Beth’s partner, Dan, inexplicably vanishes from her life and nine years later she is still struggling. In the intervening years, she has learnt British Sign Language (BSL) and got what she thought would be her dream job, supporting deaf students in college. However, she finds she still feels dissatisfied with just about everything: from working life to sex life, domestic life to social life, it’s as if the traumas of her past will forever mar her future.
Through her work, Beth meets a group of strong-minded, pragmatists who show her how they’ve adapted to challenges of having a disability.
Is Dan’s disappearance the primary source of Beth’s sadness? Can her new friends help to shift her perspective on dealing with life? Will learning BSL prove to be significant after all? And what really happened to Dan? The answers may be quite unexpected.
The themes and characters of Senseless are moulded by the challenges of deafness and disability but the book is not ‘about’ disability per se. More succinctly, it’s about ordinary people bumping through the ups and downs of life like we all are.
It was so cold when Beth pulled herself out of Rick’s overheated car that by the time she’d walked the fifteen steps to her front door, the metal door-handle felt wet instead of cold to her frozen fingers.
‘Fuck, fuck, fuck’ she chanted as she fumbled with her key, seeing a frozen cloud coming from her mouth. The only light was a faint glow from the distant street lamp but even that was obscured by an overgrown bush. There were no lights on in the house, indicating that Dan was already in bed. He would usually leave the porch light on if Beth still hadn’t come home from a long working day. He’d sometimes leave a note on the door for her too: Come to bed immediately! Or welcome home sexy!
Tonight there were neither of those things. She was worried about Dan, he’d been in a strange, uncommunicative mood for the last several weeks. His sullen moods were very unlike him. After asking a few times if he was okay and getting the brush off, she had decided to ignore it and wait for the real Dan to come back. It was probably just work stress, he had mentioned budget cuts.
All Beth wanted now was to get this bloody rigid bra off and curl up in bed next to a calm, sleeping Dan hoping he’d wake up in a better mood tomorrow.
She was so tired. She and Rick had driven a 400-mile round trip to attend the annual national conference for Better Solutions UK. After a 4am start to get there, they’d left the conference at rush hour and it felt like they had never managed to get over 20mph the entire journey home, passing the time fantasising about leaving their jobs and starting something new that they actually enjoyed.
The Better Solutions honchos were a nasty corporate money-grabbing bunch of wankers in her opinion. Beth spent most days driving across the majority of northern England to care homes or supported housing developments to demonstrate her wares and try to persuade over-worked, underpaid staff that the place couldn’t manage without a Better Solutions bath hoist or a state of the art wheelchair ramp.
She could see the glazed look of most of the staff, ushered in to the demonstrations during the precious quiet minutes of their lunch breaks. Her van would be packed with free Better Solutions pens and free Better Solutions mugs to keep them happy while she broke her back slugging the equipment around and feeling like an idiot.
Better Solutions were, of course, very generous with their bonuses to the best sales people but the actual wages were laughable. She had done pretty well out of her ‘success’ but not everyone was so lucky.
Rick was adamant she should do something else. ‘Beth’, he’d tell her ‘you’re 34 years young, what the fuck are you doing languishing in this pissy job?’ He had a point; maybe she was just idling? Who knows, maybe this weekend would be a good time to research about the training she would need to get to where she wanted to be.
When she got in, the dark house was freezing. Had Dan not had the heating on at all tonight? She went to the lounge and bent to turn on the glass-fronted faux-flame gas fire, holding out her hands to the flames. Ignoring her mother’s voice in her head saying ‘don’t do that Bethany, you’ll get chilblains’.
That’s when she noticed the envelope on the mantelpiece with BETH written in large black letters on the front. Had Dan left a welcome note after all? He’d never used an envelope before. She lifted it down drowsily, tempted to just put it in her pocket to read in the morning. Something about the formality of the sealed envelope made her open it though. When she pulled out the folded piece of A4 paper there was just one short line in Dan’s best cursive. Bile rose in her throat as she read the words:
I have loved you so much Beth, I’m so sorry. D xx
Hello again esteemed Senseless supporters. We have now made it to 30% and the ONE THIRD milestone is in sight!
I am going away this weekend to spend some time with others living with NF2 at the Can You Hear Us summer gathering. Very excited about the indoor climbing session and meeting Llama babies (calves?). we have planned.
The best of the best would be to come back and find support for Senseless…
Cool news, there are 70 people on-board the Senseless Campaign! I know several people who rarely use the Internet and never use Social Media or do on-line shopping. These friends can still join the campaign by asking someone else to pledge on their behalf. The kind person who does so can then enter the pledger’s details so that their names will still appear in the book and they will receive copies…
Two days ago, I was over the moon that Senseless was 12% funded and on its way towards becoming a beautiful book.
I never expected to be updating again so soon that you have just got us over the 25% mark! That is in less than a week (Unbound suggest 90 days to reach the target). At this rate, Senseless will get there in under half that time!
Let's try to keep the momentum going!
Wow! The Senseless project is already 12% funded!!
I am getting beyond excited :) is there a word for that? Thank you, you amazing people
By pledging, you are now an esteemed supporter of the Senseless project and I am so excited about sharing the adventure with you as my manuscript is transformed into a beautiful, polished book by a very gifted team of people at Unbound. This can only happen…
These people are helping to fund Senseless.