I’m proud to announce the publication of my book, next Friday 28th August. It’s another lifetime ambition fulfilled so I’m proud and excited too, not because it might sell a couple of copies but because it’s a trophy from a very profound period of my life. Would it be misleading and pretentious to say that writing the book saved my life? Possibly. Would it be misleading and pretentious to say it was a crucial course of bricks in the rebuilding of my life? Definitely not. Writing the book was a crucial course of bricks in the rebuilding of my life, and that’s the truth.
Readers of this blog will know that about eighteen months ago I tried to end my life. I failed. You probably know this too.
At the time, my book had just been accepted for publication and I received an advance on royalties and an option on a second book, but not even that was going to change my mind about committing suicide. I had finally yielded and crumbled to a lifetime with depression. And that’s why I fixed two leather belts together and hung myself…
After the belt snapped and I’d clattered to the ground, and with the help of very many kind friends, I began to rebuild my life. I made a number of observations about what I had, what I had achieved, and what life had to offer if I chose to remain in it. Along with the obvious (family, friends, girlfriend, the wonders of the natural world) was the reminder that a book bearing my name could one day be on the shelves. And so I pressed on with that, seeing the manuscript through several edits and fine-tunings until I deemed it ready to show itself to the world and those in it who might want to buy it.
Many of the stories in the book are about characters flawed, like me. Most of them are about characters who are underdogs, like me. All of them are based on people I’ve met somewhere along the bumpy ride of this life of mine. And all of them embody, in some way, the profundity of that period of my life. The stories, very loosely connected, are heartfelt, cathartic.
The testimonial above was from a reader of my work. It was a very kind thing to say, and if I may blow my trumpet just once in my life, it was also true. Because my aim was to evoke most of those things: humour, sadness, vulnerability, optimism and hope. So if some or all of that comes across to you, if you choose to read the book, I’m happy to have achieved my goal.
Happy. It’s such a wonderful word. Happy is also a wonderful ‘place’ for me right now, where the events of eighteen months ago are fading further and further into the recesses of my mind. Because there is always hope. Even in these dark times there is hope. If Covid gives rise to a subsequent pandemic of depression, I believe my book’s pages contain words that ultimately show some hope. That’s my view, but if you’re kind enough to buy the book, for which I offer thanks in advance, I’m sure you’ll judge for yourself. I’m less sure it could save your life and I’m still not sure it saved mine. Let’s just say it was important to me to write it, and now I am enjoying writing another, because in rebuilding, and during subsequent lockdown, I have re-discovered the joys of writing what I want to write, and reading all the books I always wanted to read.