Clare and Claire – and the Adventures of Claire Never-Ending. A Guest Post by Catherine Brunelle of Bumpyboobs

As promised, and introduced – here is …………………………….

Clare and Claire – and the Adventures of Claire Never-Ending. 

A Guest Post by Catherine Brunelle of Bumpyboobs

It’s hard to remember exactly when I started to read the Feisty Blue Gecko – with treatments, blogging, and stepping into social media, when did this world of #bcsm support erupt all around? At what point did it move beyond ‘curiosity’ and become ‘community’? While I cannot remember exactly when I started reading this blog that Philippa shares, I can remember how I felt (and still feel) when encountering her story.

Philippa was enchanting. Somewhere in a world so far away from mine, she was writing about the rainy season and explosions of flowers. She was writing about her bicycle, and her camera, and the tiny frogs that seemed to hop into her life along with the geckos. There were pictures from her travels . . . I remember one post where she rode a train around her town and took photographs of  people sitting cross-legged on the benches, blurs of villages being passed, the vendors taking their goods to market.

There is a story in the Feisty Blue Gecko that goes so far beyond breast cancer.  For me that engagement with the wonderfully simple yet exotic pictures of her life was the starting point of our connection. Sure, we’ve both had breast cancer – but life is so much more than cancer.

I really believe that when we engage in each other’s stories, commonalities open up in unexpected ways. And this past August, as I announced the launch of my novel Adventures of Claire Never-Ending, I learned that not only do we have a love for travel, for writing, for stories and photographs – and not only are we part of a community that pushes back against the cancer and its many, many challenges – but we also share the same middle name:

Clare and Claire. 🙂

What an unexpected and yet totally perfect surprise.  The cherry on the connection ice-cream Sundae.

Claire never-ending

Adventures of Claire Never-Ending is really, deeply about connection. Through the telling of individual stories, you are taken on a journey across time featuring a line of women spanning eight generations, where all of the women share the middle name of Claire. The book starts in 2011 with Amelia Claire, then the next story features Elizabeth Claire (Amelia’s mother) as a young women in 1980, then the following story is about Dorothy Claire (Elizabeth’s mother) in 1957 . . . and so we go back nine generations. They share the middle name of Claire so that as each women marries and takes her husband’s name, she can pass forward a ripple of identity that connects them together across time.

So who know, Philippa, maybe we’re soul sisters split across many generations? I do have some family that originates from Scotland!

I reckon everyone reading this post would resonate with the idea that we define ourselves when faced with challenges. (The challenge of living abroad, selling a book, losing loved ones, raising awareness, having a family, dealing with cancer, etc.) It’s such a common thread. It’s also a theme within my novel where the characters face down challenges, make big decisions, and move toward motherhood as well. This book isn’t the typical story of girl meets boy – it’s more like a woman meet herself as she decides how to lead her life. Less romantic, but still wonderful. 🙂

It’s being sold right now online at this Kickstarter project page. We’ve exceeded our goal of $3,000 – but I will never exceed my goal of getting it into the hands of every curious reader all over the world. If you would like a copy, please do consider ordering within the campaign. Suggest it to  your book clubs. Maybe pick up a copy for your friend?

To me, sharing our stories is a powerful way to build connection. Whether we’re connecting with women we’ve never met because they live across the world (hello!), or because they lived 100 years before we were even born, the storytelling brings us together. It’s almost magical that way.

And that also happens to be how I feel about the stories we share in the #bcsm community. From the weddings, gardening, family outings, and travels . . . the rants, frustrations, and ridiculousness . . . the heartbreaks and the losses . . . the triumphs and the breaking news . . . it’s the storytelling that holds us like a glue.

Thank you so much, Philippa, for letting me share about the Adventures of Claire Never-Ending. To imagine it reaching all corners of the earth is a dream come true. This Kickstarter campaign has been outstanding, and a lot of that support has come from within our #bcsm community. So I’m just full of thanks. And if you’d like your own copy of my book, please do pop over to the campaign and order one. If everything goes right, they’ll be shipped out come December.

~Catherine

The BIg Project HUG

Introducing Catherine, Claire and Clare…….

This is turning into the week of the Sisterhood!  The very Sisterhood prompted by breast cancer, enabled by the internet but brought to life by the true connections that we have. On Saturday I met Kirsty in real life, which was a rare and precious experience.

Today, I want to talk about another virtual friend – my peer, Catherine.  Catherine blogs at her own site –  Bumpyboobs as well as being one of the regular writers on Facing Cancer Together.

catherine

I am not sure when I first connected with Catherine, but I know that we found ourselves in the same batch of  bewlidered breast cancer interns appointed around the same time frame. Through our blogs, the Twitter #bcsm discussions and other online connections we soon realised that we shared a great deal more than the breast cancer catalyst which had introduced us.  No sirreeee – we have way more than that in common!  Catherine and I are both lovers of the written word, and more than that, aspiring writers.  We have both lived in countries very different to the one of our origins and embraced those new cultures with an open heart and eager eyes.  We each married a man from a different culture, with another mother tongue with the rich and beautiful family relationships which that brings.  We each appreciate and love photography and capturing those special everyday images as well as the extraordinary.

Indeed, there is a great deal more to our connection than that initial catalyst.

Catherine and I are indeed peers in the breast cancer world, our diagnoses and treatment paths were in a similar time frame.  Surrounded by a warm and caring community, we were siblings in this mire of post cancer diagnosis that we wade through. So recently, when the slow reveal of tests and diagnostics showed that Catherine’s cancer has metastised, we sisters gathered round in a bid to show our solidarity and support in any way in which we could.

And what did Catherine do?  Of course she swore a bit.  A healthy curseload of expletives and anger directed straight at cancer.  And then she set herself a goal.  A target for the coming months.  She re-evaluated the variety of plans and dreams that she has, and set herself a revised, clear target.

And that is what her Guest Post is about.  Catherine has been working on a very special project.  Of course the cancery stuff is there, meds are being trialled and the Big Thing that is a Stage 4 diagnosis is very much in the day to day.  But Catherine is not letting that take over.  She has turned her focus to a very clear and specific writing goal.

And that is the topic of an inspiring Guest Post about “Claire and Clare” which will be on Feisty Blue Gecko in the coming hours.

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We promise you more, very, very soon………