BenLeander_Design Studio

+43 650 707 9191 (12-18 h)
hello@benleander.com

author writing book illustration

I am writing a book

I have a secret that I’ve kept for the past three years and it’s out with the title of this post. I am writing a book and finally feel ready to talk about the process.

I wanna cry happy tears thinking that after such a long time I am finally ready to talk about the biggest creative project I have ever taken on, my first novel. When I was a teenager I thought about the goals I had for my life, and besides working in the creative industry and getting lots of tattoos I always dreamed of writing (and publishing) a book. I have started many times but never had enough stamina to actually go through with it.

The day that changed everything

Around four years ago I was suddenly confronted with lots of changes. I broke up with my ex-boyfriend, found out I was diabetic and became part of a whole new friend group I am bonded with for life. Above all, however, it was the first time I was single with OCD and had to deal with my anxieties on my own.

My insecurities made it hard for me to welcome all the changes. I didn’t know if I’d ever find someone again who could accept me the way I was. I didn’t know if I would ever have a normal (sex) life or if I’d be terrified of HIV, the trigger for my OCD, for the rest of my life.

Eventually, I decided that the only way to move forward was by living the kind of life I felt I missed out on for years because of my OCD. So, I went on dates, partied at dirty clubs, sat on the floor of my friends’ apartments and even started inviting people into my own flat. What only very little people know is that these things were extremely challenging for me because I consider(ed) many things unclean or dangerous.

I was on a journey of discovery and connection, longing to have as many fulfilling experiences as possible, so I would never ever have to look back at the past thinking that I missed out on life.

Beneath my dirty skin

I remember telling my best friend about my worries. She suggested that I should write about it and it was that moment something in my brain clicked. I knew I had finally found what I could write a book about: my life with OCD while dating.

So, the book I am writing is somewhat autobiographical even though it’s technically fiction. It starts out with the true story of me and my ex breaking up while being on vacation. This happened a couple of years ago, however, in reality, I bent over backward to get him back and continue the vacation. In the book, we split up and I continue the vacation on my own, describing modified versions of situations that occurred after the real-life breakup.

rainbow vacation roadtrip

End of the year

I have carried this project with me for more than three years and even though the lockdown helped my writing process, I am more of a slow and steady writer. Earlier last year I gave myself the challenge of finishing the book in 2021. I didn’t finish yet but at least I am currently in the final chapter of it. For now, I wanna reveal the title of the book which is Unter meiner dreckigen Haut or Beneath my Dirty Skin in English.

Whenever I finish this project, I hope I can find a publishing house willing to give a newcomer a chance to tell his story. I am equally terrified and excited about having strangers and friends read my intimate pages, but never in my life was I more certain that I had to do something. I’m excited and I hope you are too. More about this soonish.

 

BenLeander

 

 

Suggested further reading:

Meet the Troll in my Head

Compulsive nonconformist who left the 9-to-5 world after studying psychology and has since then devoted himself to design and writing on a freelance basis. Has at least four different kinds of chips at home at any given time.

Do you have something to say?

%d bloggers like this: