Q: Was it as difficult to put such personal information into a book?
A: Writing is solitary business. It’s me and a notebook/pen/computer in my house, a café, or library (actually, right now I am sitting on my stoop with my computer). It’s me and the words. So when I was writing I Don’t Want to Be Crazy, it still felt very private. As the book got closer to being finished and eventually published, the fact that I was putting myself out there became more real. But for the most part, I knew that what I was doing was going to help people, and I just had to take a deep breath and remind myself of that.
Q: Do you think it was harder to tell I Don’t Want to Be Crazy in verse than it would have been prose?
A: No matter what, I knew writing I Don’t Want to Be Crazy was going to be hard. I was doing a lot of digging into a very hard time in my life. Rereading my journals, interviewing friends, and getting files from my doctors brought up a lot of stuff for me. At first all that research made me very anxious (I remember having a hard time sleeping when I first started rereading my journals), but once I was able to realize how much better my life was now, I was able to dig in and start the writing process.
I suppose writing in verse has both pros and cons. It allows you to pick and choose moments, strip things away, really hone in . . . which can make things easier to digest, but all that focus can also make it more intense — more painful.
Q: Do you get intense fan mail about this book?
A: The most repeated phrase in the fan mail I get is, “Your story made me feel less alone.” People are touched and comforted by my story. And in return, they often share their story with me. So I created www.youmakemefeellessalone.blogspot.com as a place for people to share their stories with the public. That way, their story can make someone feel less alone, too.