Awesome Indies: The Big Book of Post-Collapse Fun by Rachel Sharp

Posted November 20, 2015 by Emily in Awesome Indie, Uncategorized / 1 Comment

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Awesome Indies: The Big Book of Post-Collapse Fun by Rachel SharpThe Big Book of Post Collapse Fun by Rachel Sharp
on May 1, 2015
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Mab is an unemployed feminist blogger with a philosophy degree, a deathly allergy to bee stings, and the real-world experience of a domestic rabbit. When Portland, Oregon is evacuated, no one thinks to look for her in her unlabeled apartment. She can still get news from the outside world for days. All the news is bad. The planetary Tarantella dance has started, and the world is shaking itself apart. Volcanoes and earthquakes abound. Taking stock of her supplies, she finds that her best survival gear includes a 49cc moped and clothing that wouldn't keep a chihuahua warm in a Florida winter.

Left alone in the city, Mab fumbles along and documents her post-apocalypse adventures through the lens of mankind's greatest coping mechanism: Inappropriate humor. She learns from experience as she misinterprets survival tips, battles wild geese, steals cars, befriends a buffoon of a dog, and discovers the difference between instinct and cultural training.

When Mab learns of a geologically stable place in Canada, she leaves Portland behind. Vet, the world's dumbest remaining dog, goes with her, and while they try to navigate the wilderness, mountains become volcanoes. Strangers become bandits. Mab wasn't prepared for this, but she writes the book on how to improvise in case of apocalypse.

Rachel Sharp is here today to talk about the struggle of being an author and living with a chronic illness. She is a tough lady and that shines through in her writing. I love how she compares her writing to an escape. Thank you for this beautiful guest post!

Rachel Sharp

As a reader and writer, there is nothing that I cannot do.

I can fly with dragons and swim with dolphins. I can score winning goals and cast magic spells. I can even travel through time.

As an ordinary person, I cannot climb stairs without assistance.

This mind-boggling contrast gives me trouble sometimes, but itÂ’s the life of a disabled author. There are quite a few of us. Some live with the result of serious injury or an imbalance of brain chemistry. Personally, I live with an autoimmune disease, which means that my body is trying to kill itself and my job is to stop it.

My doctors have been tremendously helpful. Sometimes it does get a bit old, cycling through various clinics to have blood taken out, vitamins put in, scans scanned, and monitors monitored, but it is orders of magnitude better than going untreated.

While I am receiving treatment, I still have both pain and limitations. I canÂ’t go out drinking anymore, although as I close out my twenties, I realize that the novelty of public intoxication may have worn off even before I was diagnosed. IÂ’ve had to make radical dietary changes. The collection of assistance devices around the apartment grows slowly, but if you were to sneak in, you might guess that a little old lady lives here. ThereÂ’s a cane by the door, and a wheelchair for emergencies. There is a yoga mat, but no exercise equipment. My medicine cabinet runneth over. The whole living arrangement seems incongruous with the tall, skinny, twenty-something woman who uses it.

Likewise, when I go out in public, strangers don’t know how to react to me. About a month ago, I was in the elevator and the doors opened to let someone else on. He looked at my cane, then up at me, and said “Oh! Sorry.” I thought about asking “For what? Getting on the elevator?” but opted for twenty seconds of silence instead. Being visibly disabled means that, somehow, minimizing awkwardness becomes your part-time job. On the other hand, the cane does seem to discourage catcallers, so that’s a win.

Real life has been bumpy the last few years, ever since my doctors changed their tune from ‘probably nothing’ to ‘uh-oh.’ Fortunately, I only live in my body part-time.

The rest of the time, I live in my words.

I have always been a writer. Admittedly, I used to be a terrible one, but give a ten-year-old a break. Making the leap from Dr. Seuss to Tolkien can give anyone the writing-style wobbles.

In another life, I was also a manual laborer. I never stopped writing, but I balanced it in the cracks of ‘real’ jobs like forklift operation, dishwashing, and dog-walking. I liked to work hard. In the rural tradition of unflagging work ethic, I took pride in being able to haul bags of rock salt all day and still put down some words at night. When I got sick, it eventually put paid to one of those, but with the shady tree of respectable labor gone, the undergrowth that was my writing habit flourished. Over time, I finished a novel, then two. The short story ideas that always followed me around like will o’ the wisps were getting down on paper, revised, and even read. It wasn’t until later that I realized I had accidentally taken the leap of faith that so many do: I quit my day job to pursue a writing career.

It isnÂ’t all fun. Even now, my disease can hinder my writing. My joints ache, my food routine gets in the way, or a Big Bad Pain Day strikes and nothing gets done at all. Still, it would be impossible not to acknowledge the silver lining. Even filling out medical forms, I remember that I am, in a way, lucky.

Name: Rachel Sharp

Address: New York, New York

Occupation: Â…Novelist

It feels good.


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