In 2013, the world as I knew it changed.
I woke up on new years eve day and I no longer knew my own body. Over time, I would have pieces of myself taken from me: my balance, coordination, the ability to speak, see and type. It took a little while until I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
I had to relearn to do a lot of things that had been commonplace. I had to learn to walk again, speak properly and to find a way forwards with a disease that was not welcome. I think the hardest thing was losing the ability to type and having to relearn how to do so.
Prior to the MS, it was nothing for me to write 20,000 words on the weekend and I always had another book coming out. Writing for me was the way with which I interacted with the world and the way that I expressed myself the best. Losing the ability to write was like losing part of myself. I would look back at all the words I had written and wondered if I would ever write again.
I had to retrain my hands to type on the keyboard. I started with trying my hand at poetry, writing one to five words a day until I could stitch together a poem. It took a long time to learn how to do this, to train my brain and my body to type again, but I did it. It was only one of the mountains that I’ve had to climb.
After some time, I felt comfortable trying to write a novel again. The Other Side of Oz was that novel. It took such a long time to write this book, made even more difficult by the trauma that the book is about and the trauma that I was going through. There was something so therapeutic about writing The Other Side of Oz. It healed me in a lot of ways and though the journey with this novella was a long one, it was a journey that I needed to go on. Though it’s short, this novella took so much from me but it gave me so much, too.
In writing The Other Side of Oz, I was able to find a part of myself within the story. I was able to find my way home.
It seemed so right that I found myself within the land of Oz. As a child, I read and re-read the Oz books and the world seemed so alive to me. When I was recovering from the first wave of the MS, Oz again provided that comfort to me and I lost myself within its pages.
It’s sat in my hard drive ever since then. It’s sat in my hard drive for eight years and I always wondered what I would do with it yet content to let it hide there in the dark forever if need be. Why then am I releasing it now? I think it’s because my MS has changed, I’ve had relapses and the MS has worsened. It seemed the right time to release it. As I go on this new journey with my MS, I was reminded of Justin’s journey in The Other Side of Oz.
I hope you enjoy Justin’s journey and the truth he learns about himself.
You can get your copy here:
Welcome back to Oz and the wonders that it holds. May you find a part of yourself there. Put on the rub slippers and see where they will take you.