Photo by Arièle Bonte on Unsplash

Thanks to my journaling habit, I can see the honest arc from health to illness and back to health, and remind myself that I am not, in fact, mad anymore. I know myself, and thus human nature, better for having been the subject of my own research for many years.

The journal captured Desert Storm: America’s first declaration of war since Vietnam, and the first in my lifetime. How innocent my shock seems now, when I read those pages! And finally, it captured the landscape of an inner world stretched at times frighteningly close to the breaking point. I did not know then that I suffered from madness, but it loomed on the horizon. I can see it now, a long shadow cast over the years. It is there, faithfully outlined in the journals: 1994, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2009. Longer and longer it grows through the years. And, conversely, it begins to fade after my hospitalization and subsequent acceptance of a new and healthier lifestyle. I can see the honest arc from health to illness and back to health, and remind myself that I am not, in fact, mad anymore. I know myself better for having been the subject of my own research for many years.

Memoir as a form of expression may truly be batshit, because we know that if we write well — which is to say with a curiosity and awareness almost brutal in their self-exposure — you may revile us for what you’re reading. We know that our families, if the book involves them, almost certainly will. Still, we write.

Memoir is rooted in French; memoire, literally, memory. Memoirists, then, are rememberists. We remember creatively. We confess our filters and flaws, waving our dirty undies about like the flags of secret wars suddenly bursting from messy closets. We take our clothes off in public, stripping bare the vagaries of time, trauma, emotion and raw human drives. Rememberists perhaps are born of a certain madness. Memoir as a form of expression may truly be batshit, because we know that if we write well — which is to say with a curiosity and awareness almost brutal in their self-exposure— you may revile us for what you’re reading. We know that our families, if the book involves them, almost certainly will. Still, we write.

Photo by Marcus Bengtsson on Unsplash

Memoirist. Poet. SourcePoint practitioner and Rolfer. Living on a small island off the western edge of sanity.

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