If you somehow haven’t already heard, I wrote a book! And you can buy it on Amazon! It’s just the news you’ve been waiting for, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to read a collection of free verse poetry about depression and anxiety? Right?…
I get it. It sounds like a total downer. And to be honest, parts of it are pretty depressing, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise given the subject matter. But don’t worry, (spoiler alert) there is a happy and [emphasis on the following] reality-based ending. You’ll leave the book with a sense of resolution, and hopefully not disappointment.
But Kim, why would you write an entire book on a total bummer of a subject?
Hear me out. This might sound like some awful marketing pitch, but the purpose of this book is two-fold.
- So people who haven’t experienced mental illness can gain an understanding of what it’s like inside a depressed brain.
- So people who have experienced mental illness can know they are not alone, and can use this book as a therapeutic exercise.
I get frustrated at times trying to explain to people what it is I’m going through. Even with those closest to me. When I’m on the verge of a panic attack, it can be near impossible for me to verbalize anything. Seemingly out of nowhere, I’ll start freaking out, and whoever I’m with doesn’t know what’s going on or what to do about it. It’s an unpleasant episode for everyone involved.
In this book I tried to capture some of those feelings. Because it makes my life so much easier when I can say, “I appreciate your concern and your desire to help. Read this, and then you can come ask me questions, and we can have a more informed conversation.”
So much easier, right?
As for the second purpose, I know that everyone has unique symptoms and struggles with mental illness, so my portrayal of my own story will not be exactly like someone else’s story. But I think there are certain feelings that people are going to relate to on varying levels. And there are people who have had very similar experiences to my own, who will relate immensely to this book.
Where did this book come from?
About a year ago from the time of writing this post, I found myself completely blocked. I couldn’t write anything. Which, as a writer, was terrifying. It was too painful to put pen to paper. I could not for the life of me get words on the page. I was empty. After months of encouragement and failed attempts, I finally managed to type out a few lines. Then a few more. Until I had a handful of raw, unpolished, not very pretty poems.
Some people would have taken those poems, printed them, ripped them to shreds, burned them, told themselves that all of the feelings locked in those poems are now gone, that they are free to move on, and start on a happier, more fulfilling project.
Not me. No, I saw those poems and thought it would be much more liberating if I shared them with everyone. If I let them have their own life and morph into something more beautiful and complete. I decided to write some more, until I had enough to compile into a small book. I reached out to a few friends for feedback, edited, formatted, and used Amazon to publish the collection. Then I started a blog, to make sure my words would see the light of day. All this work for these awful poems. But I couldn’t let all the struggle, all the pain, everything I went through to inspire and pen these poems go to waste. So I published a book.
As the project progressed, I noticed some real potential. Potential for collaboration. I believe collaborative works are far richer than those completed by one individual. I also recognized that this particular project was personal and private. So any collaboration would have to be done personally and privately.
This is where you come in. You lovely, wonderful readers.
I want you to collaborate with me on this project.
What some authors see as a downside to publishing with Amazon, I see as a perk. Their print-on-demand service doesn’t produce the highest quality prints. Not every copy is going to be perfect. There might be smudges or misalignments or creased pages. Why am I happy about this? Because I know how reluctant people can be to write in a nice book. Having a decent but not precious copy of A Letter to Last Year allows you, my reader and partner-in-crime, to do whatever you darn well please with the book!
Yes, I want you to write in the margins. Draw, doodle, scribble, paint. Black out words to create your own poems. Tear up the pages that bring you down. Carry it in your bag and press wildflowers between the pages. Add your own commentary, and pass it off to a friend. Read it, cry into it, grieve everything that it pulls out of your aching heart, and then light the thing on fire. Make it into a masterpiece or destroy it completely. However you best connect to the thoughts in these poems. The one thing I don’t want is for you to buy it, flip through it, and place it on a shelf to collect dust without a second thought. If you’re going to come on this journey with me, I need you to be an active collaborator.
And I want you to share your experience with me. I would LOVE to see what you do with your copy. Send me a picture, or a video, or a message, and with your permission I’ll post it on my social feeds so we can all gather together in this exciting endeavor. (I stick mostly to Facebook and my personal newsletter. You can find links to my profiles in the sidebar on the upper right if you’re on a computer, or keep scrolling down to the icons under Social if you’re on a phone. There is also a Contact link here and at the very bottom of the page.)
Spread the word, and let’s see what we can create together!