Book Jacket


rank 528
word count 55386
date submitted 01.06.2010
date updated 01.06.2010
genres: Non-fiction
classification: moderate

Carry Me Gently: My Life with Cystic Fibrosis

Debra Mattson

Carry Me Gently explores life with a chronic illness--the dread, anger, denial and ultimately, the joy of being alive.


Carry Me Gently: My Life with Cystic Fibrosis is a work of creative non-fiction that is not sappy or sentimental but explores the topics of disease, death and dying with brutal honesty. It is filled with humour and wit, joy and the epiphanies that come with realizing life is worth living, despite chronic illness. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and pancreas. The average age of survival is 35.

The first section is told in the third person as “the girl” is diagnosed with a chronic illness at the age of five. Her memories are of a frightening hospital, absent parents and adjustment to a “looming” diagnosis. The second section is told in the first person and examines life growing up with the knowledge that I have a chronic illness, acutely aware of my mortality. The third section is a dream-like examination of what it might be like to die and coming to terms with the fact that there is still much life to live. This is not a book about disease, but rather, a book about a life worth living.

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chronic disease, cystic fibrosis, death, dying

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    My Mother weighs the pork chop before I eat it.  She measures the rice in a cup before it goes on my plate.  She counts the green beans before they’re steamed.  And she says “we just won’t mention that we ate at McDonald’s today, ok, we’ll just make something up!” Fun, fun.  We’re taking part in a research project of some sort so my Mother has to keep track of every morsel of food that I eat for a couple of weeks.  Of course my Mother thinks it’s the world judging her so she fudges the results by denying the fact that one Saturday we ate at Mickie Dee’s in the food court of the New Sudbury Shopping Centre.  My mom teaches me a lot about honesty in this exercise.  It will be our little secret

    She teaches me that people judge us, based on our ability to be perfect specimens of health. She teaches me that the only thing that matters is what people think of us.  She teaches me that she is afraid that if she isn’t the perfect Mother, in the kitchen, at least, then she will be punished. And I will worry about what people think about me for the rest of my life, but it won’t be based in ignorance, it will be based in the reality that people will judge me for the rest of my life on whether or not I’m healthy enough for this or for that.  And she teaches me that what I eat, what my shit looks like, how my tummy feels, these are no longer private issues, they are issues of medical files and Nurse lunch hour discussions.  She teaches me that certain people are now allowed to ask me anything they like about all of my bodily functions, including the mucous in my cervix, the shit in my bowels, the phlegm in my lungs, all the fluids, milling about, moving slowly and thickly through my body, slowly thickening up and growing bacteria, festering little micro devils, growing and multiplying, making me cough, making me short of breath, destroying my lung tissue, breaking my blood vessels, shrinking my lungs, taking away my breath, making my heart work harder than it should, tiring me out, from my blood to my  toes to my brain to my heart.  To my heart.





          She stands by the kitchen window, arms on her hips, reaching up every so often to pick at her teeth.  She’s wearing a typical 50-50 poly-cotton shirt. Sleeveless, with her pointy, old lady big boob bra underneath, the one with the straps that are at least ¾” wide, the one with the cheap lace over the too-white polyester passing for silk.  The shirt has swishes of blue and yellow lightly painted on it.  Her arms, strong yet jiggly, shine with their expansiveness.  Her dark navy polyester pants with the fake seam on the front slightly flare at the bottom, anachronistic in their shape and fabric.  Her slippers, beige vinyl Tender Tootsies squish ever so slightly as she shifts her weight from one foot to the other.  And she stands quietly by the kitchen window with the sunshine yellow bright ruffled valance, the kitchen window that’s now only 4 x 4 but a long time ago, when I came home from school, the entire side of the house was missing, my kitchen exposed to the whole street, and my parents never told me about it beforehand, just that day they told me that they were taking off the fake brick exterior and putting up pale green vinyl siding and that this window would be new too.  And my Mother stands at this new window, shifting her weight looking out, waiting for Daddy to come home.  Daddy doesn’t go out much unless he’s at work.  But today he’s gone to the golf course with some friends.  And it drives my Mother crazy.     

