By rekindling a love affair…with analogue music
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a singular kind of shitshow, with only the election of a person possessing actual human emotions as the one bright spot. One thing that has saved my sanity, however — as it so often has in my life — is music. It’s been said that the best music is made in times of socio-political turmoil. While I’d have traded some of that for a little more stability and a lot less general fuckery from the anger yam* in the White House, it’s true…
Flecks of skin and blood-red feathers,
singed by rocks that had fallen
from the sky like stars,
cling to a sea of bones bleached
as the sky is bleached,
strewn across a once verdant forest of
dead, ashen trees.
She is cold, and she is hungry
but most of all she is lonely,
and that is worse than either
hunger or cold.
She lumbers across the scorched plain,
her mouth dry with dust,
her joints calling out to lie down —
just a little while,
just a moment.
Let us sleep now with the rest.
The world is white with…
How a chat with one of my greatest influences changed my life.
Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, published in 1985, made him an immediate horror sensation and prompted the famous Stephen King quote: “I have seen the future of horror; his name is Clive Barker.” Though Barker went on to write in other genres such as urban fantasy and even children’s books, it’s his early short fiction — along with the creation of horror icons Pinhead and Candyman — that cemented his reputation as a genre master.
I was 17 when I first read the Books of Blood, way back…
The echoes of poverty haunt me long after my escape.
I remember the first time my peers and I were asked to remove their shoes in gym class for some activity that inexplicably required such. While the other children excitedly flung off their little sneakers, I inched toward the back of the gym and slouched against the wall. My gym teacher asked me what was wrong.
I saw all those pristine, perfect white socks and was filled with the sort of shame no child should experience. “I have holes in my socks,” I said.
My teacher, to his credit —…
How a major appliance failure forced a life reassessment
Imagine it: You wake up on a Saturday morning, ready to begin your weekend. You’re planning to make French toast for you and your husband. Then you hear his voice drifting up from the basement, and the tone immediately suggests that something is wrong. You head down to find your basement full of water, thanks to your old and failing tank water heater. The one major casualty? Five years of artwork you had been storing down there.
I’ve loved art since I could hold a crayon, so much that — despite…
My constant companion isn’t just a milder form of depression.
I don’t know what “happy” feels like.
I understand what it means, what it’s supposed to be, but I fundamentally cannot grasp the concept of happiness.
I have dysthymia, aka persistent depressive disorder. Whereas people with the type of chronic depression most of us are familiar with generally have periods in which they can and do experience emotions like the average person, I can’t. My baseline mood is naturally lower than a “normal” person’s. Always. And I can remember feeling this way since childhood.
The Mayo Clinic defines dysthymia as:
I’ve never been good at saying no — until I was about to have a breakdown
It was a bit like a tsunami — I knew something ominous was coming, could sense it on the horizon, but couldn’t really see it until it was about to crash over me. I’d been feeling low-grade panicky and generally miserable since returning from my trip to Ireland in April; I chalked it up to my usual hatred of leaving Europe to come back to America. After all, look what I was coming back to, again. Women being further stripped of their bodily autonomy…
My struggle with the mental disorder that almost no one knows I have — and many people have never heard of.
I remember being around ten years old or so. My mother’s oldest brother, a generally vile human being and thankfully dead now, would greet me with “Hi, ugly!” and my sister with “Hi, beautiful!” As a child on the cusp of puberty, I did not consider myself pretty or even particularly cute, but I certainly didn’t need my low self-esteem validated by this waste of molecules. Around the same time, my mother began dating the psychopath who would become…
That doesn’t mean I’m trying to take it away from you.
Mother’s Day is almost here once again, and for most people, it’s a cause for celebration. Last year, however, I saw something on Facebook that burrowed into my psyche like a bot fly and has bothered me ever since. You see, not all of us have good relationships with our mothers. Some of us have no relationship at all. Despite what the media would have us believe, being a mother doesn’t instantly confer sainthood upon a woman. And sometimes, those of us who have been abandoned or emotionally, physically…
Ancestral homesickness and the Irish diaspora
I’m bidding farewell to the land of my youth
and the home I loved so well
and the mountains so grand in my own native land
I’m bidding them all farewell
with an aching heart I’ll bid them adieu
for tomorrow I’ll sail far away
O’re the raging foam for to seek a home
on the Shores of Amerikay
My sister and I had talked for years about taking a trip to Ireland. On our mother’s side, we’re only a few generations removed from our ancestral homeland; our great-grandfather hailed from County Roscommon, not…