The art of living

I can scarcely wipe the smile off my face at the moment.  My cheeks hurt from stretching so often into a position that 18 months ago I thought they would never find again.  I feel tired, but otherwise well, I feel all the “fuls”.  They would be, thankful, hopeful, mindful, and useful.  Life has a ‘ful at the end of it too – beautiful.

News of booky goodness!  Lorna, the editor of my book came down through the week and we went through the manuscript.  There were a few tiny things to be tweaked, but we are pretty much there.  It will proofread this week, and there will be a rough cut made – that is publishing speak for typesetting and forming it into a book shape with page numbers etc.  That’s pretty much it then, it will go to the printers in two weeks, and come out the other end a book.  Imagine?  On Friday I get to go into the head office of Penguin books and talk to the sales and marketing team that will go out and sell the book to shops.  Apparently they will want to know my take on what the guts of it is all about, and that’s easy.  It’s about grief and trauma and finding your way in a new world.  Of constantly re-framing life when the terrain keeps changing, and learning how to go on.  But most of all, and I will be telling anyone who will listen – it’s about living.  Because I am doing that, every day.

Today I went into the inner burbs and met with a remarkable group of women.  Catherine, Kirstie, Jen, Lorna, Tanya, Caitlin, Rachel, the “there in spirit” Nicki.  This team of women got together all guns blazing, ready to do all the work to self publish my book, and despite already having done a lot of work on it, were thrilled for me when I received a publishing contract.  I looked around the table this afternoon, and I wanted someone to pinch me, but I would have been too scared I would wake up and it wasn’t real.  The most epic bunch of talent you could ever have sitting at one table.  All of these women were prepared to do a huge amount of work to make being an author a reality for me, and all have gone on to be involved in one way or another, whether it be publishing the book, editing the book, designing the cover, naming the book, proof reading the book, or just being a massive mountain of support and love for me.   These are MY PEOPLE.  I’m not letting them go either – evah!

I was thinking to myself as we were all clinking champagne glasses over and over (at the best named bar ever – Naked for Satan), I reflected on the gob-smacking turn of events that took me to this place.  The fact that this blog will become a book gives me a feeling of accomplishment for sure, I know that book contracts are not handed out like tic tacs to the terminally ill so they can tick something off their bucket list.  I did this, and I know it, but it wouldn’t have happened without the combined efforts of this group of women.  But in all honesty, if the book never sold a copy, I’ve already received the greatest gift in them.

I’ve mentioned writer and comedian Catherine Deveny quite a few times in this blog.  She was the person I watched from afar, hoping that one day I would catch a little bit of her awesome – talent, authenticity, warmth, kindness, courage, and the person who turned non-fuck giving into an artform.  After meeting her finally at her writing masterclass just after I was diagnosed, I decided that I would just follow her lead until I found my own groove – and I did.  So, get this, right.  Not only did she head up the self-publishing project, and believe in me and bring these grouse bunch of women into my life, but today, this happened:


Today she came and like hung out with me in this cool bar.  Imagine?  Who gets to have their absolute idol (OK Dev, I know I am probably laying it on a bit thick here) come and drink with you and she’s your MATE.  I did tell ya not to pinch me, right?  Waking up would be a shitty, shitty thing 😛  Gaz dropped me off so I could have a few champers and not worry about driving, and he took the kids out to eat so I could have some time with my friends.  One of my favourite parts of the day was when they arrived to pick me up, and everyones face lit up – there were those fairies and that fella that they have been reading about all this time – in the flesh.  So special – so many people invested in us :)

Here I am with the gorgeous Jen, who designed THAT book cover, and this new website and she helps me navigate around it when the technology goes right over my head!


I don’t know how long I can ride this groove train, but ultimately there is freedom in the not knowing.  You can’t fear something you don’t know, you could get trapped in the seaweed and stop swimming.  So I have just thrown myself headlong into the whole thing, and not wasting a moment on worry.

Because I am a mum, and that is my most best role, I had to drag my exhausted arse to the supermarket on my way home from the afternoon of awesome – they’ve gotta eat!  As I was on my way into the shopping centre a lady stopped me and said that she couldn’t help noticing how lovely I was dressed and what a beautiful smile I had and it made her smile too.  The joy, it RADIATES out of me, this gift of time, this learning to be thankful for the enormous amount of gifts I have at the moment, you can share it around with other people, and help them feel it too.  And that, my friends, is the art of really living.

9 Comments on “The art of living

  1. What a gorgeous post :) the happiness just beams out!! And, when it comes to Dev you’ve got two choices: like it or love it! Xo

  2. This post is AWESOME. I’m so excited for you. So much in this post to smile about – found myself grinning just reading it! What a joy it must have been to reflect upon. Thanks for sharing it with us xx

  3. Julie, that is fabulous! And how brilliant that someone felt compelled to compliment you. You must have been oozing the love and spreading it around like icing.

  4. You are truly an amazing person, you inspire all of us with terminal cancer to to live our life’s dreams and to know that nothing is impossible if only we believe. I personally can’t wait for your book to come out, so that I can read it and share it with my daughters. Wishing you all the best and importantly good luck with the launch of your book, I am sure it will be a great success

  5. This is The most wonderful blog yet, Julia. I feel like my heart is bursting from my chest with excitement for you and I don’t even know you. Keep up the positiveness (?).

  6. Really happy for you, can’t wait for your book, I know I’ll love it. You keep living life to the max, girlie, you are inspiring xx

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