         Back and forth, back and forth, she shifts, no need to worry, but Daddy’s out and that’s upset the perfectly predictable pattern.  He’s not sitting on his easy chair where he sits most days, he’s not working in the garden, fixing his gazebo, he’s out playing with friends and this is terribly disconcerting.  This upsets the balance, strays from the routine, so my Mother paces, ponders, hovers.  Hovers over her life, the others in it, hovers to make sure it’s all under her control, in her radar, able to be assessed and predicted.  She hovers, waiting for things to return to normal, for him to come back, as though he maybe wouldn’t.  Maybe it’s a WWII thing—she’s waited for him there too.  Maybe she truly doesn’t expect him to come back.  Maybe she knows that it’s real that he really could be gone, never to return. 

    And then she would hover over his grave, watching, controlling, hoping he’s still really down there, actually confined, truly lying in his grave, leaving his place on earth empty as space not to be filled. 





         If I walk from the bedroom to the kitchen I know that my Mother will ask me what I’m doing.  If I go to the bathroom I know that she will tell me ‘there’s lots of hot water for the bath.’  If I go to the pantry I know she will tell me ‘I bought cookies today, if you want some.’  I know that my Mother hovers, her every breath, every thought, pulsing, choking, handling me, hovering like a cloud of sticky phlegm, holding me together, bogging me down in its thickness and putrid smell.  I shower, I can hear her listening.  I eat, I can see her watching, I talk on the phone, I know she’s finding excuses to come in the kitchen and listen.  I see her, watching out the window, as I roll in the grass and giggle with Tim, from across the street.  I see her, watching out the window, as I leave to go to school, and see her watching out the window as I get off the bus and walk home from the bus stop.  I see her watching me read, feel her watching me write, see her looking at my reaction while I watch TV.  Suffocated.  My muscles tense, my chest tight with hovering. 

         This is my Mother’s day:  get up, hover over me, make breakfast, wash dishes, sweep floor, hover over me, sit and do crossword, get up and serve tea, sit and sew things, get up and make lunch, sit and watch ‘stories’, hover over me, get up and make tea, iron, dust, make dinner, hover, sit and watch TV, sit and knit, hover over me, have a bath only every second day because we don’t want to waste water, rub Vaseline all over her face, go to bed. 

        I know I should be grateful for the meals, grateful for the safety, grateful for the clothes, the field trips, the gymnastics lessons, the trips to CF clinics eight hours in the car, grateful that I am not an orphan after all I was adopted, grateful for the bedroom, the phone, the gazebo, grateful for the safe town that I live in, grateful for the steak on Saturday night and the pop on the weekends.  But instead I am furious.  I want to swing my arms and punch everything in my path, telling it to stop hovering, stop watching, leave me alone, let me breathe, let me run free, let me not be watched, not be cared for, not tended to.  Give me room to breathe. 





Years later she will remember that she cried when Daddy left her at the hospital, gave her to the Nurse, and she watched him disappear down the long hallway, through the tears in her eyes.  And years later she will wonder why she doesn’t remember her Mother’s face that day, why she doesn’t see her Mother down the hallway.  Was she even there?  And even though her Mother is still alive, she will not ask her such questions because what is the point, drudging up the forgettable past, opening up old wounds that don’t matter to anyone, what is the point?  Leave well enough alone then.  Good, solid wisdom, thank you.





         I’m on the floor, in the bathroom, with the speckly tile, green and yellow and pink, with the pale green walls and bright yellow tiles, with the sunken medicine cabinet and window in the shower.  I’m rubbing between my legs, frantic and fascinated.  I’ve never felt like this before and I don’t know how it started and I don’t know how I know what to do, but it feels good and I will do it again. I will do it during commercials, I will do it right before bed, I will do it when I wake up in the morning, when I get home from school.  And always on the bathroom floor because it’s the only room in the house with a lock and I know that my Mother can’t walk in, with her half-knock, half-open-the-door-while-she’s knocking business and catch me in the act. 

