How To Talk To Crazy People (Second Edition – Script Format)

Donna Kakonge

PRAISE  FOR

HOW TO TALK  TO CRAZY PEOPLE

“A funny, moving, and altogether brilliant book on the challenges and peculiar insights of mental illness. Rather than simply describing a clinical condition, Donna Kakonge painstakingly evokes the complex language and thought-patterns of what she deliberately calls ‘craziness.’ The result is a book that will engage not only readers who have encountered, in personal terms, the challenges of mental illness, but also readers who wish to appreciate, in the broadest of ways, what is troubling and also beautiful about the human imagination itself.”

– David Chariandy, author of Soucouyant, Governor General’s Award finalist.

“A rare and honest account of mania, depression and psychosis…the book to read if you want to understand the suffering of mentally ill persons and the raw courage that one woman can muster. Donna struggles financially, socially, sexually, and spiritually to find peace from the minions of hell that inhabit her mind.”

– Katherine Tapley-Milton, author of Mind Full of Scorpions.

“A poignant account of what it is like to live with a severe psychiatric illness. We see it vividly from the inside and truly sense how terrifying it can be to be psychotic. It is also a story of hope and optimism about what someone can achieve despite the continual setbacks, the oh so much longer time to accomplish the things that others do with a lot less effort, the inevitable loss of friends, money and often family. This should be read by all those who work in mental health and

all those who don’t. It will give you a glimpse not of how scary it is to talk to a crazy person but how scared a crazy person is to talk to you.”

– Anna Skorzewska, Psychiatrist, University Health Network

How to Talk to Crazy People Vignettes of Sixteen Breakdowns

Second Canadian Edition

Published by Life Rattle Press and Donna Kay Kakonge, MA, ABD, Toronto, Canada

Copyright © 2018 by Donna Kakonge

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Kakonge, Donna Kay Cindy

How to talk to crazy people: vignettes of sixteen breakdowns / Donna Kakonge. (New writers series, 1200-5266)

ISBN 978-1-387-98262-2

  1. Kakonge, Donna Kay Cindy–Mental health.
  2. Manic-depressive persons–Canada–Biography. I. Title. II. Series: Life Rattle new writers series

RC516.K34 2012 362.196’8950092       C2012-905754-1

Editor: Donna Kakonge

Cover Design: Laurie Kallis

To Mom

For being the best artist I know, and the most beautiful person I know, inside and out.

To Dad

For growing into such a fantastic father, man and neighbour, and thank you for helping me to grow up, too.

CRAZY TALK?

Opening scene: It’s Cindy’s last year of high school at Stephen Leacock Collegiate in Scarborough, Ontario. Her friend Gino and Cindy sit on a bus on their way to downtown Toronto. A man boards the bus and immediately screams at the passengers standing in the bus aisle who he thinks deliberately block his path.

Gino: “He’s nine-nine-nine. He’s nine-nine-nine.

Cindy: What does that mean?”

Gino: “It means he’s crazy. He’s from 999 Queen Street (a psychiatric hospital at the time) and he’s a loon!”

Cindy sits quietly and fidgets with her hands. Cindy stares at the man’s facial tics listens intently to his babble about “spies” and “the devil coming” and “the end of the world.”

The following pages contain Cindy’s voice and her own babble through sixteen breakdowns over a five-and-a-half-year period.

Cindy asks that you please read, learn and understand what it’s truly like to live a crazy life.

ONE

  1. ST. MIKE’S HOSPITAL

(Inside of an Ambulance to St. Mike’s Hospital from Little India in Toronto): The sounds of loud whirrs, clangs and chimes force open my eyes. Cindy’s mind stirs like a dropped rag. Cindy cannot move her body. Her chest, her waist and her legs are strapped to a gurney. She’s in an ambulance. She raises her head and peers forward. Sky and hydro lines rush past. She sees the black hair of the driver beside a brown-haired person in the passenger seat. A red-haired man sits beside her.

Paramedic One: “When was the last time you ate?”

Cindy’s eyes dart to the word paramedic on his arm badge. It feels as though pricks of nail ends scratch her brain.

Paramedic One: “What is the last thing you remember?”

Cindy stares at his blue uniform.

Paramedic One: “Do you know what day it is?”

