Why a book

Energy follows intent, my therapist has told me on more than one occasion.

If the past few weeks are any indication, I’m finding that to be almost scary-true. Suddenly it feels like everything is happening all at once: insights, ideas, invitations, connections, and countless new paths, each leading to a different and exciting possibility.

I feel exuberant and powerful.


My future will find me, I used to tell myself—and now it feels like it’s rushing toward me all at once.


I used to worry about not getting enough future; now, suddenly, there is an abundance!

Let me back up a bit, for those of you who have not had to endure any of my should-I-or-shouldn’t-I musings about what to do next.

The speed with which I snapped back to my “old life” after my first NED declaration continues to haunt me; after thinking I was done, I became hyper-conscious of how much more I learned during each recurrence—and the question of what to do with what I learned feels so much more urgent in that wake. In early days, I half-heartedly discussed the prospect of advocating for cancer screening, research or fundraising; mostly I felt guilty none of those felt like a particular calling.

The idea of writing a book is just one of a handful of my crazy ideas; but it has become fertile territory in therapy sessions, because there are so many valid reasons to not write a book, and I have explored each in length:

  • I’m not a writer, nor have I never thought of myself as one

  • I don’t want to write a book until I know the ending

  • What if I write a book before I know how my story ends, and then I die, and I’m both wrong about my optimism and all the more tragic because of it?

  • If I write a book, I will have to promote it—and promote myself. Won’t that move my ego vs soul in the wrong direction?

  • The average book sells only 2,000 copies—what if nobody buys it?

  • What if it’s not a NYT best seller? What if everyone reads it and hates it—or worse, decides they hate me?

  • And my favorite: If I’m meant to write a book, at some point someone will see this group/blog and will reach out and like magic: they will take it, edit it, and it will be published POOF

Are you arguing with me in your head yet?


And if you are, you can save your breath, because if I was waiting for a sign, it came to me—on TikTok.

Maybe you’ve seen her, too—the spunky and attractive woman who creates content about How To Keep Monogomy Hot (and sometimes how to get your kids to clean the house). Who is this person? I liked her energy and found her intriguing enough that I mentioned her to Per, who pointed out that maybe being drawn in by a beautiful woman talking about hot sex wasn’t some sign.


And after seeing fifteen or twenty hot monogamy videos, I saw one more, where she referenced a book—Save the Cat! —and it turned out to be the How-To Guide she used to write her memoir, Swing, in only a month. Wait, what?


I ordered both.


I read Swing in one weekend; it was the furthest thing imaginable from a cancer memoir, but I found in it an awfully relatable character and a perfect beach read.


Save the Cat! was less fun, but just what I needed.

It offers writers a sort of formula for the fifteen “story beats” of which every great story is comprised. That sounded to me like a template—I could probably figure that out, I thought, and I started to mentally map my various posts against the timeline of beats.

Then came this mic-drop truth:

All stories are stories of transition: hero / heroine sets off in pursuit of X, only to realize it was Y he or she needed all along.

Wait a second, what? All stories? Yes, all stories, claims the author: and lists a few examples to showcase a range that spans from Hallmark movies to shoot-em-up blockbusters.

Huh?

If that’s true, I wonder what my transformation story would be: Gina set out to cure herself of cancer, only to realize it was _____ she needed all along.

Maybe writing a book isn’t about who will buy it or read it or how I will promote it or whether it gets published or anything else. Maybe none of that really matters.

I’ve decided to write a book, because I’ve realized it’s what I need to do next to fill in the blank.



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