    And I know that it’s ok, I’ve heard that everybody does it, and I’m not hurting anyone and sometimes, when my parents go away on a smelt fishing trip, in the middle of the night, because that’s when smelts run, I know that I can scream if I want to, talk to myself if I want to, pretend more and bigger than before, on my bed, not on the cold bathroom floor with the grandma’s rag rug.  Because otherwise, in my bedroom, any other night, I know my Mother hears me masturbate.  I know she hears the bed creak and the rubbing of fabric against my hand.  I know she hears me when I sometimes use the end of the nose of my teddy bear the one from Florida and I get on top and rub against it and grab my boobs and kiss the pillow.  I know she hovers even then. 





         And Daddy asks me why we’re always fighting, me and Mother, and I tell him because she’s weird, impossible, too strict.  He tells me that we need to get along and I tell him that I try but she’s crazy, she doesn’t understand anything about me and expects me to live like a hermit. I’m not even sure if I can provide an example, I just know that I feel restricted beyond belief, restricted beyond any restriction on my breathing brought on by CF.  I feel like if I don’t get away from her I might die.  I might not be able to make it through another day if she doesn’t leave me alone.  I slam doors.  I scream into pillows.   I stomp my feet.  I say words like cunt stupid fuck bitch cocksucker crusty vag fuckface and I enjoy the sounds.  I enjoy the breath and the sounds.  I revel in the evil and I secretly, secretly, deep down inside, hope that one day she hears me so that I’ll be able to tell her all those words, tell her that I need her to stop hovering, stop breathing down my neck, stop trying to protect me from something that I haven’t even met yet.  Stop thinking that if I leave this house I will die, stop thinking that only she can take care of me and my CF, stop treating me like a rebellious heroin addict whore teen when all I am is a teen who does her homework, talks on the phone a lot and wants to own a kitten.  Cut me some slack.





         I learn about empathy from a drunken man on a bus, late on a cold night at the Sudbury bus station, on the way home with Mother.  We were shopping at Eaton’s without Daddy because he’s on a business trip in Toronto.  I learn about empathy from a drunken bum on a smelly ugly bus leaving from the city bus station heading to our town late in the night, brake lights streaking through my tired eyes, MacDonald’s cups tapping my feet as they roll about the floor, old lady with grey-black teeth smiling at me. 

    I learn about empathy because the drunken bum gets on the bus last, as we are about to leave and the bus driver tells him to get off.  He doesn’t have a ticket and he doesn’t have any money so he has to leave the bus.  He wears an army-surplus coat, khaki green with a  fake-fur lined hood and jeans with white streaks down his thighs, his black boots unlaced, trailing an old Coffee Crisp wrapper underneath. 

    His beard is black with spots of gray, his nose long and thin.  His green eyes wrinkled and watery. 

    “So sorry folks,” he says, as he walks to the back of the bus.  “I’m so sorry folks.”

    He waves his hand through the air, over his face, “Gosh, I’m just so sorry.”

    He’s too loud.  The code of silence on the evening bus is broken.  The bus driver tells him once again to get going and he moves slowly to the front of the bus, waving his hand, zipping up his coat, telling us he’s sorry.

    And I can smell it.  I didn’t know what it was then, really.  But it reminded me of my Tretorns, when I took them off after not wearing socks.  It reminded me of my Uncle Barry’s breath after hours of playing the mandolin for everyone at Grandma’s Farm

    I looked into his eyes.  As the bus lights came on, as he stepped off the bus.  I looked into his eyes while my Mother turned to tell me something.  And I knew that she would tell me that he was a dirty man, a bad man who was dangerous.  I had a feeling that she would tell me that such men were not good, that he should not be allowed to live, especially not near us, in a nice place like our town.  I knew that she would tell me that I really needed to watch out for men like him. 

