Cedar Sanderson, inspired (I think) by a comment made by Dorothy Grant gently asked me if I would give her a story for an anthology about PTSD. She further added that the anthology was to be about Hope, and would be about explaining PTSD to those who don't have it, but live with folks who do.
This is a fairly high-stress time for me, and some PTSD issues I didn't realize that I had may be popping up every now and then, but I said I would try.
And I did. I really did, but every time I tried, I'd get about a paragraph in and the story would be crap. Complete trite garbage. And I would do something that I never do -- and that is to delete the entire thing.
I honestly thought I'd have to bail on this one, but a couple of days past the deadline, I sat down at The Blanket Fort, jammed earplugs in, and just ... wrote.
When I write, I do what I call "storyboarding". I divide my story into acts, and for each act I have a mental picture, a brief description, and -- most importantly -- a sentence from the act.
I didn't do this. I imagined a terrible scene, and then just pounded the keyboard until it was done; and when it was done, I attached it to an email, and sent it to Cedar along with a note that, "If it needs editing, you'll have to do it."
I haven't read it since, and I probably won't.
The result was "Memories, Like Dust", and it is the story of a man clinging to his sanity by the skin of his teeth.
It is the very last story in the anthology "Can't Go Home Again", and is the least of a set of stories designed around the concept that there is hope; that there is way back to Normal.
If you know someone with PTSD, please buy this book. It was written with a two-fold purpose. One, to show people who don't have PTSD what it is like; and two, to show those people who do have it that there is Hope. That they're not alone. That there is a way back to something approaching normalcy.
This isn't about money, this is about a labour of love, and a sincere attempt to help those folks who don't get nearly enough help as it is.
Most of the authors are donating their royalties to PTSD support groups, that how much we believe in this book.
Again: please consider buying this book, and if you can't, would you consider spreading the word about it?
EDIT: I've had some people contact me, and tell me they couldn't read "Can't Go Home". That is perfectly understandable, and I don't blame y'all a bit. I haven't read it, and probably won't.
However, might I ask a favour? If you have a dead-tree copy, and find that you can't read it, would you consider donating it to a PTSD support group?