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Marie Wilson

Canadian author Marie Wilson’s first novel entitled “The Gorgeous Girls” has been called “erotica for the thinking woman” by its publisher HarperCollins. In Marie's words, the book - released in April 2013 - examines the lives of three women, “all disciples of the legendary Dorothy Parker, who meet regularly for drinks to dish on their romantic and sexual exploits.”

Marie explained that the novel was based on a series of articles that she’d previously written for Toronto’s NOW Magazine: “The editor and co-owner Alice Klein had contacted me about a new feature she was starting called Love and Sex – which would later become Naked City… I told her I had a rambling draft about three women who hang out and talk about sex – and love. She told me to send it along. From that draft, she extracted three stories for publication. So my Gorgeous Girls - Rose, Wanda and Constance - kicked off the feature…”

Marie’s contributions to NOW Magazine struck a chord with readers in Toronto. Encouraged by the popularity of her articles, Marie took on the challenge of writing a novel based on the amorous adventures of her three feisty protagonists: “Over coffee with a friend I was discussing a novel I’d been working on. I joked that I should put vampires in it if I wanted it to sell. My friend said, “Or sex.” This notion along with my partner Aaron’s idea that I should write a novel full of sex - because my articles had been so popular - gave me the idea to use those articles as the basis for a novel. It was a natural leap to weave it all together, including new material, into a novel. The articles were written over a period of two or three years, but it took me another year to write the additional material and then pull it all together.”

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Marie told me that she grew up in an environment in which she had considerable freedom: “I was an imaginative kid who was given a lot of free rein. My parents seemed to trust that process - or, because I was the last of their four kids, they just didn’t have time to interfere with my life. I didn’t like school much; it put blinders on my imagination. I did not like getting up so early in the morning only to be confined to a desk where I had to contain my natural excitement for being alive. This felt like torture to me! I preferred writing and painting and putting on plays in my basement.”

“When I was nine, I created an “office” in this little space beneath our basement stairs. I had a tiny table and a chair and a pen and some paper. And there I worked on my autobiography and a few stories about witches. I loved stories about witches and these conjurers figured in my autobiography as well. I always felt a magical connection to nature, and certain things within that realm spoke to me of mysteries beyond. The wind, the moon, the stars. At night there was a sense of something beyond the work-a-day world where you had to wake up before you were done dreaming…”

“High school offered some exposure to art and also fashion opportunities - creating what I would wear to school was a highlight of my day - and there was drama club. I was a born ham. But for the most part, the best thing I learned in school was to type.”

“I went on to university but I wanted to experience the real world, so I moved from Vancouver to Toronto to pursue a life in theatre. It didn’t pay, though, so I did a lot of different jobs: waitress, flower vendor, ballroom dance instructor, nanny, answering service operator. Later, when I had kids, acting wasn’t a practical profession for me and I started writing more.” Marie explained: “Acting often requires that you be away from home and family and ready to work long hours, sometimes without notice. If it’s a film, there’s money at stake for the production company and everything rides on your being able to stay on and finish the scene. Even in the case of theatre, I preferred to be there for my kids’ bedtimes. This became even more important once I became a single mother.”

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Marie told me that she usually takes on more than one project at a time: “I work on all kinds of things at once until one of them takes over. If there’s outside interest in the novel, I go full throttle on that. If I’m contacted to write an article, I’m full throttle on that. Same with if I have a short story competition deadline.” Marie described her creative process as follows: “I take the first idea or image or thought that comes to me and I write. I don’t stop to think about what I’m writing. I let it flow and then later I read it and see what’s interesting or what hangs together as a story. Then I do a lot of rewriting. A lot.”

Marie explained that writing allows her to be creative: “I love creating, and with writing you don’t need much in the way of materials or space. Dancing is another art form that requires few external things. Dancing is like writing with your body. I like dancing too.”

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Marie told me that she found her agent in a bar: “Aaron and I knew Peter from our mutual watering hole The Auld Spot. He was often seated at the end of the bar and we chatted with him in passing. And then Peter became the agent to our friend Bev Stone. He found a publisher for her novel ‘No Beautiful Shore.’ When my work was done he seemed a natural to ask about representation.”

Referred to HarperCollins through her agent, Marie described the publishing process as follows: “The editing process was fun, just a back and forth between the editor and me. She rarely balked at my suggestions, while I often balked at hers. But both she and my publisher assured me I had final say on the writing/editing decisions, which was cool. My publisher is a stalwart of Canadian publishing. He’s a great guy - he took a chance on me.”

As a writer, Marie has enlisted the support of her partner to help with the work of promoting her novel: “My publisher has done no promoting. I do some but my partner Aaron Schwartz does the most. He has been tireless in getting my book out there. Aaron is a talented artist in his own right and he’s my hero.”

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Marie told me that she is influenced and inspired by the work of Marguerite Duras, William Burroughs, and F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Marguerite Duras because her writing is powerful and mysterious; Bill Burroughs for his innovation and sheer guts; F. Scott Fitzgerald because his writing was both enchanting and real.” Her favorite novels? “Right now it’s a tie between ‘The Ravishing of Lol Stein’ by Marguerite Duras and ‘Oscar and Lucinda’ by Peter Carey. Also ‘The Great Gatsby’ is always at the top of my list. All these books spin stories that convey the mystery and magic of living and loving and dying.”

Despite her work as a novelist, Marie prefers writing screenplays: “Movies are my lifeblood, and while I find writing them much harder than writing stories or novels, the moving picture is where my passion lies… No, I don’t find novel writing to be limiting. In fact, screenplays are more limiting because you’re writing for another medium. You can’t just say what you want to say. You have to paint a picture for the screen. It’s merely my love of cinema that has me preferring to write screenplays. I am working on a screenplay right now. It’s my “monster in a box.” I’ve been at it for a long time!”

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Marie describes a typical day as follows: “I wake up, recall my dreams, then have coffee while gazing out the window at my little community: kids playing, gardeners digging. Toast and fruit for breakfast. I do some dishes and maybe the laundry. By early afternoon I’m off to walk our dog Nixie. The dog park is rife with wagging tails and wagging tongues and so I watch the pooches play and catch up on local news. Back at home I sit in my sunroom to write, sometimes with pen, sometimes with laptop, often with an old flick playing in the background. When writing threatens to exasperate or overwhelm me, I look out the window or at the TV screen. There’s always something there to catapult me out of the hole.”

“Late afternoon I head out to get groceries and run other errands. When the groceries get delivered I make something healthy for my teenager to eat; she’s in a band and keeps different hours from me. Then I take a short walk to my community centre where I do some work with the youth group I’ve started: hanging photos, clearing a room to create a recording studio.”

“Back at the apartment, I make a late dinner - or Aaron does - and we eat while watching Jeopardy. Afterwards I like to write while drinking a glass of champagne mixed with a soupcon of Magic Hour’s blackberry/lavender cordial. This is also a time to check Facebook to see what my other two progeny are up to; one’s a visual artist, the other a stand-up comedian. Both bartend to make ends meet. If I have time I watch a movie, if not I do a little reading. When I finally hit the hay, I have my laptop with me for last thoughts.”

“Writing fits in everywhere in my day. If I’m not on the computer or jotting in my notebook then it’s happening in my head or through my senses. Everything I do and see and smell and hear and touch and feel is a potential story or scene or shot.”

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Marie is currently working on her second novel – a visual work that integrates both narrative and photography: “It’s called ‘Walter Kist and the Seven Whorls’ and it’s about this private eye whose real passion is photography. Walter Kist is a young man who shoots from the hip and speaks from the heart. It’s a visual novel, which means photos tell part of the story. Ultimately it’s a love story.”

Marie’s advice to writers who are just starting out: “Write all the time. Do not give up.”

For more information about Marie's work, please go to http://www.mariewilson.ca/

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Image Credit: Aaron Schwartz


Marie Wilson was born to a paint merchant and an Olympic runner in Vancouver. After studying painting and theatre, she moved to Toronto where she appeared on some of the city’s best stages. Her writing has appeared in a variety of magazines and newspapers, including NOW and The Globe and Mail. She’s had handful of good reviews, found love, birthed three geniuses, and has recently written an erotic novel called The Gorgeous Girls, currently ranked #1 by www.harpercollins.ca

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Lady

by Marie Wilson

When we reach Anarchist Peak, my mother pulls over and stops the car. The view of the Okanagan Valley is magnificent, but that’s not what we’re here for. My mother reaches beneath her seat and pulls out a twenty-sixer of rye and a small bottle of 7 Up. As she pours herself a drink, she asks if I want one. I’m seventeen years old. I have driven her metallic-blue Ford half the way on this eight hour trip. While she drove the other half, I propped my bare feet on the dashboard and belted out the latest Leonard Cohen tunes: Like a drunk in a midnight choir/I have tried in my way to be free… Although we still have some notorious hairpin curves to negotiate before we reach her farm, I accept a drink. It is my mother’s version of a rite of passage for her daughter. We toast the success of our drive through the winding heights and steep descents of the Crowsnest Highway. My mother downs the last of her highway highball, then starts up the engine for the final stretch. I sip the strong liquor and wonder if they named Anarchist Mountain for my mom. In the Vancouver press she was once known as the Lady in Red and the Speed Queen. But despite the sound of those monikers, she was no shady lady strung out on bennies. Her other newspaper nickname was Queen of the Cinder Track. Yes, my mom was once a track and field star. And she wore red track suits. At sixteen she was deemed Olympic material and sent to Toronto to compete for entry into the games that were to be held in Berlin that year. But when wind of Hitler’s anti-Semitic rule swept the nation, my mom knew she would never get her stab at the gold. Like so many others, her coach boycotted the ‘36 Olympiad. Years later when the story of my mom’s kiboshed shot at international fame had become legend in our household, the only Speed Queen around was the washer on our porch where she did the laundry for her husband and four children. She was still the Lady in Red though: her lipstick, crimson to go with her black-as-night hair, and in winter her red toque. But perhaps more evocative of that sobriquet in the late 50s was her clandestine sexual life. She had an affair. My friend down the road from us had a good Catholic mother who was always in the kitchen. While she was in her apron whipping up strawberry shortcake, my mom was out drinking rye and seven in her high heels and pencil skirts. Not that my mom hadn’t ever made Jell-O or cookies. When I was little she’d baked with the best of them, and I can still remember rushing home after school to sink my teeth into a warm butter tart, fresh out of her oven. But when I (her youngest) was old enough to take care of myself, my mother got her real estate licence and was off travelling Vancouver Island, listing houses and showing properties - and much more, as it turned out, for this is when her cheating began. In one of our home movies my mother smashes a sledgehammer into a wall and laughs. So began our kitchen renovations: new pine cupboards, stainless steel sinks, a garburator. Just months after its completion, my father would discover her infidelity. She may just as well have taken that sledgehammer to his heart. My dad left, never to see my mother again. Nor did he ever mention her to us, except once when out of the blue he noted that “the man who broke up my marriage was named Jeb and the man your mother ended up with is named Seb”. In time I would see that this observation of rhyming names contained all the bewilderment he felt over the loss of his bride. Following the divorce, my mother took my sister and me on a road trip through B.C.’s interior. We stopped in little towns where I bought souvenirs: a pocket knife from Revelstoke, a pennant flag from Golden. The Ookpik purchased in Olalla snuggled with me that same night on a Winnipeg couch in a Keremeos motel. When I search my memory for that defining mother-daughter moment, the one story that describes our relationship, some words of motherly wisdom she left me with, I come up blank. There was no day when she revealed her dreams to me or let me in on her secrets. But I can still hear her voice, deep and soothing, and her laughter. I wonder now about her extraordinarily wacky sense of humour. Was that part of the “drinking problem” I later learned of? Was she impaired half the time? Or half-cut all the time? Was she authentically loopy or just looped? Though I never heard her slur words or saw her tip over, I understood as I grew older that she was fond of tippling. When the Bloody Caesar was invented it instantly became her drink of choice, a taste of saltchuck in a shade to match her lips. The last photo I have of her shows a woman of eighty-three, her hair still dark, her bone structure still chiselled, posing with a bobcat she’d just shot from her kitchen window. He’d been trying to get at her chickens and she took him out at a hundred yards. But the image that stays with me is one of my mother standing at the edge of the creek that ran through her farm. It’s a hot afternoon and we’re there for a dip. She is wearing her blue bathing suit. Her skin is as brown as toasted coconut and her hair is as black as ink, grey strands glinting like silver thaw in the night. She stands as tall and calm as a tree. In that moment I understand everything about her. Note: Marie Wilson has recently published a book entitled The Gorgeous Girls. For more information or to purchase a copy, please click here: http://www.harpercollins.ca/books/Gorgeous-Girls-Marie-Wilson/?isbn=9781443423946#.UX1sqvBXZBk.email

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Living Among Shadows

by David Philip Norris

Lately, I’ve been watching American author and educator John Green’s “Crash Course: World History,” a series of forty-two videos that basically covers all the world history you should have learned in high school, but probably didn’t, in about eight hours. There are a number of different courses on this particular YouTube channel, ranging from psychology to U.S. history. One of these courses is on literature, and in one video, Green discusses the poetry of Sylvia Plath. I was particularly struck by the following excerpt, in which Green addresses the tragedy of suicide: “Dear Suicide, you are a permanent response to a temporary problem, and you are a solution to nothing. I just want to say at the outset that there is nothing good or romantic about you, Suicide. You are a tragedy. You are also, in almost all cases, preventable… So, it’s very important to me whenever we talk about a writer whose life ended with suicide that we note that people survive depression—and also that Sylvia Plath wasn’t a good writer because she eventually committed suicide. In fact, her career was cut short, and I mourn all of the many wonderful books we might have had.” ***** I live in the shadow of suicide. My grandmother committed suicide in 1960. As a writer, I am aware of the corpses that litter the landscape of our profession: Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Yukio Mishima, Hunter S. Thompson, David Foster Wallace, Sarah Kane. To most, these names represent words on a page, a collection of letters and dates. But each of these human beings lived entire lives between the bookends of their birth and demise, enduring what must have felt like an eternity of bleakness and torment before finally gasping out their last breaths, whether head first in an oven or staring down the barrel of a shotgun. Up until a couple of years ago, I couldn’t fathom the idea of suicide. For one, it was—in my then Christian mind—an appalling sin, the ultimate act of rebellion against God. For another… well, I couldn’t even bring myself to prick my finger during the unit on blood type in biology class. Plus, it seemed like such a cowardly way out, an option for those who just didn’t try hard enough. Somewhere in my adolescence, probably around the time I started to become aware of my sexuality, but possibly as early as the age of eight or nine, I found myself experiencing periods of darkness. As an Evangelical, I believed that these slumps in mood had a spiritual cause. The cure was more Bible and more Jesus. It wasn’t until I took a course on psychology during my junior year in high school that I learned that my dark moods had a name: depression. And it was different from “the blues.”* ***** Most people associate depression with sadness, but it’s much more than that. In a 2013 TED Talk, writer Andrew Solomon described his downward spiral into depression: “Everything there was to do seemed like too much work. I would come home and I would see the red light flashing on my answering machine, and instead of being thrilled to hear from my friends, I would think, “What a lot of people that is to have to call back.” Or I would decide I should have lunch, and then I would think, “But I’d have to get the food out and put it on a plate and cut it up and chew it and swallow it,” and it felt to me like the Stations of the Cross.” Over the years, I’ve come to understand that depression is more than a condition. It’s fundamentally shaped how I view the world. In addition to affecting my moods, depression alters my perceptions. The smallest setbacks are magnified into megaliths of personal failure, and tiny inconveniences set me off as if they are crimes against humanity. It’s like having lenses in my eyes that pre-filter the light, dramatically changing how I see people and events. Everything is distorted, like in a funhouse mirror. When I am in a depressive state, I feel worthless. Powerless. Hopeless. Disconnected from everything and everyone in my life. Even happy moments are colored with gloom. The flavor of celebration comes across more like sand than sugar. Well-meaning friends try to cheer me up and lend support, not understanding that the problem is within, not without. At its worst, it feels as if I’m shut up in a glass box, able to see everything going on outside but unable to touch or be touched by anything or anyone. Things that would otherwise bring me joy seem gray and uninteresting. I can’t concentrate on anything. Even sex doesn’t interest me. ***** In June of 2008, just months away from my decision to finally come out as a gay man, I abruptly began having random and intense thoughts about death. While sorting my recycling one afternoon, I suddenly realized that it was almost July, which meant that the year was nearly over, which meant that I was a quarter of a century old, which meant that I was going to die someday. Gradually, thoughts of suicide began to creep in. I would think of driving my car into oncoming traffic. Slitting my wrists while working in the kitchen. Overdosing on pills I’d take for a headache. As an atheist, I have come to terms with the reality that death is merely the cessation of brain activity and that consciousness just fades. The more I struggle with the loneliness and exhaustion of dealing with the emotional minefield of my past and present, the more alluring these thoughts of suicide have become. ***** Setbacks or disappointments that might merely discourage a non-depressed person appear catastrophic and calamitous to me. For example, a few weeks ago I met a guy on OkCupid who seemed decent. We went on a date, had dinner and a wonderful talk. A few days later, we went on a second date that seemed to go equally well. After that, I heard from him less often. Then on Sunday night, he explained that his ex-boyfriend had recently contacted him, and he was pondering whether they should get back together. I asked whether he missed him. He said yes. They had been together for eighteen months before breaking up. I gave him a few days to collect his