Today we’re talking to Julie Stamm about her first book Some Days We. Julie's beautiful story will move and inspire you. Discover her unique background to authorship in our interview.
Tell us about your book?
Written from the perspective of a young child, Some Days We… tackles the serious issue of parenting with a chronic illness. Wyatt and his mom, Anne, take the moments that debilitate and reroute them into positive experiences. Some Days We… is an exploration into the power of positivity and love.
My personal battles and experiences with multiple sclerosis created this book. Each page is based on an actual moment lived by me and my son. My goal is to change the dark negative tone associated with chronic illness and turn it into uplifting empowerment for the reader.
Why did you want to write this story?
When looking for materials to share with my son about our differences, I discovered that there is a hole in the market when it comes to showing the positive ways our lives can and will adapt to cope with a chronic illness. My book’s message is simple; with love and imagination, the mother and son can overcome any obstacle. I am committed to supporting all that suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, or any chronic illness for that matter. Our children need to know that our 'disability' won't impact the love we can provide.
What's been the best reaction from a reader so far?
The feedback has been moving and motivating. I knew there was a need for this type of tool but never realized how great that need really is. Each review reignites and rejuvenates my desire to normalize different abilities. One of my favorite reactions was when a mother, who had thus far chosen to keep her battle hidden from her son, decided "Some Days We..." was the tool she needed to open up to him and share her whole self with him. The burden lifted and relief she felt was worth every ounce of work.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My son, Jack. He is the reason for this book and the reason for my life. Each day I wake up in awe of how kind and caring he is.
What's the most fun part of being an author?
I think the feedback has been the fun part. Knowing that I am helping others and that I will spark conversations, education, and awareness for all ages. We even got some incredible feedback from an 84-year-old man; an age that I never thought would read or appreciate my work.
What's your tip for parents to encourage reading?
I think it is really hard for someone that doesn't have a chronic illness to 'get it'. I'd encourage creating a 'sick for a day game' with little stations that help the child better grasp what the parent is facing. Some examples would be to have the child put on a pair of glasses with petroleum jelly smeared over the lens to help them understand the effects of optic neuritis, or have the child stand on a balance board to let them feel what balance issues might feel like, or even have the child use only one hand for half an hour to understand what it's like when one of our limbs decides not to work, etc.
What's your favorite book of all time?
I really love 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein. It's a story about altruism. We can all learn by doing things with no expectation of something in return. It also took on a different meaning for me when I was diagnosed with MS. To me, the tree can act as a symbol of a person battling the disease. This disease takes and takes and takes but what is left in our 'stump' is a strong, giving, resilient version of what we once were.
What would you say to someone thinking of writing their first book?
Do it. I think that at the very least, it can be a cathartic experience. Be prepared to work hard and fight for what you want.
My Story - in Julie's words:
I was officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (“MS”) on January 8, 2007. While I can date my symptoms back to 2001, it was in 2005 that my symptoms became too debilitating to live the life I once knew and loved. After an official diagnosis, I felt vindicated. I had known something was wrong for many years but was dismissed by innumerable doctors. Knowing gave me power. Knowing who the “man behind the curtain” was, gave me the courage to fight. It wasn’t, and isn’t, always an easy battle and the unpredictability of this disease is by far the most challenging aspect for me to accept. Currently, we have no cure but I do believe that one day in the not-so-distant future there will be one.
This disease has changed me in countless ways. In some ways, I am a shell of the woman I once was and the woman I dreamed I would be. I truly believe that I am where I am today because this is where I should be, need to be, and belong. I have a perfect, loving, and supportive partner. We have a beautiful son and each day, regardless of the pain, the worry, the lack of control; I am grateful.
The reality is life evolves for all of us. We all want more for our families and face obstacles that we need to overcome. We are only here on this earth for the blink of an eye and I hope my moments will matter. This book is my attempt to leave a footprint. (Read more of Julie's story on her website).
Julie Stamm is a mother, partner, Multiple Sclerosis Advocate and author living in Brooklyn in the USA. She hopes her first book will help many other families affected by chronic illness.
Where to Next?
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