    But instead she said to me, “poor man, he didn’t mean any harm, he just had too much to drink.  He didn’t hurt anyone.” 

    She turned to me and said that he was a poor man, that he didn’t hurt anyone and I knew then that even though in my daring dreams I imagined telling my Mother to fuck off, quit hovering, give me some room to breathe, I would never tell her that.  I would carry this vengeful fantasy into my adulthood, carry it to my grave, because I would never tell my Mother, who cares even about a drunken bum on a late night bus, loves and hovers that I want her to fuck off.  The world is already cruel enough without such nonsense. 

    I learned about empathy from my Mother.





    I never think much about the fact that I was adopted.  That a woman carried me, gave birth to me and had the strength to let me go.  That a woman, for nine months, tried hard not to love too much so that her heart would not break, but just enough so that she would give me a ‘better life.’  I never think much about the fact that in soap operas the adopted child is furious with her real the right thing to say is birth, not real mother and will never forgive her.  I feel nothing.  I was six months old when I arrived in my new home.  I remember nothing. 

    I feel no loss, no pain, no anger or resentment.  I know no one at which to direct my anger, if I had any.  To whom?  A phantom woman?  A woman I’ve never met.  A woman I can’t begin to understand.  A white trash whore?  A virginal rape victim?  Someone in between?  An accident?  A planned rebellion? A thoughtless afterthought? 

    Chances are that I will never know her because I have not felt the urge to connect with a stranger.  I have enough love in my life, and plenty of strangers to navigate.  I think I’m afraid that I might not like her at all.  That she might be the most distasteful woman I’ve ever met.  Instead I opt for the fantasy where she’s a lovely woman who has a lovely quiet life in the loveliest of times and every so often, around February 16th, she thinks of me, as a phantom daughter, caught still in time as a baby, if she saw me, fresh from the womb.  And I can’t imagine her face and she will never begin to imagine mine and maybe one day we will pass each other on the street without even knowing.  If life were a melodramatic novel we would end up co-workers or neighbours but the strangest things do not happen. 

    A friend tells me that her older sister is having a baby, and putting it up for adoption years later politically correct is “making a life plan” because she’s single and not ready to have a baby.  She’s going to meet the adoptive parents, choose them herself.  I am floored.  In my world, when you’re adopted, that’s it.  It’s over.  You never meet your birth mother and she doesn’t meet your adoptive parents.  It’s all paperwork and government workers and people without a history.  Other than brown eyes, Catholic, five feet tall, seventeen years old, Irish background non-identifying characteristics

    I imagine how brave it would be to have a baby, meet some people and give that baby to those people.  I imagine how sad it would be to have a baby, meet some people and give that baby to those people.  I imagine how much easier it would be to have an abortion if you don’t think it’s murder.  A day in the hospital, over and done with.  Never wondering how she’s doing, what she’s doing, if she remembers you, if you can just go and get a glimpse of her, see how she’s doing.  I imagine what it would be like to be a teen mother, another statistic, dreaming about the time when you have the baby that was meant to be, with your husband, in your nice house, on the nice street.  And the other baby, the one that wasn’t meant to be, becomes a ghost of a memory, maybe a few seconds of remembrance.  When you found out you were pregnant.  When the baby came out.  When they took the baby away.  Or, when you found out you were pregnant.  When you left the abortion clinic.  Ghosts. 

    Of course, the mother is not the only one with phantoms. 

    The daughter has them too.

    But for the most part she is happy to know that mother and don’t forget, there is a father too as a phantom memory, a mystery that deems the daughter interesting, a possibility that keeps the daughter guessing. 








