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Some crazy shit going on right now at the University of Rhode Island's main campus, where Spooky's dad works. The university is (or was) on lockdown over the possibility of a shooter, though it now appears to have involved a fake gun.

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I have, in the past few months, begun to notice a number of people online taking jabs me or making dismissive comments concerning me because I do – in fact – suffer from mental illness. This isn't news, and I've never been secretive about it, despite the fact that, obviously, it's an extremely personal aspect of my life. You'll recall, for instance, the bizarre "…her mental and physical state are clearly affecting her mind..." comment (made on LJ). There have been several others. I was called "batshit insane" on Facebook, for example. Usually, I confront the person, and, usually, the comment in question is summarily erased. Anyway, as I said, yeah, it's true that I've struggled my entire life with mental illness, and, yes, it's also true that it affects what I say here, just as it affects everything I publish. Remember my explaining, here and in interviews and at cons, that both The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir are "fictionalized autobiographies"? What part of "This means that I deal on a day-to-day basis with being crazy" is so hard to understand?

I'm not going to go on and on about this. But I did want to point out that several of the people who've made these remarks are part of the same Outrage Brigade who jump artists at the drop of a hat for (usually imagined) racist and sexist and homophobic and transphobic comments, who complain about "cultural appropriation," and so forth. But, apparently, it's still okay to be snarky about those of us who are an apple short of a bushel. Not only is what they're doing inherently loathsome, but, factoring in who some of the guilty are, it points to a deep hypocrisy. Now, let's move along. That's all my breath these shitbirds are worth (and they likely weren't worth even that much). I will say this makes me even more reluctant to continue this journal.

No, I won't name names. They know who they are.

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On Monday, I wrote 1,013 words on Red Delicious. Then the sudden return of winter – in fucking April – left me a bit rattled. Yesterday I couldn't write. Instead, I went to the Athenaeum and proofed the galleys of my stories that will be appearing in Stephen Jones' forthcoming Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth. I actually have three stories in the anthology – "Fish Bride," "On the Reef," and "The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings." Oh, and yesterday my contributor's copy of Paula Guran's Weird Detectives anthology arrived; it reprints "The Maltese Unicorn."

Spooky and I are absolutely loving Season Two of The Walking Dead. I wasn't crazy about Season One, so it's come as a pleasant surprise. I thought there was nothing interesting left to be done with zombies, but I was, evidently, wrong. Also, speaking of zombies, I'm probably spending too much time playing The Secret World, but I've needed the time away from "reality" lately.

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So, come on hurt me.
I'll grow back like a starfish.
~ Antony and the Johnsons

The Drowning Girl: A Memoir has been nominated for a Locus Award in the category of Fantasy Novel.

Do You Have a Tail?
Aunt Beast

Comments

( 28 comments — Have your say! )
cucumberseed
Apr. 4th, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
The cold of this spring is starting to alarm me.
andrian6
Apr. 4th, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
I remember listening to a piece on NPR - I think it was from This American Life where a man described suffering from crippling depression, but received nothing but jeers and scorn from friends and family when he tried to seek treatment.

And then, he developed cancer. He said it was a relief - not almost a relief, but a true lifting of a weight from his shoulder - because now, everyone around him believed it was OK for him to be severely depressed.

A world where people's treatment of mental illness is so reprehensible, cancer is a better alternative is a world which deserves a good extinction level event. Or two.
nellorat
Apr. 4th, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
I have to get an icon for the living dead!

I greatly enjoy *The Walking Dead*, both comics and TV (& I like that they are different). Kirkman knows what Romero knows: many of the best ld stories are not about the ld at all but about the people--with the added symbolic weight of the ld, but primarily studies in the human characters.

As far as new things with the ld per se, most of the stuff I find most exciting is going on in fiction & goes into the minds of the ld, such as *Raising Stony Mayhall" and *Breathers*. Some movies are doing this, such as a mockumentary called *American Zombie*, but too many are just slasher films recast for a mindless horde.

And some good films do explore other areas without giving cognition and personality to the ld: have you seen Romero's *Diary of the Dead*? I found his *Survival of the Dead* a big disappointment and *Land of the Dead* uneven, but "Diary" showed to me he could indeed bring his social criticism into the '00s. (It vs. *Land* also convinced me that he really can't handle a bigger budget.)
elmocho
Apr. 4th, 2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
I thought from your link on Facebook that the Outrage Brigade was coming after you for daring to be snarky about mental illness.

One of the things I really liked about The Drowning Girl was the refusal to be pollyanna about mental illness. I've family with personality disorders, and I have had average-issue dystrophy spiking into major depressive episodes, but I honestly can't abide some of the relentless enforced cheerfulness of those treating it: It's like they've moved to more correct paradigms, so the old ones can't have any validity, and are seen as a symptom of, rather than an observation on, the illness.
dipsomaniac
Apr. 4th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
though it now appears to have involved a fake gun

Damn. Glad to hear it wasn't much worse. Where I live we just narrowly avoided a massacre at the university. The man ended up taking his own life at the last minute instead of going on a rampage with his stockpiled weapons.

