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.
This is exactly what Josh Rivedal shares in his The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You. He has collected the stories of 50 authors, all in different stages of their lives, who relate their experiences in 1,000 words or less. 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 a high note. Every story offers the hope that you can, and will, get through your own experience. Coming into the book, it might be 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 the stories of rape and physical illnesses such as breast cancer and Parkinson’s.
The stories are split into seven applicable chapters, and Josh Rivedal was quite smart in selecting the categories for each chapter’s group of stories. The chapters include: 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 health issues and for those who do not understand them. For example, in Jennifer Haussler Garing’s “You Can Come Back,” from 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 The i’Mpossible Project does exactly what Rivedal set out to do – allows 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. I highly recommend this book.
The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You
Skookum Hill Publishing, January 16, 2016
Paperback, 258 pages