November is Pancreatic Cancer awareness month and so I’ve decided to release a short story online to raise money to help in the fight against what is a particularly awful form of the disease.
The book is called ‘Tuscany Skyline’ and rather than write a normal book description for it, I decided it would be better to explain my impulse for writing it and my own point of contact with Pancreatic Cancer:
As far back as I can remember my Mum wanted to go to Italy. To be more specific she wanted to see Tuscany and the city of Florence. I can’t be sure but I think it was partly down to the beauty of how it appeared in books and films and photographs. It was these things, along with the history of the city and its role in the Renaissance that I believe helped to feed her interest.
She never got to go there though. Life had a strange ability to get in the way of the kind of desire that could only ever bubble just beneath the surface; the limitations of a long held wish that she could never allow to become more important than love and family.
That didn’t stop her wanting to go. At least once every year, I remember some kind of mention of making the trip one day. There wasn’t anything too specific that she’d say about what she’d do once she was there. I dount it would have really made any difference. I feel that the pleasure of being there and of being able to walk the same streets as so many great thinkers and renaissance artists would have been all that mattered.
It always seemed like something to aim at and to look forward to and, ultimately, that wasn’t just for her. I always looked forward to it and I think my dad and my brothers did too. When she was first diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, we did all we could to get her to Tuscany. We got applications for a Passport because Mum and Dad’s had both lapsed years before. My brother even managed to persuade his friend to let us make use of her family’s holiday home in Italy. Then we checked out all the possible ways to get them there and decided on the best and most enjoyable route for them to take.
On Boxing Day last year, we told her about this plan. She passed away three weeks later at home. In the end, it turned out that there just wasn’t enough time.
I wanted to change that in the only way I knew and in the only way that was still left to me. So, I wrote this story, which takes her all the way to Tuscany and to Florence. It’s not much and it’s not enough but after all those years of planning, she finally gets to spend a day travelling through the countryside and along the streets of the famous old city. She gets a close-up view of the beauty of the place and also of some of the ghosts of the city’s past; as she seeks an end to the pain she feels and looks for peace beneath the Tuscany Skyline.
Despite my almost non-existent knowledge of things like the geography of Tuscany and Florence, I’d managed to write most of the story within five days of the funeral. And I kept coming back to it every now and again over the months that followed; changing details and coming up with an ending that I felt was fitting.
I have to admit that I did spend a long time wondering whether it was appropriate to release it at all but ultimately I decided that if there was a right time and way to do it then it was to do it now, during Pancreatic Cancer awareness month and with all profits from sales of the book going towards further research into the disease.
As I said, I know it’s not much. It’s not exactly running a marathon, let alone working on a cure for this hideous disease but at least it’s as honest a thing as I could make it.
From Norfolk, UK – November 2015
All proceeds from sales of the book will go straight towards research into Pancreatic Cancer, so even if you have no interest in the story itself feel free to buy it and then never read it. Or, if you’d rather just give a little of what you have directly to a Cancer or Pancreatic Cancer charity then that is absolutely awesome too.
Because ultimately, this isn’t about stroking my own ego or making money for myself, this is about, potentially, saving people’s lives or at least being able to minimise the pain they suffer.
So, if you have any interest in purchasing the book, it is available on Kindle by following this link
or go to Pancreatic Cancer UK
Thanks and much love to you all.