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Seringapatam wrote 463 days ago

Debra. This has not only educated me but it demonstrates the work you have put into it. It grabbed me in the early stages and no matter how much I knew I had other things to do, I couldnt put it down. It has a nice feel to the delivery and your narrative stands out a mile. So well done with this.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Jane Mauret wrote 750 days ago

Hello, Debra Mattson – Carry me Gently
I am always fascinated by true stories and I think the ways you have chosen to relate yours make for something out of the ordinary. In many places it is what I think is meant by lyrical, like poetry. Having said, that, I sometimes felt the writing was perhaps a little self-indulgent but this is where writing memoir is so tricky. We have so many memories, impressions, etc, - there seems to be so much to say we can lose objectivity. I think this is where editing comes in as I understand even famous authors have editors who can be objective on a book's behalf. Looking forward to hearing how the completed version fares.
Jane Mauret (formerly Shannahan)

Vanessa Mayfly wrote 846 days ago

Amazing, its like reading about myself as I too have Cystic Fibrosis, its a cruel disease and you are getting a lot of people knowing what its about .. Your writing is honest like it should be. You are a very talented writer and totally back your book . Will be talking about your book

the morning after wrote 846 days ago

This is exceptionally good writing. I especially enjoyed the depiction of detail. How much poignant meaning you get into the details. The objects you describe having a speaking part like characters in a play.

cancerboy wrote 1370 days ago

Hello Debra
thoroughly loved the book...I am 18 and I have CF...have had it since I was 4 mnths old...the way you speak candidly about even the not-so-pretty realities in the life of a CFer is truly praise-worthy....It was a pleasure reading every single chapter...anyone who has read this book would already know that CF people cant hang out with each other because of the risks of cross infection etc and even if they do meet up its never without one of those lousy looking masks....while reading this book I felt like i was sitting in the company of a fellow CFer and hearing her side of the experience....good to know a girl's perspective on was a treat....thanks a ton Debra
help find a cure for CF

lavery51 wrote 1385 days ago

Hi Debra, what n uplifting book. I myself have Parkinsons disease . I was diagnosed in my 40s. Disease can bring out the nobility om people as it puts life in perspective.backed , God bless, if you get a chance , take a look at YOu Turn. best wishes. lynne

Hypo99 wrote 1464 days ago

This is a well written book with skill and intelligence. well worht a backing.


Hope you get the chance to peek inside The Russian Hat.

warm wishes

marywood18 wrote 1502 days ago

I don't know what to say and I guess I am among friends there as I see you have very few long comments on your work. For me it is because I am left in awe and with a guilt. Awe at how you cope and manage to write about it - not with - Oh pity me - but with real courage and feeling and a desire to help others to cope, too.

Guilt, because I ask myself, how often have I moaned at little irritations and health problems, when others have so much to cope with and how little thought I have given, other than pity to those who are suffering. I am here to apologise for that and to say, I will from now on donate regularly to the cystic fribrosis charity to help in the research and care of this condition.

On the writing front, I think you have handled this so well. You have used skills and talent to make the experience of reading material that isn't easy to read, a lot easier, though I would just say, look out for repetition, for instance the phrase -and all you remember- crops up a lot. Maybe you could vary this a bit by using phrases like: pictures of - memories visit you - images come to your mind of - like looking at old photo's you see - Just a few ideas. I wish you every success with this and hope it finds a publisher. love, Mary - An Unbreakable Bond PS, I am going to post something on the forum, too.

Telegraph wrote 1504 days ago

This decribes the brutal diease with dimilnating factors that patients have to live with the rest of there lives. To those within the medical field realize honesty is a line to a patient. C W

Mal Muirhead wrote 1505 days ago

Moving and engrossing in equal measure. The world is a better place now that this book has been written. It will be even better when it's published.
Mal Muirhead - Marvellous Mavis and the Devolve-o-Meter

gotiko wrote 1505 days ago

This is a book that will surely educated us all. Backed.