As for the people taking jabs and making dismissive comments, fuck them. Why the fuck do you even care what they say?
greygirlbeast
Apr. 4th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)

Why the fuck do you even care what they say?

Because – though I understand how stupid this is – it hurts.
ladyblue56
Apr. 8th, 2013 07:03 am (UTC)
Fuck. I am saddened and angry to read there is bullshit snarking going on at your expense. Even if it is stupid, it hurts because is personal and lobbed right at us.

You need to do what is best for you but damn the shitheads - their cruelty also costs the ones of us who are decent and will miss reading your entries.

I wish you the best.
kendare_blake
Apr. 4th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
Scary news about the University. Scary, but not surprising. Unfortunately.

Wanted to tell you how much I'm looking forward to The Ape's Wife. Subpress makes beautiful books, and since I still don't have a Sirenia Digest subscription, the collections help me feel like I'm not missing out on quite so much. Please keep them coming. And thank you, for all this good stuff.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 4th, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC)

Wanted to tell you how much I'm looking forward to The Ape's Wife. Subpress makes beautiful books, and since I still don't have a Sirenia Digest subscription, the collections help me feel like I'm not missing out on quite so much. Please keep them coming. And thank you, for all this good stuff.

Glad you're excited about it. I think about a quarter of the book is Sirenia Digest reprints. Really a lot of stuff from anthologies this time.
martianmooncrab
Apr. 4th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
everyone is a tad bit crazy in my book, some folks just deal with it better than others. Or are better medicated.

I admire your honesty.
grinkat
Apr. 4th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
Why the fuck do you even care what they say?

Because – though I understand how stupid this is – it hurts.

I can relate, to a degree. My wife is bi-polar, clinically depressed and has a touch of schizophrenia - her colorful daily cocktail of meds is a sight to behold. I've been married to this woman for over 25 years now; together, we've been through the "episodes", the hospital visits and the institutional stays. I've seen how brutal people can be about these things...she's lost friends, jobs...but, through it all, she knows she's got someone who loves her as a person, and is not afraid of the diagnosis. Know that you, too, have people amongst the hateful, small-minded trolls out there that understand, and though we may not know you personally, we support you and are thankful for the stories you give us.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 4th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)

her colorful daily cocktail of meds is a sight to behold.

I have a whole candy store.
mattbean
Apr. 4th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
Some of us draw strength from your writing. I've struggled with mental illness for 15 years. I'm OK at the minute but when I have been at my worst your writing has spoken to me. No false cheerfulness or unwarranted optimism but far more of a comfort than those things could ever be. Deep in the darkness, I am reassured that I am not alone.
Katarina Alysia Unland
Apr. 4th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
People really don't even know anything about mental illnesses. My coworker was outside one time and was shaking strangely from the cold and said "I feel like a schizophrenic!" I blinked in confusion. I am schizophrenic, but I looked at her and said "What is schizophrenia?" She replied, "Um.. I dunno, or..is shaking without control Alzheimers? Or am I mistaking it for Autism?" I informed her she was an idiot. But what I have found is most people don't know a damned thing about mental illnesses; It took me 3 hours to explain two little things about one "disorder" to my mom and she still didn't understand it.
elsewhereangel
Apr. 4th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
Entirely too long comment.
Part of the reason I love The Drowning Girl and The Red Tree so much is because of the way they deal with mental illness. Have you ever read Roy Porter's Madness: A brief history? It really is fantastic. In exploring history the shifting but constant mutations of fear are exposed.

Do you know when Weirder Shadows is going pre-order?

Do you find "a person w/ leprosy" or "a leper" preferable? I'm ok with being defined as a member of my disease because I do feel that it defines me to some degree. I know it's a personal thing but I'm just curious.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 4th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Entirely too long comment.

Do you find "a person w/ leprosy" or "a leper" preferable? I'm ok with being defined as a member of my disease because I do feel that it defines me to some degree. I know it's a personal thing but I'm just curious.

Well, I don't have leprosy, but leper works for me. Lunatic also works for me. It's not an insult, unless someone uses it as a rock to hurl. I usually find humor in the words that have been used, down through the ages, to describe insanity. They're fine, and I'm not afraid of them anymore.
elsewhereangel
Apr. 5th, 2013 01:39 am (UTC)
Re: Entirely too long comment.
Thank you for such an honest and direct answer.

(I'm not actually a leper either, I'm just too chickenshit to discuss what I've got in such an open place.)
setsuled
Apr. 5th, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
Someone said your mental state is affecting your mind? I guess that's like, "Long Cat is long."

people who've made these remarks are part of the same Outrage Brigade who jump artists at the drop of a hat for (usually imagined) racist and sexist and homophobic and transphobic comments, who complain about "cultural appropriation," and so forth.

