Enjoying the precipice of a cliff side on the Aran Islands in Ireland.
I’m always finding new, surprising connections between the writing process and mental illness. Here’s the newest and the most surprising: travelling to new places, immersing yourself in new surroundings, and finding new perspectives both rejuvenates your writing and might (just might!) lift you from the monotony of a depressive episode.
New perspectives in writing (for example, shifting the narrative point of view, describing a scene from a different angle, or trying out a new tone) can cut through writer’s block in a way nothing else can. What makes writing interesting in the first place is how it presents life from different and new perspectives. Finding these fresh perspectives, however, can be challenging. Immersing yourself physically in different cultures, and therefore immersing yourself in different opinions and ideas, can sometimes be the ticket.
But when it comes to difficulties, cutting through the torpor of mental illness is certainly the more back breaking, the more mind numbing of the two. Continue reading
My dad used to say that he never wants to retire because when you retire, you die.
But this isn’t true. For example, the average Japanese person lives far past retirement. There are more centenarians here (people who live to the age of 100 years) than anywhere else in the world.
Don’t worry. I won’t let this turn into another long spiel about Japan. The point is, many elderly Japanese people are more active, both physically and mentally, than elderly Canadian or American people. I’m not saying this is the sole cause of their longevity, but it can’t hurt. They go to the park and exercise; they volunteer in the community, cleaning up garbage around their grand kids’ schools, sweeping up the roads, or running classes at the local community center; they read and play musical instruments and bike, bike, bike.
The elderly Japanese fill their lives with not only things that keep them busy (like watching TV or listening to the radio), but with things that give them purpose. Things to look forward to. Continue reading
Getting out of bed isn’t always the easiest thing, especially on a day with no work and no plans, when the hours stretch in front of you like gaping crevices you need to somehow jump across. What motivation exists to pull you up and into the shower? What point is there to start your day?
In these instances, we must remember that depression is illogical. Because, at least in my case, I can come up with tons of reasons why getting out of bed is a good idea (maybe even 101!), and even more reasons why staying in bed is bad. But my depression doesn’t care. It doesn’t use logic, and it doesn’t want to hear why it would be a good idea to get up and a bad idea to stay under the covers.
And so, to counteract this illogical sluggishness, this blankness in the brain, we have to trick ourselves. Continue reading
The sixth issue of Occasus, an online literary journal from Western University, is out today! This year they were generous enough to publish two poems, a fiction story, a creative nonfiction story, and an experimental piece of mine. I love this journal, and I encourage you to explore it and read work other than my own. I will provide the link below.
To find the specific links to my writing in Occasus, check out my Published Work page. I will be posting all of them there.
And, as always, I must belt out to KEEP WRITING, EVERYONE. Keep creating. Keep being curious and fearless. To create is to be alive. To create is to lose yourself in something bigger than yourself.
Now, to hurry down to my desk in the wall and work on some more stories…
The myth of the Brontë sisters, which mainly surrounds Charlotte and Emily’s childhood stories and poems, physical isolation from the rest of society, inexplicable talent for writing, and early deaths (Anne is mentioned always only briefly, having written novels that were not as popular as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights), has forever inspired and mystified fans of their writing. It is especially difficult to separate Emily Brontë’s novel, Wuthering Heights, from the girls’ background, with its windy moors and warm fireplaces; its vast, open landscapes and locked rooms.
As Charlotte states in her preface to the 1850 edition of her sister’s novel, “I have just read over Wuthering Heights, and … have gained a definite notion of how it appears to other people — to strangers who knew nothing of the author; who are unacquainted with the locality where the scenes of the story are laid; to whom the inhabitants, the customs, the natural characteristics of the outlying hills and hamlets in the West-Riding of Yorkshire are things alien and unfamiliar. To all such Wuthering Heights must appear a rude and strange production” (37).
Whether we presently live in “the West-Riding of Yorkshire” or not, we must all now admit that we are strangers to the Brontë sisters. Too much time has passed since they wrote. Their books will always remain, if not rude, definitely strange. Continue reading