The On Being Project

Lauren Small
Lauren Small

teaches English and creative writing at the University of Maryland University College. Her work has appeared in Partisan Review, Fiction, StoryQuarterly, and the Johns Hopkins Magazine, among others. She is the author of Choke Creek and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Together with Dr. Benjamin Oldfield, she runs AfterWards, a program in Narrative Medicine in the Charlotte Bloomberg Chidlren’s Center at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Lost on the Children’s Psychiatric Ward

A woman finds the gift of stories to ground us and give shape to our suffering — by teaching creative writing to in-patient adolescents on the psychiatry floor of Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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Lost on the Children’s Psychiatric Ward

The Gift of Bad News

Is it possible to teach doctors how to give bad news? A writer’s probing reflection on hearing — and giving — the hardest messages to receive.

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The Gift of Bad News

Who Will Be My Guide in This Darkness?

Pediatric oncologists and parents alike are searching for someone to help them bear the suffering they must witness. An essay reflecting on doctors, Dante, and treating children with cancer.

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Who Will Be My Guide in This Darkness?

The Distance to Suffering

We rarely know the pain and suffering that envelops the people closest to us. In this loving tribute, the poetic structure of an Auden poem serves as a frame to remember a neighbor who loved dogs but couldn’t hang onto life.

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The Distance to Suffering