I recently stumbled upon a great blog called Retcon Poet that deals with poetry of mental health, “from depression to suicide to the system that is supposed to treat it.” While looking around the blog, I found a call for submissions for an anthology that the editor is putting together in coalition with Good Morning Bedtime Story, a suicide prevention program that “aims is to provide a forum for those suffering from depression and suicidal tendencies through art, writing and music.” Both blogs explore the ways in which art can help heal the damaged soul, through reflection, creation, and communication. You should definitely take a look!
The anthology, which is to be called GROUND ZERO is looking for submissions of poetry, artwork, and short prose that deals with the broad topic of mental health. From the website:
All proceeds will be donated to Do It For Daron, a collaborative mental health program by the Ottawa Senators and the Royal Ottawa Hospital. It is named for Daron Richardson, the 15-year old daughter of Ottawa Senators’ assistant coach Luke Richardson. She committed suicide in 2010.
All contributors will be given credit, and you can submit under a pseudonym if you so wish. If you think you have something to offer, submit now — the deadline is fast approaching. I submitted today, and got a reply pretty quickly that one of the poems from my book, Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer, would be included in the anthology. The poem, “Foundation,” deals with the topic of child abuse and a young boy’s struggle to break free from the terrible cycle.
For a look at a preliminary table of contents, ad well as submissions details for the cover contest, you can take a look here.
Image courtesy of Shane Burroughs
I just read an article on the Good Men Project that states creativity is the personality trait linked to the highest rate of failure.
Now, that may come as a shock, but it makes perfect sense. The most creative people are those who venture into new and daring ideas — they try new things, before anyone else. Sometimes they succeed, and wildly so. But more often than not, creativity is met with failure. The important thing, though, is that if you wish to succeed wildly, you must be willing to fail wildly — only then are you sure that you are taking the risks required for the highest pay-out.
From the article:
You might think that answer is bone idle laziness, brutish ignorance, a complete lack of ambition or some equally negative trait. Surprisingly, the answer is none of these! They don’t even come close, because the trait most likely to cause failure is creativity. Even in its mildest form, creativity delivers failure in abundance.
This isn’t just an unsupported opinion; there is plenty of evidence. The person who is held by many to be one of the most creative inventors of the industrial era developed more than 10,000 failed prototypes for just one of his ideas. The most creative painter of the modern era produced more 13,500 paintings, 99.9% of which you will never have seen or even heard of. The world’s most creative and most important animator filed for bankruptcy 7 times while trying to establish his animation studio.
It seems that Thomas Edison, Pablo Picasso and Walt Disney bounced happily from failure to failure all of their lives, and yet they were tremendously successful people.
That’s right. Some of the most important names in history are the names of people who failed repeatedly throughout their lives. But after each failure they came back stronger and smarter — they learned from their mistakes and used those lessons to ultimately get ahead.
You can read the full article here.
What has your experience with creativity and failure been? Has the failure ever been great enough to make you consider giving up creativity altogether?
So, Amazon notified me today that my book of poetry, Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer, was put on sale at 10% off — bringing its price down to only $8.99! I don’t know how long the sale will last for, but if you’ve at all been on the fence about buying a copy of the book, or you’ve been waiting for the right time, today’s the day. Also on sale at 10% off are two other Grey Sparrow/River Otter books, Bones Buried in the Dirt by David S. Atkinson and Shenanigans! by Joseph Michael Owens.
Pick up a copy today!
I just stumbled across this amazing short video created out of a portion of the famous “This is Water” speech that David Foster Wallace gave to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. It is an intensely powerful speech, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
From the speech:
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
If you’re worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise old fish explaining what water is, please don’t be. I am not the wise old fish. The immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude – but the fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance.
A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here’s one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. … It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute centre of.
I know that this stuff probably doesn’t sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational. What it is, so far as I can see, is the truth with a whole lot of rhetorical bullshit pared away. Obviously, you can think of it whatever you wish. But please don’t dismiss it as some finger-wagging Dr Laura sermon. None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma, or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head. It is about simple awareness – awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: “This is water, this is water.”
For the full text, click here.
Check out this article by the amazing Gina Barreca on women’s humor in a “post-Sarah Silverman world”! Gina was a professor and mentor of mine up at the University of Connecticut, and she wrote the preface to my book Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer. Wildly funny in her own right, she regularly examines the power of humor in our daily lives. If you’re looking for a good laugh and some insight, this most recent article of hers won’t let you down!
Novelist Fay Weldon instructs us that, “Comedy is the most crucial thing we have left in a world that’s coming apart.”
Comedy in all its familiar forms–from novels to films, from cartoons to stand-up comedy, from humor in the workplace to humor in intimate relationships–can help women recognize new sources of power within themselves. The productive use of humor is a challenge facing a generation of women who have grown up only half-recognizing the power of their own laughter.
Humor gives women a chance to criticize without pain, express our anger without injury and deflate someone’s pretensions while allowing them their dignity. A joke correctly placed can open doors, repair damage and avoid crisis. On the other hand, a joke badly placed can cut communication, cause embarrassment and create irreparable harm. A joke is never just a joke; it’s all about power and voice. And a gag can stifle your voice, shut you up if the gag is placed over your mouth–or allow you to be heard more clearly than ever before, with the fabulous, fierce triumph of the last laugh.
Check the rest out here, and while you’re at it, pick up a copy of her book They Used to Call Me Snow White… But I Drifted, now in its 19th printing!