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, 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!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Influence of Mister Rogers

I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you I like, it's you,
It's you... I... like! 
                  
                       ~Mister Rogers

I grew up with Mister Rogers and was heartbroken when he died too young a number of years ago. Mister Rogers taught us about kindness, acceptance, friendship, and love. He influenced me significantly, and he continues to do so in my writing. It's not in ways that are obvious to me while I write, but in my whole approach to developing characters.

I think what it comes down to is that I love my characters and accept them for who they are. I try to be kind to them, even if I'm killing them off or making them behave heinously. The general point is, I try to treat my characters in a realistic way, and I hope this makes them as believable as possible and helps to get my readers invested in them. This is not to say that all my characters are worthy of love, or lovable, or good people. Some are none of these things. But when I treat them kindly while creating them, I feel that I create more thoroughly developed, multidimensional characters. It's difficult to love and care about a cliche or a cardboard cut-out.

To forget to love the character as simply one's own creation, the way a person might love his or her own child, I believe keeps a writer from fully developing that character. So think of Mister Rogers when you're creating your characters. Accept them, love them--they're your own and nobody else's. And be proud of them. I have a feeling that William Shakespeare was probably proud of Lady Macbeth. Perhaps not proud of her actions, but proud of the mere fact of creating her, of bringing such a memorable, significant character into existence.

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