By Jessica Bryan
I am an author of over 28 books who has always shared my stories with my mother. Sadly, Mom suffers from Alzheimer’s, and as the disease has progressed she no longer comprehends more intricate plots, nor can she focus on longer, more detailed stories. As a consequence, I began reading short stories to her. I noticed that after reading something more easily comprehended, there was often something in the tale that sparked a memory and conversation. “Do you remember gardening?” I asked her after reading about a gardener. It brought a sweet reminiscent moment that included smiles and even laughter. That spawned my idea for a book of short stories specifically dedicated to the elderly with cognitive issues and their caregivers who often search for activities that will provide quality time with their loved ones.
Recently, I was involved in a project for the county to discuss the needs of aging communities. It was abundantly clear that caregiving services were needed without enough funding to provide these services. I thought that I could combine the idea of a book of short stories for seniors with a fundraiser for the Council on Aging.
I put out a call for submissions from authors who might be interested in participating, asking for a donation of short stories with a focus on brevity and simplicity. The profits from the book sales would be given to North Carolina’s Chatham County Council on Aging. The authors were more than happy to generously share their work with no thoughts of remuneration. The results were submissions from all over the world. They were charming, memory and conversation-provoking stories from 33 authors.
Editing was difficult because of the 55 stories that were accepted there were so many others that were submitted. Late nights and reading aloud to my wonderful husband helped narrow down the choices. Not all the writers were authors. Many were people who simply wanted to participate and believed in the cause. Many had been or currently were caregivers themselves and could relate to the needs of caregivers and their loved ones for whom they were caring.
The title of the book came to me one day as I observed a little black ant carrying something large to its nest. I thought about the strength of an ant. Titling the anthology The Mighty Ant I explained on the cover, “Just like the little ant, whose size is disproportionate to its strength, so can stories have strong impact, regardless of their length.”
In addition to my own stories I wrote for the anthology, I’ve also written many other books ranging from fiction, Young Adult fiction, children’s books, to non-fiction (humor, self-help, and inspirational) books. My four-book series on caregiving has been described as books that should be required reading for those involved in caregiving because they are helpful, informative, raw, humorous, truthful, and real accounts of what a caregiver actually experiences.
Several AlzAuthors are featured in this anthology: Angela G. Gentile, Irene Olson, Marianne Sciucco, and Vicki Tapia.
Purchase The Mighty Ant
About the Author
Jessica Bryan lives in North Carolina where she is a real estate broker and an active advocate for caregivers and care receivers. Jessica has written all her life, but during the past few years she began writing full-length books, including fiction and non-fiction, books for young adults, and some wonderful Juvenile action-adventure books. Her interest in writing about caregiving began when her mother came to live with her and her wonderful husband, Skip. Jessica loves to laugh and claims that her sense of humor shines though all of her books regardless of the subject matter.
Connect with Jessica Bryan
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and readers whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
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