It all started back in 2006, when I read an article which said that nearly two out of three cancer survivors and their families consider that something good has come out of their experience. I was a bit blown away by that; my mother died from lung cancer in 2001, and I couldn’t honestly say that I could see anything good coming out of that. So this article got me thinking; at first it was on an abstract level, that it would be a good idea to interview people who had experienced cancer – either directly or through someone they loved – about the good that had come out of it. It wasn’t til I had actually written a proposal for the book and was just about to sent it to HarperCollins Publishers that I even connected that this concept was very deeply personal for me … Denial, it’s a great place to live :) As for the title – it kind of came with the concept and I could never imagine the book being called anything else. I’m glad the publishers agreed.

“God is in the flutter of the butterfly and the sweet aroma of the honeysuckle, in the steam rising from the pot of potatoes on the stove and in the smells and sounds and passing light in every room of the house. God is also in the negative, horrific sensations — in the explosion of the bomb and the firing of the pistol. All these sensations are there to be read theologically if we have the holy imagination to recognize them. Otherwise they are mere impressions lost to consciousness and reflection.
“The holy person is the one whose senses are at their peak and whose imagination is ever ready to notice the slightest sign of the divine presence revealed momentarily in the most mundane of sensations.”
[Thomas Moore, The Soul’s Religion]
I am happy to see God in potato steam and a butterfly’s wings. But a pistol? Or a bushfire? That’s tough. Especially when the flames are still blazing. Even so, I want to have that ‘holy imagination’ that sees God in everything, not just the places I would prefer Him to dwell.

What must it be like to see your town, your house and your belongings reduced to a scatter of ashes? Any other worries seem insignificant when you weigh them against whole communities being annihilated. And in such a violent, terrifying way, too.
People talk about the ‘fury’ of the fires and their indiscriminate attack on children, the elderly, those fleeing and those standing their ground. In yesterday’s Australian newspaper, a CFA volunteer in Flowerdale was quoted: ‘I just get so angry. The fire has a mind of its own. It just doesn’t care nothing about wrecking your life, or your kids’ life either’. Rationally, of course, there is no reason to think that fire should care – or on the flip side, to think that it has a mind of its own. But for anyone in Australia and the Western world more generally, we have such a sense of control over our own lives that something as unstoppable as a mighty fire simply does not fit with our understanding of the world. We expect good to happen, and we are wrongfooted when a disaster like this comes from nowhere.
Should we spend our lives expecting bad things to happen? That would be like a living death. I don’t have a neat answer, but there are some things that help me when the roof of my world caves in. To know that the present is all, and that to live in the expectation of either good or bad is just a distraction. To know that in the context of eternity, the things we own and even the lives we build are never permanent: jobs, houses, even our bodies are only ever temporary. And the pain we have now will pass. It will always pass.

Yesterday I held it in my hands for the very first time. I gazed adoringly at it. Yes, it’s an advance copy of my new book, Positive! I hope the world loves it and treats it kindly … Now the hard work begins of making sure everyone in Australia (nah, the world!) knows about it and feels compelled to buy a copy. Or ten.
Check out the HarperCollins blurb at http://www.harpercollins.com.au/books/9780732287191/Positive/index.aspx

Soooo exciting to see people posting kids’ quotes for my new book on the website already! Plenty of people are emailing them too – please, please save my sanity by posting any contributions on http://sallycollings.com/twak. It will save me heaps of work and ensure that I’ve got all your details present and accounted for.

Today is the big day – we start seeking submissions for my new book! Very exciting to be starting on such a fun, uplifting project.

Let your friends know about the submission form here sallycollings.com/TWAK

Web 2.0 or not to web 2.0. That seems to be the question nowadays. When designing Sally’s new site, Sally said she wanted to be able to communicate more easily with her fans and those seeking advice about a writing career. So we decided upon a blog. We hope you like it.