I wrote in my memoir, Chef Interrupted, that if I say it out loud, it’s sort of like making a contract with the universe. Well, I am happy to say out loud that my next book is to be published in the United States early next spring.
In preparation, I’ve been working with my publisher on the nonmanuscript aspects of getting a book onto shelves.
From literary category to metadata buzzwords, to teaser pitches and advanced praise blurbs, you’d be surprised how much work beyond writing there is to getting a book across the finish line.
When asked if there were any images that would represent the work (we’re talking cover art here), I had to think for a moment.
There are a lot of words that will have to go on the cover of this book. I can’t share everything with you now, but between the title, subtitle, contributor-editor, and a rather prestigious foreword author, I don’t actually see much in the way of art going on the cover of this book.
That said, I did send the above photo to the publisher. I think it says a great deal about living life with a chronic condition.
What Can a Photo Say About Life With a Chronic Condition?
If you look at the photograph, you’ll likely be taken by the vastness and beauty of the place.
There are mountains and cliffs, meadows and pastures, stone walls and a wild sea. You can also see from the tone of colors as well as the heavy coats and hats we’re wearing that the weather was a bit fierce on the day — more than 10 years ago now — when the picture was taken.
You can see images of myself, my wife, Caryn, and our late wheaten terrier, Sadie. You cannot see that it was shot only a week or so on from our move to this corner of the island nation of Ireland. You can’t see that it was a dream come true, but I feel that you might sense that if you look hard enough.
Details Are Telling, but Not the Focus
You can also see my walking stick. This assistive device is with me whenever I walk out the door and sometimes even when I’m inside the house. I use my stick because I have multiple sclerosis (MS).
It’s part of how I get on with life. It’s what allows me to go further than I would without it. You might say that it has become a bit of the persona of an American living his dream in the wilds of West Kerry. You might even say that my MS is part of that persona.
But you wouldn’t say it’s the focus of this photo. My MS — like my walking stick — is there. It’s always there.
I try to convince myself that MS is as slight a part of my life as that thin stick of hazelwood is in my hand. The stick looks not much thicker than the lead that connects Sadie to my hand, but for the support it gives me, it is a mighty oak indeed.
My Life Is So Much More Than MS
Outwardly, and to many people who don’t know me well, multiple sclerosis might seem only an annoyance or a slight and occasional difficulty.
It’s so much more than that.
It is, however, just one facet on the gem that is my life. Like the stick in the photo, it is a part. But also like that photo, I am a part of a larger picture. My world is so much more than just this disease. My life is, indeed, about many things, and coping with MS is one of those things.
Most important, however, my life — even a life with multiple sclerosis — is about the living part.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.