New publication! Log Jam, now up at The Bohemyth

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I’m so excited to announce that my short story Log Jam has been published by a lovely journal called The Bohemyth. This piece, about the often inexplicable nature of depression, is very dear to me and was in submission for a long time, so I’m deeply thankful it found a home. It would mean the world to me if you read it.

Let’s DEWEY this! – The Man Who Couldn’t Stop

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Several months ago I broached the topic of OCD with a nonfiction read about hoarding. Because OCD is such a personal subject to me, I decided to devote this month’s nonfiction more fully to the illness with a read of David Adam’s “The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought.”

For the average, non-ill person, it’s normal to obsess now and then. It’s normal to have a senseless fear (clown in the closet?), a sudden and unsettling urge that does not fit with who we are (swerve into traffic, perhaps?) or a good-luck practice not founded on reality (certainly no one believes that knocking on wood actually works, but… just in case.) It’s normal to be picky about your books lining up straight or to lose sleep one night as a worry goes round and round in your head like a circling predator. This is not OCD.

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Let’s DEWEY This! – the 600s

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I’m deeply attached to relics from my childhood. A ragged teddy bear with a lost leg, looking like it just got back from war. A bathrobe with embroidered stars and way-too-short sleeves for my now-adult arms. A ballerina music box that got damaged in a move, the dancer now bent sideways, musicless.

Those relics I kept a long time, and I still have many others, but eventually space demanded that I sever a few mementos. It was painful throwing them away. Like I was throwing away pieces of my life. All the years of owning them had imbued them with memory and feeling, and to see them in the garbage or give-away box hurt my heart.

This experience is common; many people can relate. Now imagine having that same depth of attachment towards every object in your home. Bubblegum wrappers. Broken appliances. Newspapers. Imagine if tossing an old take-out menu filled you with the same loss as tossing your teddy bear.

That’s how the people feel in Randy Frost’s and Gail Steketee’s compassionate book, “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things,” DD# 616.85227 – this month’s Dewey Decimal Discovery pick from the section on health.

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Vulnerability In Writing – guest post by Ruby Browne

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Ruby Browne is a poet and autobiographical essayist who lays herself bare with raw and intimate writings on mental illness, addiction, and healing. With a blog and a recently published book devoted to these experiences, Ruby is no stranger to vulnerability, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I asked her what that’s like for her. Here’s what she had to say:

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Wake Up Call

For this week’s post, here is prose-poem I guest-wrote for Ruby Browne’s blog, about the subconscious ways our emotions find their way out. While you’re there, I highly recommend reading some of Ruby’s writings about mental health. She’s amazing.

Ruby Pipes

"DSC_0087" © Harvy, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.DSC_0087” © Harvy, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

You heard it before you knew what was happening, before you were even fully conscious, opening your eyes to the dark and to the sound. A ghostly sob behind hypnopompic curtains, fuzzing into your dream like an alarm clock. And maybe it was an alarm, in a way. Not the ring-ring-ring kind, but an alarm of another variety. An alert, a Mayday signal from your subconscious, saying wake up and feel this.

You woke after the crying had already started, the pillow wet beneath your cheek. You tried to keep the noise down, so as not to wake him. Because you wanted to be polite in your grief, because you didn’t want him to ask. Because you didn’t know the answer.

But you also needed to get it out. Out of your body as if it were something…

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