Cindy looks up at the net of first aid kits suspended above her, then shuts her eyes to block out the paramedic. The frantic movement of the ambulance comes to a stop. A pause, a jerk, and then down, lower…rush, rush, rush…to precisely where? She keeps her eyes shut and feels the gurney wheel over a smooth surface.

Stillness. Cindy is alone. Tears slip from beneath her closed eyelids. She feels a prick in her arm and opens her eyes to see a plastic and steel tower beside her. An IV is in her. A jungle of noise surrounds her.

Cindy lies on the gurney.

 Cindy lies on the gurney.

 Cindy lies on the gurney.

(Visual montage sequence in Cindy’s mind): Her mind screeches shriller than a dog and moves a whole lot faster than the fluid in the IV drip. She goes over the questions asked in the ambulance. She doesn’t remember the last time she ate, but it must have been saag paneer from her favourite restaurant around the corner from where she lives in Little India. She ate saag paneer, made of spinach and cheese curds, every day. The last thing she remembers is lying on her futon, surrounded by blood, wet and cold. She thought she was the Virgin Mary and that her stillborn baby Jesus had passed through her. It must have been menstrual blood. She must have passed out.

She knows it is October of 1995.

She looks up at the nurse’s station close to where her gurney and lies in the hallway. Even without her wire-rim glasses, she can see the calendar on the wall. It’s October 23.

(Cindy’s out loud inner monologue): “Why am I in the hospital?”

People in white and light blue uniforms rush back and forth around Cindy.

Cindy (shouting): “Why am I in the hospital?”

Hospital staff keeps rushing.

Cindy (lowering her voice): “Why am I in the hospital?”

They keep rushing.

Cindy (shouting again): “Why am I in the hospital?”

Hospital staff sprints past her. No one stops to answer her question.

After the tenth time, she feels frazzled, exhausted, worthless.

She stands up and rips the IV out of her arm. Her legs can still propel her. Wearing a light blue hospital gown, she strides through a bright red exit.

She looks around outside. She is at St. Mike’s Hospital on Queen Street. The Bay retail store is southwest. She knows she lives east. She walks in that direction.

Cindy’s (out loud inner monologue): “Evil eyes are on me. I feel rage.”

A horn honks a violent blare. Cindy panics. She glances over and sees her dad driving his orange Lada with her brother in the passenger seat. They yell.

Father and Brother (in unison): “Come inside, Cindy! Come inside!”

Cindy keeps walking, strutting; each angry, hateful step takes her towards home.

Cindy (yelling): “No!”

The tough chipped sidewalk trips Cindy up, crossing cars break er path and her dad jumps out and pushes her into his Lada.

She screams. She yells. She fights. She is back at St. Mike’s.

 

ANGELS  ON THE CEILING

Cindy (out loud inner monologue): “If I kill the doctors, can I plead insanity? They keep asking me such silly questions.”

Cindy (screaming): “How long are you going to keep me locked up here?”

Three Doctors in unison (screaming): “Until you calm down.”

Cindy (out loud inner monologue): “They will not even tell me why I am being kept locked up. All I’ve been told is that they think I’m schizophrenic. What does that mean, anyway? I spoke to Psychic Constance last Friday. She told me to write a list of all my wants and then to cut the list into squares so that each of my wants is on a separate piece of paper. “Then,” she said, “go into a meditation and burn all the pieces. This will make all your wants come true.”

(Back at Cindy’s Apartment in Little India)

It sounds like a witch’s trick to Cindy and I know that Constance is into witchcraft. Cindy decides to give it a try. She needs the supplies first, so she goes on a shopping spree. She buys a gold pen, scissors and paper, a cup to burn the pieces of paper in and a foldable wooden table with square designs. She’s left with only one hundred dollars in her bank account. Her rent is due and she has no pay cheque coming in yet.

She goes home with all this stuff and writes all of her wants on a piece of paper.

She wants a successful career as a television and radio diversity producer. She wants a beautiful man to enter her life and for them to have a deep, passionate relationship.

She wants a big, spacious, beautiful apartment with low rent, as soon as possible, with lots of privacy.

Cindy’s Spirit Guides (voices almost seeming as though they are from a loud speaker): “If you work fast, things will come fast.”

Cindy cuts her list of wants into small squares.

She turns on the stereo that she received from her mother for graduating from high school and inserts a cassette of Gregorian chants. With her new wooden table, she lights white candles with matches from her favourite Indian restaurant, then pulls out a stick of the Promised Land incense she bought at the Eaton Centre, lights the tip and softly place it in the holder. She picks up two small brass bells joined by a thin black rope, clash them together and ask for my high level guides to assist me in her meditation.

She burns the squares of paper and she meditates. She meditates for days. She does not eat. She drinks only water. She hopes to achieve a higher spiritual awareness. She wants to open up all her chakras. She wants her failing eyesight to be restored. She wants a miracle to happen, for the Creator to prove His existence to her.

 In the silence of her apartment, she lies on the futon and gently sings a line from John Lennon’s song “Imagine.”

Cindy (singing): “Imagine all of the people, living life in peace.”

She looks up at the yellow walls of my kitchen and sees a hazy figure with long whisps of hair to the shoulders and shadowy white-smoke skin. Glasses appear around holes in the smoke that look like eyes.

John Lennon (joins her and sings): “You, you may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us. And the world will live as one.”

Cindy knows that in her state of super awareness she connects to all other human beings who live as Psychic Constance does. She thinks about people like her who are free and easy, fulfilling their dreams, and who have money and independence, and still do good work that helps others.

The smoke shifts to longer spirals of hair, a slighter body and long fingers. Janis Joplin sings.

 Janis Joplin (singing):  “Oh lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.”

The smoke shifts again.

A fuller body. Hair soft and ruffled like frilly yellow panties. Half-closed eyes and full lips lean toward Cindy and say,

 Marilyn Monroe:  “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Cindy (inner monologue): “I think my eyes may roll to the back of my head.”

The smoke turns blood red. It fills her vagina, ejaculates over the walls and streams down like rain. The inner walls of her vagina bleed. She feels a push from low in her stomach to the end of her root chakra.

 By Saturday—at least I think it’s Saturday—Cindy dreams that she is sending light to a mediation meeting on the Québec referendum. The mediators come dancing in the streets to thank her for sending this light that will help keep Canada together. They want to take her out of bed and have me dance too. She believes her new network of friends and her soul mate from the CBC are among them.

 (Dream sequence): She goes to her window and talks to the crowd. The masses of people are holding her soul mate down because it’s too early to consummate our marriage. She goes outside to the balcony and sits on her meditation chair. The rush of voices from below fills her head. Naked, she opens her arms to them. She holds them in the air for three moments and then, in an instant, she places them on her lap and closes her eyes.

(Cindy, sitting in her small apartment beside her wooden table playing the tarot)

She meditates for peace and happiness. The birds chirp with Cindy just as they do on the Nine of Pentacles.

SLOW  DOWN

Cindys refuse to take the medication the new doctor prescribed once they release her. Psychic Constance told her it would make her weak.

She cannot sleep. The irregular shifts at her new job at the CBC are hard to deal with.

She can’t make herself go to work today. She calls in sick.

Cindy (one the phone with static): “Carolyn?

Carolyn:  “Yes, is this Cindy?”

Cindy (crying): “Yes. Carolyn, I feel awful. I can’t come into work.”

Silence.

Carolyn: “Cindy, that’s fine.”

Cindy (sobbing into the phone): “I’m sorry.”

Carolyn (tender voice): “Cindy, it’s fine. It is fine. Just come in when you are feeling better.”

The last thing Carolyn hears are Cindy’s sobs.

After Cindy hangs up, she crawls back into bed and falls into a fitful sleep. She wakes up later in the evening and asks her mother where she is staying at her home in Markham for the keys to her car. She drives in a manic daze to Steven and William’s house. Her friends let her crash there.

Steven cooks food for Cindy but she refuses to eat. William smokes pot with his girlfriend Sarah, while Cindy talks fast and furious about being a Ugandan princess. She asks herself and the others,

Cindy (born and raised in Canada): “Why the fuck I’m in Canada when I am a queen in Uganda.”

 

CHANGING DIAGNOSIS

Cindy’s fifth breakdown puts her back in Scarborough Grace Hospital at the end of February, 1996. The mix of lithium, risperidone and clonazepam that they force her to swallow every morning is an acidic punishment her doctor says she needs to take for life.

FREE

Cindy manages to stay well for six months without medication and without seeing a psychiatrist. In the CBC newsroom, she make friends with Rosie and Diane, who she knows from her undergraduate journalism days at Carlton University, and Mary, who she trains as an editorial assistant.

In the spring, Rosie decides she wants to spend the summer in Ottawa. She sublets her spacious one-bedroom condo to Cindy for three hundred dollars a month. It’s furnished; Cindy only needs to bring her clothes. In the Annex, just steps away from the St. George subway station, and decorated in dark green, like nature, the condo is perfect for Cindy. Her regained independence and her Sunday brunches with Diane and Casey, another new friend, make life very stable.

Despite all this, she does not enjoy her job at the CBC. It’s mundane and dull.

She needs a challenge. She make plans to go to Uganda, a country she always dreamed of returning to. She was just a baby the last time I was there and have no memories of the place. Her dad discourages the visit. He warns her she will get killed. This does not deter Cindy because he tells her this while drunk.

The only way she is going to be allowed to visit Uganda is to lie, so she tells her father that she’s going with Emily, a white friend from work. Emily really does want to go to Africa, but can’t because she doesn’t have the money.

Convinced that she is going with Emily, her father gives Cindy the money to go and sets her up with her Uncle Edward, head of the biochemistry department at Makerere University in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, to be a lecturer in the mass communications department.

She is all set to leave at the end of September, 1996, in time for the school year to start at Makerere. She will teach radio and television.

She gives her notice to the CBC just as a permanent editorial assistant position opens up, a position many people thought would be offered to Cindy. Instead, Mary, who she trained, gets the job. But that’s okay. She plans to get other work in Uganda and hope to freelance. She contacts media outlets in Toronto and buy a Hi8 camera so she can do video work.

Her friends from the CBC throw a going-away party for her, and her entire family comes to the airport to say goodbye. She flies British Airways, business class, after Cindy complains about not  getting  a window  seat.  She  boards  the  plane  in a good state  of mental  health without  medication and  without  the  care  of a psychiatrist just  by being free.

Cindy (while the plane takes off): “I’m so scared. Say if my father is right?”

 

TWO

HOW TO TALK  TO CRAZY PEOPLE

Cindy (inner monologue lying in a bedroom in Uganda): “I am shocked that my breakdown happened again. I am really surprised. I’m glad that Auntie Zeddie was able to take care of me at home. She is a doctor. When I wanted to run out of the house, she said that if people found me, they would throw me in the hospital and I would never be allowed out. Auntie Zeddie really knows how to talk to crazy people in a way I have not heard from any other doctor. She calmed me down—quick! I am blessed in many ways. My paranoia has eased up. I can truly feel myself improving. I have decided that if I’m accepted into McGill, I will only live in residence if I can’t arrange something else with my friends. I really want to do well. I am taking Haldol. It’s an antipsychotic drug with awful side effects. Even Auntie Zeddie told me that all the world’s crappy drugs are sent to Africa.”

LOADSHEDDING

load-shed-ding [lohd-shed-ing]

n .

A deliberate shutdown of electrical power in response to a situation where the demand for electricity exceeds the power supply capability of the network. This is a last-resort measure used by an electric utility company to avoid a total blackout of the power system.

Cindy (inner monologue): “Dr. Sabili put me back on Haldol and apologized only to my Auntie Zeddie. They are no longer friends. I feel quite lost. I do not want to be here. I’m thinking of going back home to Canada. Anywhere has to be better than here. I am so sick of the loadshedding—when the lights go out—and I’m sick of the dust. I just do not like it here. I’m sitting in the dark and hating it. It’s difficult to get my projects done. I did not manage to escape, after all. I need to return home. I don’t know if it’s a lack of self-motivation or something else. All I can do is pray that I will manage to complete my university application. I am beginning to wish that I was someone other than myself. I hate this life. I really want to go home.”

                   THREE

BACK TO CANADA

Two letters await Cindy at her mother’s house in Canada: an acceptance envelope from Concordia University, Cindy’s fall-back choice, that contains an invitation into their media studies program to do a master’s degree; and a rejection letter from McGill University, her first choice, that tells her they have no one in their communications department able to supervise the African studies focus of her research.

She returns to work as an evening researcher at the CBC, with Carolyn as her boss again. She understands she will work only until she moves to Montréal to attend Concordia at the end of August. She still takes the Haldol that hrt psychotherapist in Uganda prescribed. Although she’s not having dizzy spells, she lives a life of working nights and drugged-sleep days.

She lives with her mom and her sister Karen—her brother Robert has gone to live with her dad. She stays on the Haldol until she quietly makes another escape, this time to Montréal.

 

A BUCKET AND A BASIN IN THE

BASEMENT

Cindy completes the first year of her master’s studies at Concordia, living happily with a couple who are friends of mine, Diane and Alex.

When one of her short stories is published in Headlight, a student-run anthology at Concordia, she goes to the book launch with two blonde friends, Lisa and AK. She sits in the campus bar and drink Boréal blonde beer—microbrewed   in good old Québec. She talks about her hair.

Lisa: “Cindy, you talk so much about hair, why don’t you do your thesis on it?”

Cindy scrunches her eyebrows.

AK: “Yeah, Cindy.”

AK is an exchange student from Norway and she can hear some of the lilt in her voice.

AK: “You should do your thesis on hair.”

Cindy (almost shouting): “Are you two crazy? You actually think I could do my thesis on hair?”

Cindy decides to do her research on the politics of black hair. But first she want to improve her French. In April, she takes the bus from Montréal up to Chicoutimi, a Québécoise town, for a five-week French immersion program, with plans to return to Montréal, where she will complete her master’s thesis on hair.

Before she leaves, she argues with herself about what to do with her own hair. Chicoutimi is not known as a cosmopolitan centre. She hears a lot more about it being the heart of separatist politics than a hot spot for good black hair salons.

 

MICHELLE

Montage: Cindy, in hospital in Chicoutimi, friends Diane and Alex picking her up and bringing her back to Montréal with the help of financial assistance from Cindy’s father. Cindy, back in Montréal, rushing to get her thesis done by deadline and ending up at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal.

Cindy (inner monologue and writing in a journal and the words spilling over the screen of the movie): “The environment inside a hospital is hostile. I walk down the hallway on beige tiles that were once white. A Filipino nurse beside me pats my shoulder as she whispers, “This is your room.” My hospital bed, with white sheets and green flannel, awaits me. Someone on the other side of the drawn grey-striped curtain swears.”

(Cindy is interrupted from her writing)

Filipino nurse: “Get some sleep.”

Cindy closes her eyes. Her hand shake her out of her fetal position.  

Cindy’s roommate brings her face close and snarls,

Michelle: “I said, get the fuck out of here.”

Cindy (growling): “Fuck off, bitch.”

A shorter man, who also looks Italian, follows Michelle into the room. He smiles and comes right to my bedside.

Richard: “I’m sorry about all that. I’m Richard. Michelle’s brother. What is your name?”

Cindy stares into Richard’s light green eyes.

Michelle and Cindy become fast friends and she stay with her when she gets out of the hospital. Michelle devises a plan for them to go into business together. She will pay Cindy fifty thousand dollars a year and they will make music videos. For a week, Michelle keeps Cindy inside her apartment in Nôtre-Dame-de-Grace, an Anglophone suburb in Montréal, watching videos and listening to music. When they go outside, they shop. Cindy spends her own money on Michelle. When she goes to the Bonaventure Hotel and has an expensive meal, it’s on Cindy. Cindy uses er credit card and spends money she does not have.

Michelle lures Cindy into thinking she is the one to marry her brother Richard. She tells me that her medications are merely sleeping pills—so why take them?

Cindy listens to her and stops taking them. My friend from Concordia, David, who is a pharmacist, encourages me to take my medication and Michelle ends up back in the hospital. Nevertheless, in March, Cindy stops taking her medication as well.

 

THE RENT

Sitting on the bed of Cindy’s one-and-a-half room studio apartment in Montréal, she hears a knock. I peer through the peephole then open the door. Her hands go to the empty pockets of her jeans.

Cindy: “Sal, I have nothing to give you.”

Sal (shouting): “The rent is due, Cindy, today!”

Cindy: “Sal, what can I do? I have no money. I’m sorry.”

Sal (shouting): “You are already five days late. I could throw you out.” Cindy (shouting): “Then do that!”

Cindy slams the door in his face.

Sal knocks again. The panic in Cindy body forces her to lie down on her bed. The rent is two hundred and fifty dollars. She can’t afford it.

She sublets her apartment to her Ugandan cousin, Dora, who is in Canada doing her PhD in electrical engineering at McGill.

Cindy moves back to Toronto.

 

CRAZY?

