I BEGAN WRITING IN PARIS . . .
. . . in October 2014. Initially writing short stories about my day-to-day experiences in Paris, these pieces were my first attempt at the challenging—and often confounding—art of storytelling.
The final goal of the writing from the very beginning, however, was to write the story for a piece of musical theatre.
As the anaesthetist injected the milky propofol into my arm at the start of the seven-hour operation to surgically excise the recurrent cancer from my body, I didn't know if his face would be the last face I ever saw. In that powerful moment I fully opened to the inevitability of the death of my body, and I was entirely at peace with it.
Five months later, colostomy a familiar and surprisingly manageable part of my day-to-day routine, my body had healed sufficiently for me to travel to Paris to join my partner, who had a contract working with UNESCO there for four months.
Having recently looked death very closely in the eye, having a surplus of free time to explore this amazing city, and having a welcome creative urge bubbling up inside me, I began writing about my day-to-day experiences in Paris.
After a few weeks of writing about life in Paris, there was a movement to tell my own personal story. This surprised me a little as I'm not someone who usually likes to talk about themselves very much.
This reluctance to share the intimate details of my life is perhaps a hangover from days gone by when self-doubt and worthlessness were my constant companions. Happily, identification with these negative emotions is now a distant memory.
My story is one of a journey from the innocence and joy of childhood, through progressively deeper psychological pain, depression, addiction, and the deepest despair in my early adult life, to the rediscovery of the natural joy and bliss inherent in just being.