About Me

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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, Masque & Spectacle, and several other journals. I have essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Flowers and Bipolar Disorder


My early childhood consisted of flowers, the memories of which are among my strongest and most vivid. We lived on Arbordale Avenue in the city of Rochester, New York, until I was four years old. There were two old women who lived on our street who had beautiful gardens--so lush and enchanting and magical. My sister and mother and I were in their gardens once, their white cat lurking, and I smelled their roses. The smell of roses continues to take me back to that precious, fleeting, summer day. And then there were wild violets in my aunt's backyard under a pine tree. Beautiful and mysterious, they grew in shade, the smell of them with me still. I can't look at or smell a wild violet without going back.

I always want flowers. I would have fresh cut flowers in my house every day if that wouldn't become too expensive. And I would have more flowers growing in my yard than I have these past springs and summers since we've lived in this house. But I'm not very good with them--they don't seem to flourish.

It strikes me as being like bipolar disorder: the mania of a profusion of fresh cut flowers, flowers every day that cost more and more, and the depression of flowers outside not flourishing. Perhaps this is why I hang on so tightly to my memories of the old ladies' roses and my aunt's wild violets. These memories remind me that thriving is possible even in the darkest times, and that fresh cut flowers can come from one's own yard--perhaps not in manic profusion, but in simple, lovely bunches, balanced and good.

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