by Laura Keil
Avola, B.C.-based author Eleanor Deckert has two new memoirs out, and they follow her now familiar theme of 10 days in her life.
Her book 10 Days in April follows her experience and reflections as a breast cancer patient in 2015. A self-described “granola” person, Deckert was shocked to learn she had a small tumour that required surgery, drugs and radiation. The treatment meant spending weeks at a cancer treatment centre in Kelowna, living in a dorm far from friends and family. Learning about what would be involved in her treatment was like taking a university course, she said – how to get there, what you have to pay. Luckily some organizations helped support her.
Despite being a writer, she was not inclined at first to write about the experience.
“These volunteers hand you a journal when you walk in the door (to the cancer centre). I was like, ‘No, I don’t want a journal. A journal is to record your lovely thoughtful moments, a journal is to remember good things that happen to you not to remember, I hate cancer.’”
She eventually decided to use the notebook to record “perfect moments” that she didn’t construct, including going to the doctor in the first place, and meeting someone unexpectedly who she wanted to see, or bible verses that came into her head.
Two years later, she typed it all out and put it into the 10 day framework. In all her books, every chapter is an actual day in her life combined with the relevant backstory to understand the importance.
In her April book, each one of the 10 days refers to an actual day in the cancer treatment centre in 2015. Along with the backstory, she included her reflections at that time, including doubts and fears, including things she’d learned as a child that may not be true, wondering whether there is a God and if she would stay married.
“What is it like to walk through and get out the other side of difficulties, where only you can decide what to do next?”
Her second new book, 10 Days in February & 10 days in March, combines two titles since she wanted to write about depression but didn’t want to make a book solely on that topic, so she combined that theme with her volunteering experiences. Her themes of depression include winter, post-partum, and isolation. The chapters about volunteering cover her experiences with Girl Guides and other organizations.
Her memoir series now has four books – 10 Days in December, 10 Days in January, 10 Days in February & March and 10 Days in April. They are available at the library or can be purchased at the Rocky Mountain Goat office. Her book launch for 10 Days in April is Tuesday, April 30 at 7pm at the Valemount Library.