Welcome Author Mary Colleen Carney.
What is your mental health issue?
I have bi-polar. Some doctors say bi-polar 1 and or bi-polar 2. I seem to fall into the 2 categories, plagued with depression more so than mania. Yeah for me.
How long have you been writing fiction? Tell us about your career so far.
It would be fairer to say writing as opposed to writing fiction. The majority of my works are fiction to me even if derived from the real. I started writing poetry in junior high school; motivated by an incredible English teacher who happened to be oh, so handsome. Poems led to prose, to journaling and eventually to a book. It took me forever to write it, to find a publisher and pay for an edit; however it is now material proof of a living, breathing human being. Churned to a bloody mess by a book, but living still. So, I gather the answer to the question would be, a long time.
How has mental ill health helped your writing?
How has mental health helped my writing? I am fortunate that I do not have to take medicines that fog my brain. Depression does that well enough. On one rare occasion of mania, I pronounced to the world that I was going to write a book. I had been thinking about it; the characters, setting, plot and so forth. I was convinced that it couldn’t be that difficult….foolish, foolish girl.
As I delved into my project it was a paper abyss. Yes, I used the computer but I am a note taker, a thought on a napkin, a word on a scrap of paper. And then there was the journal. So much of the story had already been written, bits and pieces through the days. In every story there is a kernel of truth. I left the kernels in my journal while transforming them in my mind to fill the pages of my book. I became obsessed with perfection, fueled by a low mania colored deep black. I do not know how many people have had the unique experience of being manic and depressed simultaneously, however let me fill you in….it’s not fun. There is no sleep for the weary, no bright light of hope as the voices harangue and demean. Using my own self-promise of finishing this book, hell be damned, I drug my poor mental attitude, along with my victim status, through broken glass to be true to myself, for once. My book is a product of my mental illness. Without its bite, I would have never been able to visualize the story I needed to tell.
And how has it not?
My mental illness was my biggest demon throughout the whole process of writing, writing anything. It turned me inward where the story lay but was very reluctant to let me turn outward so to write it down. I drank too much so I could sleep, stayed up too late in hopes of falling asleep quickly; that’s when the voices are the loudest, when you’re falling asleep. My ambition evaporated, my story died in my mind. All the while there was this little niggle in the back of my mind, my promise to me. It seemed as if my illness had become alive, trying to do I know not what. Kill me? Derail me? Sabotage me? Possess me? Yes and yes and yes. “Go away niggle, it’s time for crying.” Really!
What advice do you have for other writers with mental health issues.
My best advice; don’t stop. Even if you can only write it on the walls of your mind, or the back of your eyelids, don’t stop. It doesn’t take a pen to be a writer. It takes a mind. When I write I visualize the words coming from God into my mind, from my mind through my arm to my hand then flowing out through the ink in my pen onto pristine white paper. Find a mental picture that motivates you and commit it to memory. Whenever you are able to do no more than breathe, bring out that mental picture and live it. Rest, go far away, feel the weather in your picture, think of smells and tastes.
Do it regularly and soon the dark times won’t last as long and the good times will last longer. An added advantage is that while you were on a mental vacation, your mind was working on problems, sorting and filing, cleaning out the closet if you will. When you rise, and you will, a horde of inspiration will be waiting. Remember however, no amount of inspiration or planning will write for you. It is something for which you must put yourself to task. Rise above your weakness and embrace that which makes you strong. Your creativity. My motto: Small steps, moving forward. Good luck to you.
In a vast land where dark and light spirits have fought for domination over thousands of years, two orphans adopted by the Monastery of the Brotherhood rejoin the fight to sustain the light. Ophelia is traveling home to Ringell, the crown jewel and capital of the land of Hinnom.
She goes there to meet Kempis, her surrogate brother also adopted by the brotherhood, now turned priest. She hopes to convince him to travel with her to Havenwood, an ancient site of conflicts between light and dark, where the cold war has again come alive. Abba, the spiritual leader of the creatures of light, reveals his wishes and wisdom through the oracles sent to Ophelia.
These oracles prove evasive and dangerous, yet are enlightening to Ophelia and her companions, as their god leads them through a web of darkness that threatens to destroy them all
If you are an author/writer who experiences mental health issues who would like to share how this impacts you professionally/personally, then please click the following link to download The Mental Muse questions and instructions. Then, get your answers back to me using MENTAL MUSE ANSWERS as the email subject header. I’ll be in touch.
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Thank you Mary, for being this month’s brave & bold mental muse!
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