Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Chronic Christmas Carol: Healing You, Healing Me




Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness is now available in paperback on all the Amazons.

Did you know I have a new book out? Could be hard to miss, what with me barely mentioning it. Okay, so I haven’t shut up about it, but it’s still theoretically possible that you might have missed the festivities.

No?

I wanted to tell you a bit about the background of Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness.

It all started with a series of blog posts I wrote last year. In late November 2015, I got the bright idea of doing a sort of Advent calendar here on The Seated View. The goal was to help people with chronic illness experience less stress leading up to the holidays so they could actually be conscious for Christmas dinner. I enjoyed writing the posts and based on the feedback, people enjoyed reading them.

After the holidays, I entertained the thought of turning it into a book for this holiday season, but then things went sideways.

My “medical adventure” affected all parts of my life, including the part of me that’s a writer. While I had the tracheostomy, I worried what would happen if it had to become permanent. It was a very small risk, but the thought of being a writer who relies on her voice to communicate and then possibly not being able to do so was terrifying. Luckily, everything worked out.

But coming back was difficult. Not only was my voice very weak until the trach stoma in my throat closed, but it has continued to be easily strained. More than that, my writer’s brain seemed to have trouble waking up. I had a project to do, involving longer pieces of writing and just couldn’t do it.

I was off work in July to recover and I did, enough that I started getting the urge to write again. But I needed something small, something fairly light, something fun. And then I remembered Chronic Christmas. I let my brain noodle with that for a while, wanting to make it more than just a polished series of blog posts. Then in a conversation with The Boy’s sister, everything came together with an almost audible *snap* and I knew what this book was going to be.

When I wrote Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness I wanted to help people with chronic illness heal both physically and emotionally so they can enjoy Christmas. I wanted to build bridges between people who are chronically ill and their family and friends, enhancing understanding of what it’s like to have a chronic illness and perhaps contributing to bringing them closer.

And in the process of writing a book that was intended to help people heal, I also healed myself. The writer part of my brain woke up and did that thing that I love so much. The thing that feels like it’s a pod of dolphins playing in the surf. It’s effervescent, playful, fun, transcendent, and it makes all of me feel alive and so happy.

And this time, it made me even happier. Being a writer who couldn’t write was really hard.
You might say that I applied the philosophy of Chronic Christmas to my writing. I wrote it in small bites and although I hoped that the end result would be a good book, did my very best to focus on enjoying the process.

And it worked.

There is always some stress in creating a book. And there are always moments when it becomes a slog and feels very much like work. It didn’t this time around. It felt like play and I had a blast writing it.

I hope you have a blast reading it.
  

1 comment:

cathy kramer said...

Thank you so much for giving this book to our community. It takes the experiences we all deal with on a daily basis and empowers us to take small steps towards enjoying the holidays.