Gabriel (It Goes On Forever)

She wrote 1506 days ago

I'm backing your book Debra. Good luck with it.
The Mainstay
Annie of Empire Street

Ransom Heart wrote 1507 days ago

I nearly fainted just thinking about the rectal prolapse condition. Love thyself, love thyself . . . Beautifully rendered. Backed. Marianne (Saint Paddy and the Sundial)

Vanessa Darnleigh wrote 1508 days ago

The honesty and courage it must take to record such memories makes the work of fiction look trite and irrelevant...good on you...the rest of us have more to learn from you than anything we may have to offer! Very best of luck with this

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1509 days ago

I'm glad you are able to stay positive through this personal disaster. To allow us all a view into your thoughts and feelings is an honor, Debra. The very best of luck to you. BACKED -Elizabeth Wolfe (Memories of Glory)

stoatsnest wrote 1509 days ago

What an extraordinary book. I shall read more,but it's too harrowing to take other than in small doses. Backed.

stoatsnest wrote 1509 days ago

What an extraordinary book. I shall read more,but's too harrowing to take other than in small doses. Backed.

lizjrnm wrote 1510 days ago

Backed with pleasure! This is an awesone undertaking and you have done this with such passion and grit. A very important read and as a nurse I can see this helping many people! I am sure you will find a publishing home for this soon and bless you that it is all uploaded so I can return later to finish.
The Cheech Room

sjbal wrote 1511 days ago

Hi Debra,
I hate commenting on books like this, I never know what to say without sounding patronising - So... Well done and shelved???
Good luck,
James (The Lycetta Legacy).

Barry Wenlock wrote 1511 days ago

Inspirational. My friend's little girl had CF. She was a lovely, happy girl, too, but died when she was 20.
All my best wishes with this.

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1511 days ago

A heart wrenching short-pitch followed by a main submission which definitely reitereates what I frequently say - "there is always someone worse off & suffering more." This is a very informative and educational book but written in such a way that it doesn't lecture and doesn't read like a textbook. It is well written & professionally presented & is certainly deserving of success. Best wishes - Paula (Cuthbert: How mean is my Valley?)

drachat wrote 1511 days ago

When you think you have it bad you must always remember that someone has it worse! How horrible to have had to go through that.

It's amazing what you learn, I had no idea what Cystic Fibrosis was.

Happily Backed

yasmin esack wrote 1512 days ago

This is IMMENSELY moving and emotional. I can feel the pain and the anxiety the child is undergoing. Scarry stufff and the Daddy with the lace dool makes me want to cry. Life realities are hard for those who read about them far less for those who actually have them. The suffering comes over fantastically and I can only say that this book will do wonders to teach us about this dreadful disease and help those with it.

Many many thnaks for your story
Painfull stuff

The Lord of the dawn

Zangler wrote 1512 days ago

great work. Happy to back it!
Crossing The Line

Rusty Bernard wrote 1512 days ago

Hi Debra,

I have backed your book because I was hooked by the pitch, loved the introduction and read on. How much more I read depends on time and commitment.

Enjoy everything and good luck.

Rusty Bernard
Psychiatric Evaluation

lynn clayton wrote 1512 days ago

I think one of the most frightening things about having a serious illness is feeling singled out by fate. This book will remove that fear for whoever reads it and will have a more beneficial effect than any work of fiction, no matter how talented. Brilliant. Backed. Lynn

Hypo99 wrote 1512 days ago

I just want to back this work immediatly. I loved what I have read so far. This is an honest abd brilliant piece of work.


Hope you get the chance to take alittle peek inside The Russian Hat

Brendan Doherty
The Russian Hat

name falied moderation wrote 1513 days ago

Oh and you make me cry

name falied moderation wrote 1513 days ago

Debra, heartfelt. The honesty of your writing pleads the heart. I was taken aback by your profile, and this is written in a style unique in the way it is expressed. This is a book about courage and one that I truly wish to see in book stores to open eyes and also to give permission for others to tell their stories. Thank you for writing this book Debra. BACKED for sure by me and the BEST of luck with this strong piece of heart. I would be so happy if you would read some of my book, it too is non-fiction as I would value your comments.


Bradpete wrote 1513 days ago

Heartfelt and humuliating. Well written and hard to read - in the way it is meant to be I suspect!


Melcom wrote 1513 days ago

You are a wonderful writer with a courageous and heart-warming story to tell.

