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 a poem in The Poeming Pigeon, 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. My story "Santa Lucia" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I've written three novels entitled Purple Loosestrife, Hoping It Might Be So, and Dark and Bright, all of which are as yet unpublished. I'm working on a memoir about my experiences with bipolar disorder. 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!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Painting and Writing

Here I sit in my paint clothes and paint glasses (an old pair that can get paint on them) having just primed a door and part of a wall in a new exercise room that we've added to our house. The area already existed when we bought the house--it was a little room off the garage and outside the backdoor that had two large closets in it, some empty space, and a door to the backyard. We took down the closets and put up another door between the room and the garage so that the room is fully enclosed.

And now we're painting it all. What color is it going to be? Well, one wall has three panels that are respectively green, blue, and yellow. Two other walls are bright red. And the final wall will be beige. Kind of crazy, but we wanted it that way. The room has a treadmill and a recumbent bicycle in it, and who wants to look at plain white walls when working out?

While I was painting today, I thought about writing and the whole metaphor I could come up with about writing being like painting. It strikes me as kind of a lame metaphor, kind of obvious (first you have to prime, blah, blah, blah...), but it's true. The new door has new molding around it and all of it is unfinished. So it needs primer, paint, tape to keep the paint under control, and the actual act of painting the little parts, the hard to reach parts, and the big parts that will show the most. It's those little and hard to reach parts that remind me so much of writing. Subtlety, nuances--these things have to be just right, elusive enough to be provocative, but clear enough to make sense. Likewise, painting, in my opinion, should all be high quality, whether it's some little corner or a whole wall.

I'm working right now on a memoir chapter that's at the "little and hard to reach places" stage. I've got the chapter written, but there needs to more... some spot-on details, something evocative, the reaching of a hard to reach place that will make the chapter shine. It's tough. I feel like I'm crawling around on the floor with a little paintbrush, getting paint in my hair and on my clothes, trying to reach that spot that will make it all come together, that will make all the twisting and bending worth it. I know I'll get there, but like all good projects, it takes patience and time and a lot of hard work.

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