Tunnel Vision and Recommended Reading

I have been plugging away on my manuscript, almost to the point of obsession. In my ideal world, I would stay in my pajamas all day to read and write (and sometimes, I do). I’ve been bad about returning phone calls and emails. I need to fall off the radar sometimes in order to focus on my writing. I want nothing more than to finish this book, do the story justice, and be proud of the work that I’ve accomplished. I apologize to any friends and family who I’ve neglected in the process. Right now, I have tunnel vision, and after two years of writing diligently, I know the end is near.

I have a goal set, and I’m on a mission to reach it now that I’ve secured an editor who is very well-connected in the publishing world. I aim to have the manuscript finished by December. The editor has agreed to read my book, offer her professional feedback, and guide me through the process of securing an agent (if need be) and getting published. She has a long-standing history working for a major publishing house, and she currently serves as a freelance editor and hosts workshops for aspiring authors. I’m so grateful to have made this connection!

I am watching the pieces of the puzzle click together and take shape. I think about my project non-stop, and at this point, I’ve read just about every book I can find on the topic of depression and suicide. However, the books that I’m drawn to are not authored by professionals (with the exception of a few authors who’ve had direct experiences with depression, bi-polar disorder or suicide).

I write at home, in bookstores and in coffee shops. Sometimes, being surrounded by books inspires me to work on my own, and I find comfort in this environment.

I was taking a break from one of my book store writing sessions when I decided to peruse the psychology section (once again). This time, however, I found a book that stopped me in my tracks. The book is called His Bright Light, and it’s written by Danielle Steel, one of the world’s most successful authors. Published in 2000, the book is an autobiography and a tribute to her son, Nick Traina, who took his own life at age 19. I purchased the book immediately, and, for a number of reasons, I haven’t been able to put it down since. First, I was amazed to discover that one of the world’s most famous authors had written a book on the very subject that I’m tackling. The similarities between the events that transpired are startling (Nick was the same age as Brad when he died by suicide and their deaths were only 10 months apart), while our stories are very different. Second, this is the first piece of literature that I’ve come across that is written in a similar voice as my own. There are so many “professional” books on the market, but very few are real-life accounts by the people who have been most impacted by suicide and depression. I’m guessing this is because the topic is still considered so taboo in our society. Quite frankly, it makes people uncomfortable, and it’s easier to brush it under the rug than to confront it head-on. Plus, many suicide survivors and people who suffer from depression choose to cover things up or hide from the reality of it. It’s not often that those who suffer want to air their dirty laundry and openly share their weakest moments. (I think about this often, and it’s my biggest fear when it comes to my own writing). With that said, I think Danielle Steel is a brave woman, and I honor her for sharing her son’s story.

In addition to His Bright Light, here are a few other books that have inspired me greatly:

No Time to Say Goodbye by Carla Fine
Night Falls Fast by Kay Redfield Jamison
Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

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