To everyone who feels they are different… it is that which makes you special.
If you read this blog regularly, it will come as no surprise that this particular post focusses on the publication today of my second novella, called Living the Difference.
Set in the fictional town of Eastwood Minster, it is the second book in the Eastwood Story series from my wonderful publisher, Chronos Publishing. The first in the series, Looking to Move On was published just over a year ago and introduced the key character of Matt West, who as a result of a car accident now uses a wheelchair and it was an event which saw the loss of his wife, Jo. That story explores all that came with it in relation to bereavement and grief, his rehabilitation, his ongoing life with Tilly, their young daughter – and also the support received from others. The story also introduces Sophie Howlett, a community nurse who supports Matt and as time goes on, friendship and love grows and, spoiler alert if you haven’t read it, the book ends on the weekend of their wedding.
Living the Difference starts on that same weekend and while Matt, Sophie and Tilly are very much in the story, I have shifted the focus on to two cameo characters from the first book. The Revd Liz James, the town vicar who married Matt and Sophie – so lots of insights in to what it’s like being a vicar and living in a vicarage! – and someone who wasn’t even mentioned in the last book but was there by implication. For on the evening of the accident, there is a bus waiting at the traffic lights nearby – so we meet Nick, the driver of the bus who witnessed the accident.
Eastwood Minster is a close-knit community – with a few dropped stitches. Steve Archibald is one of them, and his antics cause difficulties for Jess Wilson among others. We also meet Liz’s best friend, Alice, who delves deep in to the past. Once again, we encounter Ian and Greg and Mrs Conway – but you’ll have to read the book to find out more.
You’ll notice a similarity in the titles – Looking to Move On, Living the Difference – they are stories of hope over adversity. Stories written partly with the reader in mind as to how best they, you, can relate their, your, own experiences. Sometimes I think it’s helpful to reflect on our own lives in relation to fiction – and of course poets and novelists have done that for years. These are stories of how people make progress – which was such a key element of my own professional career and remains so in the lives of many – how people live with the difference life often brings.
The opening line to this post is the dedication within the book and it is, implicitly, a novella about those who feel they are different. Not solely people with disabilities – although the book is published to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December. But also people who, for whatever reason, do not feel they fit in – and I would suggest that applies to most of us. Times when we don’t feel part of what’s going on. Times when we feel we are not accepted by others. Times when we believe we have a different (and less valuable) point of view. Times when we think and act differently from what we perceive as the norm.
For me, (as one who embraces an ability to think and act differently!) I can think of this as, to use the words of Robin Gibbons, ‘The calling of not fitting in’.
The calling of knowing our identity (however we might define or reflect on that) and the acceptance of how we believe we are different from others.
For it is that which makes us who we are, it is that which makes us unique and special.
Details of my other books can be found at richardfrostauthor.com