It’s two years since Fran first suggested we write a book about my experiences as the friend of someone living with illness.
Writing a book isn’t something to be taken on lightly or casually, but I didn’t anticipate just how much would be involved with the book itself (research, study, writing, editing, and all the work we’ve done in the quest to find a literary agent) or how much the journey would challenge and enrich me.
I’ve taken courses I would never have thought of taking if it wasn't for Gum on My Shoe, including the excellent Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and ASIST workshops. I’ve expanded my awareness and involvement in the online mental health community developing our social media presence. Most importantly of all, I’ve met some wonderful people.
Last night, Fran and I met up with a dear friend we’ve each known online since 2011 but had never previously met face to face. It was great to all hang out together: to laugh and talk and share something of our personal stories. Our friend asked about the book: what lay behind it, how it’s progressing... As we talked, I was moved by how deeply our story resonated with her.
She’s not the first person to tell us our message is important and deserves to be told. Fran and I are best friends, neither more nor less, but what we do, what we’ve learned and discovered, what we are, seems to strike a chord with people. Whilst that’s always very encouraging to hear, there’ve been times when I’ve questioned my ability to do justice to our message, our friendship, and ultimately to Fran herself.
I guess all writers doubt themselves at times, but our friend’s response last night was so genuine and spontaneous that I felt a renewed belief in myself, in Fran, and in what we are doing. Our story is worthy of the telling, and today I know I am worthy to tell it.
PS: We’re still looking for a literary agent, so if you know of one, or are one, please let us know!