I'm wishing you every success in the future.

Happily shelved.

Amylovesbooks wrote 1513 days ago

This is a really good story - CF or no CF, I don't think it would matter. I suspect you could write about anything and it would be good. I spent the better part of the evening with your story, and finished all that you have uploaded. I now feel I am sufficiently qualified to back your story based on its total awesomeness.

Love Match

SueAnn Jackson Land wrote 1513 days ago


There’s magic to be found right in the middle of 30 pills ground up in applesauce… here: “Like squid and sushi and oysters when she’s older, and chocolate pudding or truffles.”

Trauma is still trauma – no matter the cause or the cure. “The little girl is responsible for saying goodnight to her stuffed animals. If she forgets they may die.” The chapters are long, but the memories were writhing over you when you wrote, I'll bet.

Quoting the Indigo Girls, eh? More reading tomorrow night…kindred soul.

Oh, and before I forget… “On the day I was born, said my father, said he… I have an elegant legacy waiting for ye. Tis’ a rhyme for your lips and a song for your heart, to sing it when’er the world falls apart. Look, look, look to the rainbow. Follow it over the fields and streams. Look, look, look to the rainbow – follow the fellow who follows a dream.” – Finian’s Rainbow

SueAnn Jackson Land
The Truth About Whales

SueAnn Jackson Land wrote 1513 days ago


Just from your pitch... you had me at hello. I'm going to read and will comment more in depth, but right now at this moment, the backing is a welcome. The backing is a congratulatory cheer for claiming life with all of its hard bits and holding on to it. "This is not a book about disease, but rather, a book about a life worth living."

SueAnn Jackson Land
The Truth About Whales

soutexmex wrote 1513 days ago

Welcome aboard, Deb. This website will improve your writing craft, if you allow it. I'm a bit of a pitch doctor, having read thousands of pitches in my time on this website, so I want to share my insight here with you. You have to think of your pitches as your sales tool to grab the casual reader's eyes. The short pitch TELLS instead of SHOWS but it works because this is non-fiction. The long pitch works, too. Perfecting your pitches is how you climb in ranking to gather more exposure and comments to better your novel. The writing is good so I am SHELVING you.

Though I have been a very active member for over a year and have the most commented book, I can still use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Every little bit helps. Cheers!

The Obergemau Key

Burgio wrote 1513 days ago

This is an interesting account of what it feels like for a young child to have a chronic disease – and not receive enough explanations of what all the tests she is having are about. It’s a book that should be required reading for respiratory therapists and nurses so they can fully understand the impact of what being so sick at an early age can mean. I’m adding it to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

D. L. Stroupe wrote 1513 days ago

This is difficult to read, and yet I don't want to fault your approach to it. While I find it awkward to read, your opening makes clear that your first and foremost audience is those who "really know what it is like." For them, this may be the perfect approach. Still, you have a tendency towards run on sentences and I do think you would do well to pare some of them down.

That said, what you actually have to say, so far as I've read, is heart felt and honest. It's the kind of honesty people recognize when you talk about things that most of the time it's more polite to ignore.

SusieGulick wrote 1513 days ago

Dear Debra, I love that you told in detail about Cystic Fibrosis & that it affects the lungs & pancreas - my Mom died of pancreatic cancer at age 74 in 1986 (she had lupus, too, which I have had since I was 15 & am now 70 - every other year I have a blood test for it - should it be more often? My Mom's was inoperable as too far gone, but took a year to die :( - I have it in my memoir. Thank you so much for giving me a head-up because I get pneumonia twice a year & you said it affects the lungs. Before I began to read your book, I was prepared by your pitch, which was very well done. :) Your story is good because you create interest by having short paragraphs, which makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm "backing" your book: When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved...authonomy. :) Please "back" my TWO memoir books, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" & my completed memoir unedited version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which tells at the end, my illness now & 6th abusive marriage." Thanks, Susie :)
additional quote from authonomy: Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs. :)