My hands have been hovering over the keyboard for the last half hour trying to conjure up some sort of wordy magic on screen, but sadly I just can’t make it happen.
I am rather nervous actually.
I’ve never been good with introductions.
You see, I’m awkward and when I’m anxious, on a scale of 1 to 10 my awkwardness is a “I pictured you naked. Good job on the landscaping.”
Let me explain that…
I was the maid of honour at my best friend’s wedding and I was about to give my speech. My husband told me to picture everyone naked so in my nervous awkward state, I did.
In the microphone.
“You’re all naked. You’re all naked. Jesus don’t look at grandpa. Grandpa is staring. Don’t look at naked grandpa. Old man balls. Oh the microphone is on. SHIT!”
I wasn’t even drunk.
So you can just imagine what my insides are doing right now as I’m trying to think of something spectacular and not-so-awkward to introduce one of my favourite people, Lizzi from Considerings.
She is amazing.
Let me tell you why very briefly because Lizzi asked me to use my space today not for her, but for another fantastic writer who just came out with her very first book. Lizzi writes from that piece of your heart and soul that needs to come out but you are to afraid to let it. Real. Raw. Honest. Brutally honest. In her struggles, she has taught me to find – scavenge for the little bits of good despite of it and to be thankful for them. Her writing makes me think hard and feel deep. She. Is. Amazing.
Now she is an avid supporter of other bloggers and their accomplishments. Today she wants to help promote Mandi Castle, from Cellulite Looks Better Tan. Mandi is a brilliant writer. I fell in love with her post Hide, Run Away, Disappear — simple but the emotions ran deep for me at the time (and yes, for some reason I am a gigantic chicken shit and have yet to comment over there).
Her book, Dear Stephanie was just released and is getting such positive reviews. It’s on my summer reading list! Here is a bit about the book:
Paige Preston wants to end her life. After an unsuccessful attempt, she lands herself in mandatory therapy with a sexy psychiatrist. When he and an even more alluring friend begin to help her break down the walls she’s spent a lifetime building, Paige begins to see something bigger than herself. Is it enough to pull her out of her dark world and help her finally feel like a human? Or will letting someone in be the final step toward her demise?
Dear Stephanie is a sinfully addictive walk through a world of beauty, affluence, and incidental love that effortlessly moves the reader between laughter, tears, heartache, and hope with the turn of every “Paige.”
You can purchase Dear Stephanie from Amazon
And without further ado, here is Lizzi.
Gonna keep writing, whether you like it or not
This is going to sound arrogant (because it is) but usually people ask me to write MORE, not less, and I’m unused to anyone trying to tell me to stop.
I was particularly bemused when this situation occurred a week before the release of Mandi Castle’s debut novel ‘Dear Stephanie’, and the writing I was doing concerned ‘Dear Stephanie’, and the person trying to tell me to stop was Mandi Castle.
You see my conundrum.
In the end, I think I figured it out – it seemed as though Mandi, poor love, was a tad embarrassed by the amount of attention I was giving her book (not that I haven’t set a precedent with all the pimping I’ve done for other completely awesome books, like Memoirs of a Dilettante, or Order of Seven (but anywayyyy!)) – and I had to respond by informing said NearlyNewlyPublishedAuthor that I was going to keep writing about her book, whether she liked it or not, but that I’d rather do it with her blessing than without.
I think the conversation went somewhere along the lines of
ME: But Mandi, Mandi, Mandi… [insert beautifully-worded, well thought-out, balanced and completely justifiable argument for my continued promotion here]
HER: Go to bed, Lizzi. [It may or may not have been the ‘wee hours’ in England at the time]
I continued my attack the next day, with further beautifully-worded, well thought-out, balanced and completely justifiable arguments for my continued promotion of Dear Stephanie.
They were met with resistance (I countered), offers of payment (she can’t afford me (nor can you)), proffering of gifts (unnecessary and never why I do it), the suggestion that she fly over and devote herself to being my willing slave for a week, and effusive thanks (got there in the end (wait, WHAT was that slave one? Go back, go back!!)) and in the end the blessing was given on the basis that this was my crusade for kicking the stigma surrounding mental health to the curb, and ‘Dear Stephanie’ was just along for the ride*.
The thing is, ‘Dear Stephanie’ is a fabulously well-written book. The character around whom the entire story revolves – Paige Preston – is so richly constructed that she walks off the page and into your brain without so much as a ‘by your leave’, but here’s the crux – she has huge, devastating struggles with depression, which leave her frequently suicidal and often at her wit’s end. In spite of her outward perfections, her piss-poor attitude to life and other people, she is fragile and vulnerable, and shortly after you’ve gotten over being outraged by her audacity, you find that you love her for her brokenness and the way she sometimes seems to really want to make life work, but has tried too hard for too long and not gotten anywhere, and is perpetually on the point of giving up.
Then love at the speed of plot happens, and she finds her emotional landscape subject to some serious re-framing, but whether or not it’s sufficient to rescue her is why you need to buy the damn book!
She’s relatable. Especially to anyone who has ever had, or known, or seen, or known someone who knows someone with a mental illness. Because it really can be that bad. It really can be that vicious and destroying. It really can reduce someone who, on the outside looks as if they have it all together, and are prickly to the point of ‘just fuck off then’, to a puddle on the floor, crying and wishing to un-be.
And being able to talk about it, when you’re in that place of being affected by mental illness (yours or someone else), really CAN help.
Books like ‘Dear Stephanie’, with sexy, dark, gritty storylines and engaging characters who suck you into their world and blow your mind, make it possible, no, they make it okay…no, they make it GOOD to talk about mental health issues.
And if there’s any chance that somewhere, someone who is struggling feels less alone having read this book/another like it/a post I’ve written/a post written by any of the bloggers who step up to the plate and let sunshine fall on matters about mental illness and their struggles, then that MATTERS, and my goodness, I am NOT going to let a chance like that slip by.
Likewise if someone reads one of these things and realises that they know someone like that, and are inspired to reach out, or persevere, or they gain a new level of understanding, empathy or compassion for that person, then I am GOING to keep writing.
CAN it help? You bet.
WILL it? Up to you – go buy the book and start TALKING about it.
Lizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth-Teller and seeker of Good Things. She’s also silly, irreverent and tries to write as beautifully as possible. She sends glitterbombs and gathers people around her – building community wherever she can.
Lizzi is a founder member of Sisterwives and #1000Speak, and hosts the Ten Things of Thankful bloghop each weekend.
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