In 3 days I will be running my next marathon.
As part of my marathon training, I am resting. Healthy carb-loading. Hydrating.
And passing my time reading and writing.
Yesterday I had the ability to sit down and read the book, “Fragments: a memoir” by Jeff Cann.
If you are on WordPress, chances are you know Jeff. You can find his blog The Other Stuff right HERE.
In his blog, Jeff writes creative nonfiction and personal essays on topics including Tourette Syndrome, OCD, Mental Health, Distance Running, Family Life, Cultural Commentary and Substance Abuse.
The post that brought Jeff to WordPress fame was called Follow, and can be found here. That post alone brought Jeff 1,000+ more followers and a lot of discussion.
I have been a fan of Jeff’s blog for a while. I can relate easily to a lot of what Jeff writes about and enjoy how he matter of factly makes his point. Occasionally, he will be droll and add a touch of humor, that has me laughing out loud.
Since I enjoy his writing, I took the next step and bought his book.
The Book, “Fragments: a memoir” is a collection of essays, pieced together to tell the reader the story of Jeff Cann – to 2016.
Jeff tells stories from childhood to adulthood, single to married family life, substance use and abuse, Mental Health, OCD, Tourette’s syndrome, many MANY incidents and accidents – with rock music to pull the story together.
I have a few favorites in the book, including, “Hi, I’m Jeff,” “Stuck on My Beliefs,” “Shaded Gray” and “Marky Mark.” The one I enjoyed the most was “Be the Light.”
But it is in the essay “Fragments” that Jeff tells us about the entire collection.
“These are episodes from my past. Fragments of my life – the chips and splinters and shards – displayed in pieces, my jagged edges exposed. It’s a story of avoidance. Problems overlooked, ignored, or untended. Problems glazed over or dressed up. This is the story of my crap.
What crap? Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, substance abuse, alcoholism, social anxiety. For those of us with Tourette’s, the odds are good that we have the rest. But identifying these illnesses can be difficult; working on them, painful. So instead, I created coping techniques. Ways to coexist alongside my flaws. Tricks to distract me, comfort me. I delayed confronting these problems for decades.”
Jeff continues this essay telling the reader how he was able to put on a mask and hide his true self and show an unblemished, solid life. Until he decided to dig into his “crap,” peek behind the mask and face his problems. With the series of essays Jeff provides in his memoir, he is able to tell his story and his journey to self-awareness.
“Fragments, a memoir” by Jeff Cann is a book I would recommend. It is insightful, at many times relatable and enjoyable to read. Plenty of humor and wit to make you smile and even give a chuckle. If you would like to purchase Jeff’s book you can do so here.
If you do not want to read the book, give his blog a follow. Reading Jeff’s blog, I know his journey to self-discovery continues to evolve. And I am sure a couple of essays could be added to this book. Or maybe there will be another book on the way…..?
I guess I should also point out that Jeff did not ask me to read his book or give an opinion. I decided to do that on my own.
Great job, Jeff! Very enjoyable read!