Sunday, 6 April 2014

Toilet-Paperback Writer

As most of you will know I’m in the process of writing a book based around my experiences shared in this blog in the past few years since my diagnosis. It’s been a labour of love, but mostly a very difficult experience. Lots of you are lovely enough to enquire as to how it’s all going so I thought I’d share a little update on my progress…
Writing a book based mainly on your own life isn’t as easy or as much of a vanity project as you may think. Especially when you are talking about some of the worst and most painful (mainly literally) experiences you’ve ever had. You wouldn’t think any research would be required when writing about yourself but it is amazing how many details are forgotten in a haze of drugs and pain relief. Hospital stays especially can be so mind-numbingly dull and lonely that the mind tends to blur chunks of it out and leaves only the worst or best bits. Selective memories I suppose. I started my own ‘research’ by looking out my old diaries and immersing myself in my own recent history. I spent hours sobbing into the pages as I was faced with the horrible recollection of how horrendously ill and miserable I was. The resounding feelings bouncing off the page were that of utter hopelessness and confusion, constant pain and sadness. Now I’m well aware most people who keep diaries (I have since I was 12 years old) have a tendency to dramatize – especially if you were an aspiring writer like me, but there was no drama in here, just facts. A little bit of ranting at the wretchedness of my existence but certainly nothing worthy of Sunset Beach.
After stepping back out of my pre-penned history I was able to start to thinking about how to make something so miserable into a piece of work someone would actually want to read. Preferably without hanging themselves by the end of the first chapter. (I didn’t say I set my bar high). I use my blog to try to make something universally rubbish seem slightly less so through humour, mocking myself and of course, puns. LOVE A PUN. So I figured this was the best way to go. I want people to read my experiences and see there is life beyond chronic illness, especially those who are recently diagnosed. It can be such a terrifying time for everyone involved, so the book contains lots of help for sufferers themselves and I hope their families and friends can gain a bit of insight from it too. That’s the plan anyway.  Some of my friends who are fellow sufferers’ have read the book (in its early draft) and have had positive feedback for me so far.  I didn’t quite realise it may be uncomfortable for my family and friends though, as some have told me it’s been difficult and upsetting to read as they didn’t realise how bad things actually were.
It’s hard to write about Crohn’s when you live with it. Looking at something subjectively is practically impossible because it is with you 24hrs a day. Finishing the main body of the book has taken me much longer than I’d hoped because I’ve been ill. The LAST thing I want to do when writhing around in agony is write about how great life can be despite Crohn’s because in those moments I certainly don’t believe it myself. I hope I’ve managed to get that across in the book; that life is going to be far from easy, but that it doesn’t have to change completely.  
Now, to down a vat of coffee and get back to it…

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