When he was diagnosed with a chronic illness as a teenager, Chris Moore’s whole perception of self was changed – at an age when when questions of identity were already weighing heavily on his mind.
Moore’s recently published book ‘Gut Feelings’ is both an autobiography and a coming-of-age story, often presented in poetry form.
It documents his life growing up with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), an inherited disorder characterised by the growth of polyps (Growths in the large intestines that will almost certainly develop into cancer if left untreated).
When talking about the book, Moore said, “The main thing I want people to take away is empathy, but I want them to feel uncomfortable as well.
“I don’t want it to be an easy read, I want them to think ‘Wow, this is real. This has actually happened.”
From the time he was diagnosed with FAP at age 11 up until when he had his colon surgically removed at age 13, Moore found himself having to mature faster than most people.
In the book, he recounts an time when he shared his hospital room with a infant on dialysis, and how this made him put things in perspective.
“It just put into perspective that people are going through a lot worse.
“I did mature a lot more quickly – I probably had the maturity of a fifteen or sixteen year old at the age of thirteen.
“But what I didn’t have was that acceptance of self, of my sexuality.”
Moore currently lives in Manchester, but grew up in Ireland at a time when homophobic bullying in school was rife.
In addition to living with a chronic illness, Moore was also a target for bullies who regularly launched homophobic abuse at him.
“I had people dropping pencil shavings in my hair, punching me, name-calling, hiding my bag.
“I imagine this would be still be the case now. If you go to a rougher school, and they find something to pick on, they’ll pick on it.”
Moore’s struggle with his sexuality only grew deeper as he began dating – a experience fraught with insecurity due to his operation, which had left him with a scar along his lower torso.
“I went through a lot of years of wanting to be in love and have the perfect relationship.
“Then I came to realise that I don’t have to live up to the heterosexual binary by having a relationship or getting married. My happiness is key.”
The book isn’t entirely heavy – Moore recounts a incident when a priest came to deliver Last Rites (A Catholic tradition in which prayers are administered shortly before death) over him as something that is now funny in hindsight.
“My friend read it back and he thought it was hilarious. Scary but hilarious.”
Going forward, Moore wants to write more Young Adult fiction.
“I’m already writing my next book, it’s at 50,000 words at the moment.
“It’s very similar to Gut Feeling, there will be parts that are very funny and rom-com stupid funny, like 13 Going On 30, but also tragic.
“I want to explore gay conversion therapy and how it’s still legal, and raise that as a talking point, but also present it in a story that’s non-traditional and unconventional.”
Gut Feelings is available on Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gut-Feelings-C-G-Moore/dp/1912979438
Anybody wanting to learn more about Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and learn how to access support can find out more at https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/worried-about-cancer/causes-and-risk-factors/familial-adenomatous-polyposis-fap