I did a bit of work on my memoir this past week. Then, tonight, I decided to have another sort out. Some things got burned, some put into another location. It's like sorting out my mind, as I've processed things. Whatever I have kept has the potential to be used later, creatively.
The little painting above was painted with acrylic paint pens. I remember crying while doing it. I looked up my photo album of paintings to check the name, Beyond Rainbow Bridge, the same as the first chapter of the book I was still writing, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. The words are lyrics from the song, 'You are my sunshine', linked to my son. So more than likely I listened to the song. It went into an art exhibition and later, I cut it up.
A while back, I burned over a dozen journals from a bipolar mania episode in 2017. I still have this little journal from that time. This was back on meds, still experiencing mania. It looks like complete nonsense but it's actually processing with loose mind-maps towards my goals of a solo art exhibition and publishing a novel. I can't write tidy nor in full sentence when my mood is very elevated as my mind is racing so fast. I will write what they actually say beneath then show some extracts from the actual book.
My psychiatrist couldn't believe I actually completed a book (well, two books so far, actually). My writing a book was one of the stupid reasons used against me to deny compensation for my mental injury of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
There is no doubt my communication is severely impaired when I am in mood episodes, as you can see in the writing. However, my ability to be visionary and figure out themes, goals etc in advance is beyond what most people can do. Even if I struggle to communicate it in words at the time (speech and writing).
Of course, I will tend to forget afterwards, yet, I never really forget most things, so I've figured out ways to capture the information to use later. It will take me a while to actually complete complex projects like books. I have my own ways of organising things in various formats, including visual diaries of photos.
When my mind is unable to organise words, I paint instead. My paintings are all complex visual mindmaps in disguise which help narrow down the main themes and stories. When I jot things down in journals (usually scrapbooks), I usually use coloured felts as I find it easier to scribble fast, plus the colours have symbolism.
The page above says: 'remove sigma mental health issues autism etc. "You can't stop us" Hanson rung L showcase buskers (?) etc non-professional artists & musicians (amateurs) "unknowns" people waiting for support mental health services'
This apparent nonsense was about my advocacy goals, which I did as Bipolar Courage (I've recently quit adovacy to focus on my creative expression). It was also about my art goals (I ended up having two solo art as therapy exhibitions).
The page above says: 'Pet Purpose plot rainbow bridge pets troubled waters below not bridge or arch but full spectrum circle ring paua girl Heni Little Larissa Alexandria Braveheart Golden heart paua core' (some visual symbols are included).
This apparent nonsense is actually some of the themes, ideas and characters in my novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. Trying out character names too. I decided on Heni and Alexandria but chose different surnames.
I did a search of the ebook and have included a few extracts below that directly relate to the note above. One of the main themes was grief, which included pet grief. The story is inspired by my experiences (grief tangled with trauma plus a mood disorder), which have been pulled apart and reassembled to form an original and creative story. The focus is not on the trauma but rather how the character tries to resolve the past.
A free preview of the first few chapters is on Amazon.
Sample from chapter 1: No Rainbow Bridge
Now, those extracts sound more coherent, don't they? That's the difference between hypomania writing and mania writing (the loose associations and links with the scribbles). I wove symbolism and links throughout, in complex layers. Loose associations are pathologised but I actually use them as part of my creative process.
The story was written out of order, in hypomania episodes (moderately elevated mood). Then timelined, organised into chapters, rewritten to flow. Rearranging sections takes ages. Then a big cull of tens of thousands of words to condense into a book. No one can tell that this was all part of the process, including all the messy scribbles and all the paintings. It took me 7 years, with my disabilities to complete this project.
I changed the way I journal and I have a few dozen more journals with apparently rubbish scribbles in them that actually help me to both process and to use later creatively in my storytelling.
My big goal this year is to self-publish my second memoir, Bipolar Courage: are you sure you're not autistic? It's a massive project, even though I already know what the story is. It's a matter of what I chose to filter to reveal or cull. I'm up to a third pretty much full rewrite of it, even though the chapters are pretty much decided now. One of the reasons my book projects take so long is that I am doing a lot of processing while working on them. Not everything I process will go into it.
I'm aiming for it to be an entertaining story, a bit of a contrast from the intensity of my first two books.