My First Book’s Coming Out. Cue Panic?

My first book releases March 31st. This isn’t the post I thought I’d write about such an occasion, but then– this isn’t the book I thought I’d write, either.  Here’s a confession. Publishing this book is easily one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. Writing it involved excavating and articulating stories, fears, and beliefs…

Creativity: Neither Magic Nor Madness

Nothing like telling the entire world about one’s clinical depression to enliven a Tuesday. Here’s my latest for Ploughshares Literary Magazine, in which I own up to the depression that yanked me out of music-touring… and in which I punch the Mental-Illness-Makes-Better-Artists myth in the throat. Regardless of whether you’ve suffered from mental illness, there are…

(In which Rilke nails December. And depression.)

It’s been a dark December. I mean this metaphorically, although (oh god) it’s raining again. It’s the kind of December to which one should invite Rilke, post haste. Particularly since, 100 years ago, Rilke was having a rather dark December himself. So for you fellow depressives, grievers, broken folk… from Melville House, this today: Rainer…

And then there’s the time you go off Cymbalta.

Not because you no longer need it, but because it may be doing harm. Not that you know; it’s an experiment. A new doctor playing fast and loose with neurotransmitters. Famously terrifying to quit, Cymbalta loves and leaves with jerks and starts, fuzzy rods between your eyes, hilarious nausea. Blurred and frozen, then unfrozen. Cymbalta…

The silence of being IN IT.

I recently taught a series of creative writing workshops for at-risk youth in the midwest. They’re new to writing, so part of our work involved writing list-poems in which each line began, “They say,” and “I’m afraid that.” The point was to identify what others might see when they look at us, and then experiment…