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About My Book - 'Grin and Air it'

Crushing cancer with attitude, art + air guitar 


When the going gets tough, the tough ...play air guitar!

Grin and Air It: Crushing cancer with attitude, art + air guitar tells the author’s quest to transform a life-threatening diagnosis of breast cancer into an international glam-rock masterpiece featured on People.com and Vanity Fair Italy.

Marquina Iliev-Piselli focuses on how to get past fear when faced with a shocking cancer diagnosis.  She bares the details of her year-long debilitating medical treatments and the effects on her family life, her plan for future children, her marriage, and how she redefined her own sense of self and identify. Throughout treatment, she strives to find the strength to shine brighter, live without fear, and push forward. 

Photo 'Glam Chemo' by Casey Fatchett

Photo 'Glam Chemo' by Casey Fatchett

Throughout treatment, Marquina's infectiously positive spirit prevails because of the artistic joy and competitive drive she finds in a highly unusual place — air guitar! Air guitar is a popular global art form in which the performer develops an on-stage character to play an imaginary electric guitar solo. Performers are judged based on technical merit, stage presence and the extent to which the solo transcends the imitation of real guitar playing and becomes an art form in itself. Instead of having her identity robbed from her by her diagnosis, Marquina pushes further into herself and develops air guitar characters — each with costumes, attitude and charm — to get her through each of her chemotherapy sessions.

Chemo-weary, surgery-scarred and radiation-burned, Marquina still brings one of her characters to compete in the Staten Island Air Guitar Qualifier in New York City. Lead guitarist Ron Thal for Guns & Roses judges her performance as “perfect."

What happens when the body becomes lost or damaged? How do you to salvage whatever you can of yourself when faced with your own mortality? How do you let go of who you once were? How do you fuel your own strength and stamina to carry on and develop a new future in the face of so much that you cannot control?

Grin and Air It is told with a sense of humor and a sense of artistic discovery — buoyed by a healthy dose of air guitar! Follow Marquina as she reinvents herself at each chemo session and creates the 'Glam Chemo Project.' As radiation treatment begins, understand why she chose to bring her glam rock characters to life as 'Mother Feath-air' and compete for a spot in the World Air Guitar Championship. 

In the end, Grin and Air It can be used as a blueprint for using art, music and performance to forge ahead, even while letting go of who you once were. It is an unforgettable, life-affirming guidebook for breast cancer patients, survivors and their friends. 

The book will be published in 2018.


Learn more about:

💖 upcoming body-positive art projects 💖 

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📚 receive the book 📚 (for free!) when it is released!


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