We're a little crazy, about science!

I’m writing a book chapter!

Well talk about spoilers am I right? The title gives away the surprise for sure, but we can talk details since that’s probably why you’re even reading this. I get to write a book chapter, as in a actual published book you could get at the library, book chapter. Not something technical either, something more personal. Don’t worry I’ll explain.

This has been a long, long time in the making. Near the end of last year I was made aware of a call for disabled scientists to tell their stories. I’m not typically that kind of writer. Sure, I blog, but I don’t really consider what I do here writing in the publishable sense, it’s not… polished. My blog is more raw thoughts and feelings than anything coherent and well thought out. Blogging to me just feels different somehow.

Well needless to say, I answered the call. I wrote, in my own little stream of consciousness style that any of my long term readers are now extremely familiar with, a short pitch. When I say short, I mean paragraph short. I crammed as much of my story as I could into that paragraph and didn’t think much of it. There are far more talented writers out there, my writing ability is like any of my abilities really, mediocre at best.

Now this is where I make a self deprecating joke about falling through the cracks yet again. I want to… and truthfully it’s how I feel, but I’ll just continue the story and you can use your imagination. They emailed me back saying that they liked my pitch and that I would be part of the book. That was back in January or so I believe.

I have mixed feelings about being selected. On one hand, I’m surprised and excited. On the other, I’m terrified they’re going to realize they made a horrible mistake. Well I sort of brushed it off and assumed they would come to their senses eventually. Turns out they didn’t and the first draft of my chapter, about 1800 words, was due November 1st. I say was because I submitted my chapter rough draft a few days ago. Now it will be read, edited, and sent back to me for modification, probably in the next few weeks. I am going to be an author.

Lunatic Labs has been a way for me to be pseudonymous. It was designed as a way for me to find people who needed my help. As a way to build prosthetics for those who couldn’t get one any other way or for people who just needed a very specific prosthetic for a particular task. I’ve been doing this job for seven years now and I like to think I’ve gotten really good at it. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long sometimes, but it really has been seven years since I started this blog and started that path.

It feels weird sharing my story in a book. If I don’t like a blog post, I can always go back later and delete it, edit it, or just change the entire thing. This feels more permanent than that and may end up destroying the last bit of my anonymity. I don’t know how much about me is going to be in the book. Maybe a bio, maybe not. Photos? I don’t know. That part of the process hasn’t been shared with me and may not even be decided yet.

The point of all this is, I’m doing something I didn’t think I would be able to do. It’s uncharted territory for me and maybe it’s time I came out and shared with the world not only my story, but who I actually am. Maybe I’ve grown comfortable being hidden and now it’s time for a change. I’ve been thinking about these things ever since I answered the call and I guess I still have a lot to figure out.

So about the book. It’s called (aptly enough) Uncharted. I really real edited and fancy book. Don’t hold it against them for picking me, I’m sure the editors will help fix * gestures vaguely to all my writing * well you get the picture. So with great trepidation, I’m sharing the details of the book as they are now with all of you. It may be awhile before we’re in print. There may be a day where you can not only read my story, but find out who I really am.

“Uncharted highlights the experiences of scientists who have faced changes to their career, including both successes and challenges, because of their health. It is not a review of the science behind our health conditions: instead, it is a collection of deeply personal perspectives and views shared by the people behind the science. It shares not only health challenges, but the joys, sorrows, humor, and wonder from people who love science — no matter how many barriers they have to face. These stories don’t reduce people to “overcoming” their disabilities in order to be successful; the scientists are thriving (or struggling) alongside their conditions. Edited by two scientists which chronic health conditions, these stories showcase a wide variety of disabilities, experiences, and emotions.”

~ Gabi Serrato Marks

I guess after this I’ll have yet another thing to add to my bio. Disabled scientist, lucky idiot, amateur author, I think that would sum up who I am at the moment. The updates on the book have been slow, it turns out getting published is a process, who knew! So don’t expect to see my work anytime soon. Just know that it is coming and unless they change their minds after reading my story, you’ll get to see a more polished version of my writing. In the meantime, if you’re interested in following along, you can find updates for Uncharted here.

Talk about a scary halloween!

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