapkin, Zack Bush, Symonne Harrison, Timo...

Advertisement