The irony there, of course, is that calling out racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia is supposed to be done in the name of promoting tolerance and acceptance, but the people doing it too often seem far more concerned with winning a conflict than honouring and nurturing compassion. It's in the widespread use of snark, particularly, not just about mental illness, because snark is so much about keeping things within the tribe and admitting no-one who's not hip to selected points of view. In light of the widespread ignorance of or intellectual curiosity about mental illness, it doesn't surprise me people recklessly blunder into being assholes.
Alex Bell
Apr. 5th, 2013 01:30 am (UTC)
People are ridiculous.
Although it's totally commonplace on the internet and has been for a while, it always amazes me that adults will go out of their way to make snide comments. To someone they don't know. I just want to pat you on the head, politely kiss your horns, and say, shaking my head, "Ah, the humans... It is part of their nature to be this way." And then charm you with an amusing anecdote about the atrocious behavior of one of my past paramours.
alumiere
Apr. 5th, 2013 04:13 am (UTC)
No tail, sadly.

Congrats on the Locus nomination. That's one I can actually vote for, and I plan to.
alumiere
Apr. 5th, 2013 04:20 am (UTC)
As for the online stabs, it sucks. It amazes me that people think it's even remotely okay. Gah - frustrated with everything today.
shaula82
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:38 am (UTC)
My own current mental state compels me to say: people are fucks. You should, as much as possible, carry on with your excellent work.
harrietbrown
Apr. 5th, 2013 06:50 am (UTC)
"…her mental and physical state are clearly affecting her mind..."
That's weird ... do they think your "mental state" is somehow separate from your "mind"? I am confused (so are they, apparently).

I totally understand what it's like to be targeted because of a mental illness, since I have one. Even before I was diagnosed, people always hurled insults like "crazy" at me. I developed a tough skin, but sometimes the deviousness which people can employ when trying to hurt other people astounds me. I mean really, criticizing people for not being "politically correct" and then stigmatizing someone with a diagnosis? That's stupid and cruel in my book.

Now you've made me curious to read "The Drowning Girl." Can I get it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon? Unfortunately, my borough of NYC lost its last independent bookstore last year, and the only bookstore left is B&N.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 5th, 2013 02:19 pm (UTC)
Re: "…her mental and physical state are clearly affecting her mind..."

All of my novels are available through Amazon. Bookstores are nice, book these days...alas, often hard to find.
Scott Connors
Apr. 5th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
It sickens me that there are still people ignorant enough to use your openness about your condition against you. If someone tried to marginalize you because of MS or cancer or TB, we would rightly condemn them for the bigots they are. Unfortunately, as a psych nurse I am all too aware of the stigma that still adheres to a mental health diagnosis, including (alas!) among other health "professionals" (if I had a buck for every ER horror story I've heard from my clients, I could buy my own island). You have harnessed your pain into making the world a better and more wonderful place; this makes you superior to those nattering nabobs of negativism (hey, Agnew could occassionally get something right!)
kiki60
Apr. 5th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
Dr. Nassir Ghaemi's book "A First-Rate Madness" is extremely unpopular in some circles. Apparently, so called normal people are as useful as a glass hammer in times of crisis. The hardship endured by the mentally ill not only toughens them, but gives them a clearer understanding of reality. No one wants to hear that World War Two was won by a bunch of homosexuals, mental ill and societies rejects. Furthermore, the German SS were mentally sound golden boys, who just happened to be morally retarded. The road to success is traveled by the morally blind. Good book, a must read.
Scott Connors
Apr. 6th, 2013 01:12 am (UTC)
The SS were mentally sound?! Have you ever read about how Reinhardt Heydrich, number two in that organization, aka "The Hangman" and "The Butcher of Prague," used to shoot at his reflection in the mirror and then go crawling through the lowest dives in Berlin...I say again, _Berlin?!_ There were quite a few people wearing the Siegrunen who had serious mental health issues--about on a par with those in the SOE and OSS. Still, the basic point about neurotypicals not being as flexible or adaptable is not without its merits.
kiki60
Apr. 6th, 2013 05:18 pm (UTC)
The Banality of Evil
Hannah Arendt in her 1963 book "The Banality of Evil" argued that the great evils of history are not done by sociopaths,extremist or criminals, but ordinary people doing their job. "I just did what I was told" was the excuse used most of people who participated in Nazi war crimes.
R.J. Rummel in his book "Democide" first figured that 100 million unarmed civilians were murdered between 1900-1990. Since then he has up the figure to 260 million people. I'm sure a few the people who did this killing were insane, but most were just doing their job.
A couple of years ago China sent some financial aid to Zimbabwe. This financial aid consisted of a million machine guns, and billion rounds of ammunition. The dock workers refused to unload this financial aid in South Africa. These dock workers refused to be part of the mass murder going on in Zimbabwe. I do my best not to buy junk from China, because often it is made with slave labor. I've got to stop talking about this stuff,it not health.
( 28 comments — Have your say! )