The Backstreets of Purgatory

By Helen Taylor

Caravaggio in Glasgow: A Tale of Art, Insanity and Irn Bru

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Crossing a canyon on a tightrope

Dear Backstreet Peeps (notice how I resisted using Backstreet Boys (and Girls) there; it was a close call),

Hello. How are things? I hope you are all doing ok. It’s been pretty tough these last couple of years hasn’t it. I feel like I’ve been living in my own little world and I am only now starting to emerge again. But I have news. Exciting and quite terrifying news. As exciting and terrifying as (I imagine) crossing a canyon on a tightrope. (The discerning among you may notice that — and I know this will surprise you — it isn't actually me in the photo below!)



I am doing another book with Unbound. It is called love lay down beside me and we wept and the page launches today. And like I said, it is exciting and quite terrifying. Exciting because, well, it is brilliant to be back into the swing of it all again. Terrifying because it is a completely different book to Backstreets. Much more personal, it is a memoir based on my experience of suffering from and being hospitalised by a serious psychiatric illness. I published an essay a while ago in Boundless Magazine and the project sprang from that essay. It was tough to write and revisit some of those experiences but I was able to do it because I am in a really good place now. It is a book that wouldn’t let me be. I had been working on another novel but the memoir nagged at me so much that I had to put the novel aside to write it.

It is a book that wouldn’t let me be.

It isn’t always easy to talk openly about experiences like mine but I really wanted to share some of what I have been through because the more of us who do, the closer we get to ending the stigma associated with mental illness. 

The new book isn’t all doom and gloom. There are plenty of (inappropriate) laughs and it is a story full of love. Plus, there are some fantastic rewards for different pledge levels. I’d really appreciate it if you would pop over to the other page and take a look. I hope you like what you see.

And just in case I forgot to mention it (!), the whole experience of writing and publishing The Backstreets of Purgatory was utterly amazing and I couldn’t have done it without you brilliant people. I hope you come with me for this next one.

Thank you so much




Photo by Sean Benesh on Unsplash

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