I’ve been reading this book – A Three Dog Life. It is great. The author has great command of language, but some of it is so sad. It just makes me feel lonely and empathetic to the memoir’s author. I need a break. It is set aside for a bit.
We all have a story to tell, a story that needs to be shared so that others don’t feel so alone and different. It needn’t be long or exaggerated, just a few pages of a book, perhaps. In telling our stories we encourage others to tell theirs and to have hope that they will get through whatever hardship they are dealing with. Josh Rivedal has collected the stories of 50 authors, all in different stages of their lives, in his book The i’MPOSSIBLE PROJECT: Reengaging With Life, Creating A New You.
Each author must sum up their experience in 1,000 words. It isn’t easy to open up your heart and share what is inside in such a short piece, but these talented writers do so with eloquence and grace. What is truly great about this book is that it uplifts the spirit. No matter how dark the subject matter – suicide, a son’s homicide, living with MS – each and every story ends on high note. Every story offers hope that you can, and will, get through your own experience.
The stories are split into applicable chapters, such as “Trauma” and “Mental Health.” Within the seven chapters are true stories related to the subject. There is at least one story, I believe, that the reader will relate to. In my case, there were many – like Jennifer Haussler Garing’s “You Can Come Back,” an essay about living a life of suicide ideation and the fight to live.
It is hard to imagine that an essay in which a mother talks about burying three of her four children could teach the reader about joy, but it does. As do stories of rape and physical illnesses such as breast cancer and Parkinson’s. It is as though the authors have taken the cliché “Look on the bright side of life” and applied it to their own lives.
Storytelling has long been a way of communication – from parent to child, from friend to friend, from presenter to audience – and will remain so as time goes on. To find a book of such fascinating storytelling as THE i’MPOSSIBLE PROJECT is rare. It is a book to be read by a readership of teenagers to those in their golden years.
THE i’MOSSIBLE PROJECT is not unlike another book I’ve reviewed – Same Time Next Week. It is a collection of essays by different authors, but unlike Same Time Next Week, not all stories feature mental illness as their subject. Such as Holly Bertone’s “Breast Selling Author,” which tells the story of how Bertone was diagnosed with breast cancer. She writes, “…my life was turned upside down by eight unforgettable words ‘You have breast cancer,’ and ‘Will you marry me?’ My world would never be the same again.” Bertone begins blogging about her experience with breast cancer which leads her to write three books about cancer.
Josh Rivedal was quite smart in selecting the categories for each chapter’s group of stories. The book is divided into sections as such: i’Mpossible Families, i’Mpossible Physical Health, i’Mpossible Trauma, i’Mpossible Mental Health, i’Mpossible Lived Experiences With Suicide, i’Mpossible LGBT, i’Mpossible Second Acts and Second Chances.
Looking over the chapter titles it is easy to see how this is a great book for those of us with mental issues and for those that do not understand them. For example, reading “You Can Come Back” by Jennifer Haussler Garing in the i’Mpossible Lived Experiences With Suicide chapter, the reader can understand how Garing felt and why she would want to commit suicide. “Depression is a life wrecker,” she writes. “It swings in and topples your life and leaves you buried in collateral damage – in no condition to clean up the mess. As you lie there you see nothing but darkness with no memories of past happiness, love, hope, or sunlight.” But her story doesn’t end on that dark note. It ends with the following paragraph, “The one thing I will always be sure of is that the only constant in life is change. No matter how bad things get, they will always get better, even if they have to get worse first. I cling to that.”
I think that THE i’MPOSSIBLE PROJECT does exactly what Rivedal set out to do – allow readers to “reengage with life, (and) create a new you.” Every story teaches the reader something, even if it is simply “That’s exactly how I feel!” Covering such a wide scope of topics means there is something for everyone, from the suicidal teen to the aging senior. I recommend this book to everyone because readers will benefit from the stories to know that there is hope, despite how dark it may seem.
Title: THE i’MPOSSIBLE PROJECT: Reengaging With Life, Creating A New You
Author: Josh Rivedal
Publisher: Skookum Hill Publishing
Number of pages: 258