An interview with the humorist and essayist about his book, Half Empty, his Academy Award-winning short film, and his recurrence of cancer:

GROSS: You were diagnosed with cancer in your 20s. Now you’re in your 40s and have a cancer diagnosis again. Are you dealing with it emotionally differently now in your 40s than you did in your 20s?

Mr. RAKOFF: Yes, I think I am. I think – well, first of all, the cancer that I had in my 20s was, I even referred to it as the dilettante cancer. You know, it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma, eminently curable and just a whole different ballgame from what I’ve got now.

And I was a little less interested in knowing about the cancer back then in my 20s. I was sort of like, well, do whatever you need to do. I’m just going to sit here and lie back and think of England.

“David Rakoff’s ‘Half Empty’ Worldview Is Full Of Wit.” — Terry Gross and David Rakoff, 2010, Fresh Air