Cindy (inner monologue and writing in her journal years later, twenty years older and living in one her father’s houses): “Crazy? I truly have no answer. Perhaps I am not smart enough to answer that one. Some things in life just do not have an answer. These stories are only my voice. On this March evening in 2012, I sit and listen to Janet Jackson and, after speaking with my boyfriend, I contemplate the ironies of life. I met him only recently at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, where I’m completing a PhD in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Development. He wears a gold cross I bought for him and I wear one, too—but not the same design. Mine is more feminine, with a cubic zirconia. Tomorrow  I  will  attend  my  eldest  niece’s  fifth  birthday  party.  For presents, I have a National Geographic Answer Book and a stuffed toy, a pink pig, the animal of her Chinese Zodiac year. Her little sister, my youngest niece, or “Mama Dodi” as the eldest niece calls her, turns one on Monday. Mama Dodi told me on the telephone today that she loved me. It took months for her to learn to say those words. For Mama Dodi, I have a stuffed toy too, a pale blue rabbit, the animal of her Chinese Zodiac year, a baby piano, and a book. She speaks a lot, most of it chatter that I swear I can almost understand. My mom phoned me this morning and told me a funny story about a man who tried to scam her by offering to go to her place and clean out her computer. She told him off. Afterward, I sent both my mom and my sister an invitation to attend the Royal Ontario Museum. This evening, my mom sent me an email to let me know she isn’t interested in the Mayan exhibit at the ROM because she already saw it when her sister Cecile came to town. My Aunt Cecile lives in New York and has a daughter who lives in Los Angeles. My dad lives next door to me. We smoked a quiet cigarette in our respective backyards today. A white fence divides our homes. He parks his green Dodge Caravan on one side, and I park my silver Volkswagen Golf on the other side. We get along fine now. We asked how each other was doing. He parted by saying,

Father: “I’m going inside now, too.”

It’s 9:22 p.m. Cindy can’t be late in taking her medication. She has been well, no hospitalizations for more than twenty years. She takes it once a day, at night, with tons of vitamins—five thousand milligrams of vitamin C alone. Janet Jackson moans on the stereo. She prays her boyfriend calls. She prays she passes her comprehensive exam so she can become ABD —“all but dissertation” in PhD language. She hopes to graduate soon. She works on her thesis proposal every single day, and she plans to collect data for it tomorrow.

Her brother and her exchange civil words, now, when he visits for holidays. We often talk about his work with the government.

Cindy (inner monologue): “It’s now 9:27 p.m. I need to smoke a cigarette. And I especially need to take those blasted pills as I have every day for the past twenty years, if not more. I’m happy that I at least exercised on my treadmill for an hour and got a lot of things accomplished today. In the song “Special,” Janet Jackson sings “You can’t run away from your pain…you have to learn to water your spiritual garden. In the song’s last line she sings, ‘Work in progress.’”

Cindy looks at her dissertation work on the computer screen which chronicles her mental breakdowns.

Cindy (quietly to herself insider her home office): “Amen to that.”

THE END

 

ACKOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you to Mrs Chen, my grade two teacher, for encouraging me to write.

Thank you to my dad for supporting Mrs. Chen’s efforts. Thank you also, for al- ways being there for me and being so easy to love.

Thank you to all of the professors at Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication in Ottawa, Canada, for helping me to learn how to write quickly.

Thank you to the students of Concordia University who gave me my first official publishing credit by including my short story in Headlight, a student-run anthology.

Thank you to Dr Gerald Wiviott for his encouragement after reading a very early draft of this book when it was basically an unfinished thought.

Thank you to Dr. Anna Skorzewska for encouraging me with my writing in my sessions with her during these years of sanity—almost ten and counting.

Thank you to all past and present employers who have helped me learn even more about the craft of writing and for the joy of being paid for it.

Thank you to David Goldberg and Kwai Li at OISE/University of Toronto for en- couraging me to take Professor Guy Allen’s Expressive Writing course.

Thank you to Professor Guy Allen for encouraging me with my writing and con- necting me with Laurie Kallis. Laurie—you are my “Literary Mama.”

Thank you to John Dunford for his copyediting and proofreading skills and for feeling very much like a friend through our email correspondence.

Thank you to my sister Lisa and my nieces who inspire me and show interest in what I do. Thank you, my brother, Kevin for always being there.

Thank you to my mom for listening to how I am doing just about every single day of my life and loving me probably more than I love myself.

Thank you to all of my friends who have been, and those who continue to be, part of my writing journey.

God Bless you all! Amen to that.

 

 

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