A totally unexpected thing happened to me a few years ago—I accidentally wrote a book. It was just supposed to be a creative writing exercise to take my mind off my chronic pain, and it turned into an epic tale with aliens, love, adventure, and dessert!
So much has happened in my life since May 2014, when I started writing this wacky tale. I was dealing with fibromyalgia, and it was getting increasingly worse. I watched my athletic activities dwindle to nothing, I couldn’t handle working even one day a week outside of the home, and my pain and fatigue were overwhelming. The worst part was I was going through it without being part of a disabled community. So, I considered myself #DisabledAndAlone, meaning, I had internalized ableism and used accidentally ableist language.
It came out in my writing.
Feedback on Life in the ’Cosm had been generally quite positive, for which I was grateful. Also, many readers loved Noola, who popped up in chapter three to my surprise and taught me how to deal with my own life. (I eventually got a mobility device and named it after her!)
Now, let’s fast forward to 2019. I am not only a disability advocate plugged into Disabled Culture, but I am also the co-editor of Nothing Without Us. This own-voices anthology stars protagonists who are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or manage mental illness. Part of my role is to be a sensitivity editor for ableist terms that don’t have nuance in the stories. So, looking back at my first novel, I realized I really wanted to clear out flippantly-used ableist phrases.
In my first novel, my characters are flawed souls, so it won’t ever be perfect, but wow, did I correct a ton of uses. Yikes. But that’s okay! I also fixed other things that I was not aware of before, so it’s all good, too.
I’m extremely lucky that my publisher, Renaissance, is letting me do this. They really believe in representation, so that was such a pleasant surprise.
The goal is for the second edition to be released with the Kickstarter rewards for Nothing Without Us. My guess is it will be available online for purchase this fall. So, an updated Life in the ’Cosm and its prequel, The Stealth Lovers, should be released roughly the same time. Yay!
As usual, I will totally keep everyone posted!
And thanks to everyone who read ‘Cosm and told me they can’t wait to read the prequel because they love Xax and Viv so much. I think you’ll be happy with their origin story!
Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers (Fall of 2019). When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (Fall of 2019.)