At the end of January, I travelled to Belfast with my rugby team to play our first away game. I was so excited; my friends in Belfast were had already planned to come out with us to a few bars, as well as come along to watch the match. My friends from Cork and from my time living in Belfast had come together in the one place, and it felt like a birthday party.
Then, barely five minutes into the match, I fractured my leg and tore a few ligaments, thanks to an unexpected tackle. Upon my return to Cork, I was put into a cast, and having been already equipped with crutches from my friend Stephen in Belfast, I was told to rest at home for a month before I could get the cast removed. Even then, wearing a boot brace and physiotherapy were on the cards before I’d be able to play rugby or train in the gym again.
As I had already been warned, my mental health took just as much of a blow as my leg did. I felt weak for getting so injured, stupid for not being agile or quick enough to avoid the fateful tackle, awkward being on the crutches, and suddenly found everyday tasks like house cleaning or getting up or down a staircase to be tiresome and difficult. Mentally, I found myself exhausted by the time I had my morning shower.
A couple of weeks later, my partner mentioned a post he saw on the Instagram profile of a rugby player we both follow. He described advice for what to do when a player is injured; essentially, to enjoy the downtime and embrace the opportunity to slow down from one’s regular routine. Thankfully, it struck a chord with me, and I was prompted from a corner of my mind to bring my focus back onto my writing.
There’s one story I had been writing that I never managed to finish or even update for quite some time, while my main focuses were publishing Elysium // Párthas, but mostly, just enjoying other priorities in my life, like working out and being part of the rugby team. Thankfully, this bout of forced(?) rest gave me the opportunity to pick up the
pen keyboard and continue writing Cranberry Close: Scandals in Suburbia. This work-in-progress drama focuses on the lives of three neighbours; Ellen, Devon, and Heather, each of whom have a secret they wouldn’t like shared amongst the neighbourhood. Of course, secrets often have a way of finding their way into the open…!
As the story falls into a genre I’m experimenting with (Forgiving Jake was also a drama, but a more straightforward format) I’ve decided to publish it on Wattpad, which is a free-to-read storytelling platform. At the time of writing, Chapters 1 to 9 are currently available, with more to come. Once the story is complete, however, I’m likely to consider it for a more traditional publication, do please let me know what you think of the story while it’s still free and available – I’d love to hear your feedback. You can click on the cover above to read the story on Wattpad.
For me, writing is a way to clear my mind, escape from reality a little, and destress. Returning to writing, especially with Scandals in Suburbia, has been a welcome alternative to what I had been doing during my recovery; frankly, moping around and feeling sorry for myself.
Instead, I hope you enjoy the fruits of my distraction.