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!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Trouble with Memoir

I have a few projects going currently. Just yesterday, I wrote a flash fiction piece called "The Other Side of the Wall". It's about a man dealing with some noisy, angry neighbors in his brick apartment building.

I've also been working on the same chapter of my memoir, which I'm calling (at this point) "Bouquet". I'm getting frustrated with the memoir, however, because of the things I don't want to write about. I'm still seriously thinking about calling it "Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life". Then I could write what would be stand-alone essays about my experiences and about various aspects of living with bipolar disorder. I realize that with memoir, the idea is to dig deep and write about all sorts of things, including painful or unpleasant things, and I definitely do that when I write about severe episodes I've had, and hospitalizations, group therapy, things I did during bad episodes, etc. What I don't want to write about is my first marriage. Many of the events I'll cover (and have covered) happened during those fifteen years, but I don't want to write about the marriage itself or my ex-husband. I don't want to give these things my time and effort.

This reasoning is probably a violation of the whole concept of memoir, but I don't care. I've reached a point with it where I feel indifferent, and I see this as a good and positive development. So writing a series of essays instead of a linear memoir would give me the ability to pick and choose what I feel is relevant from the time of my first marriage. For example, I've written a chapter/essay called "Manic Summer". It's about the summer leading up to the day when I told my ex-husband that I wanted a divorce. This is relevant. But my wedding day in 1989? Not relevant, at least not in my vision for what this book might be.

I don't know. I don't have all the answers about this. I'm just going on gut feelings as I write and when deciding what to write about. 

2 comments:

  1. I think a book of essays is a great idea. I think freeing yourself of the pressure to venture places, times, and circumstances that you don't want to confront, or feel no need to, will open your heart and mind to follow the deeper thread in writing of what moves you the most.

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