thoughts, and then texted him to ask if he’d come to any decision about whether he wanted to pursue things further. He apologized, saying that he hadn’t been ready to start dating again and really hadn’t thought things through when he first contacted me. But yes, for my sake, I should move on. Now, here’s how a normal person might view this situation: We went on two dates. It was fun, but it wasn’t meant to be. Just try again. This is how it looks to a person who is depressed: I am crushed. And disappointed. Not so much by the loss of a prospective boyfriend, but rather by a persistent and growing realization that this is how my entire dating life has gone so far, and probably will for the rest of my life—I meet a guy I like, and things might seem to go well for a bit, and then something like this happens. Rinse, repeat. So that night I made a decision—one I’ve contemplated many times over the years: “If I’m still single when I’m thirty-five, I’m going to kill myself.” Because, I reasoned, if I don’t meet anyone by then, there’s no way it will ever happen, and I don’t want to be one of those single, older gay men constantly getting passed over or used as a one-night stand. Again—that’s the depression talking. It is frightening to think that after all of the years of struggling, the idea of simply not existing, of not having to worry about anything anymore, is so comforting. Then my reason snaps into gear again, like a bucket of cold water to the face. After all, who knows what tomorrow will bring? And the day after. Maybe I’m about to meet my future husband. If I kill myself, that future will never be written. It’ll be like an O. Henry short story, where an ironic twist of fate causes two people to just miss each other at a train station. ***** Depressed people do not kill themselves simply because they are sad. Depressed people choose to end their lives because they are tired—tired of waiting for things to get better, and of listening to friends and family members tell them that it will get better if they just hold on. Tired of hurting all the time when everyone says they should be happy. Tired of the guilt of feeling like a burden or drain to everyone around them. As I write this, I am in the midst of a depressive episode that has lasted almost five months. On even the best of days, it can take an enormous amount of energy just to get out of bed in the morning. Deciding whether to leave the house or even to see a few friends is like balancing my checkbook, making sure there are enough funds in my emotional bank account to attend even a small gathering. Most days I avoid seeing people because the anxiety about what we might talk about or what we should do or what we should have for dinner is overwhelming. Even finding the energy to finish this article is exhausting. ***** The best advice I’ve received for living with chronic depression is to chart my moods and look for patterns and cycles. This helps to remind me that, no matter how bad a depressive episode seems, it will eventually come to an end. When I am depressed, I am intellectually aware of this fact, but I still find myself thinking that the present situation will last forever. No matter how much I remind myself that the light at the end of the tunnel will eventually appear, the depression is always there, casting its Edward Gorey-esque shadows over those hopeful thoughts. I see the world as it is, but also a shadowy mirror version. There’s a shadow double of everyone and everything—friends, family, strangers, billboards, television shows. Even a potential relationship that fizzled out. “Who are you kidding?” the shadows sigh, the sum of their voices drowning out the messages of the real world. “You’re holding out for a dream that might not ever come true. Your future husband or your future career could always be just beyond the next hill. Or the next one. Soon, you will be wrinkled and gray, and your whole life will have passed you by, and you’ll have nothing but white-hot regret to warm you…” It’s like having a Dementor for a roommate. ***** Over the years, I’ve learned an important lesson about depression. In the words of Andrew Solomon, “Shutting out the depression strengthens it. Talking and writing about my own depression in recent years has taken away some of its power over me, and by acknowledging it I have been able to seek out help and support to manage my dark moods when they inevitably come around." And yet, despite scientific evidence of the physiological nature of depression, there is still so much stigma in our society surrounding mental illness. We continue to stigmatize and alienate those people who are suffering from depression, who already believe that they’re alone, that no one cares, that they have no right to feel bad when they have it so good, that everyone will think they’re a failure, and that their friends will abandon them if they find out what’s going on. A few years ago, I was with a group of people, and I mentioned that I was seeing a therapist to help treat my depression. One woman exclaimed, “I’m so glad you said that! I’ve been seeing a therapist too, but wasn’t sure if I could mention that here.” I think we treat mental illness differently from other physical conditions because there’s no easy solution. And that makes many people uncomfortable. ***** In interviews, J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, has stated that the Dementors, the dark creatures that guard the wizard prison of Azkaban and feed off human happiness, were inspired by her own bouts of depression. As fans of the books and movies will recall, the only method to repel a Dementor is by way of the Patronus Charm. In the third Harry Potter book “The Prisoner of Azkaban” we learn that this charm is cast “with an incantation, which will work only if you are concentrating, with all your might, on a single, very happy memory.” (Rowling, p. 176) As events in the story unfold, we see that the Patronus charm is a difficult one to master, and at the end of this book, thanks to a plot twist involving time travel, Harry is gifted a second chance to cast the Patronus charm to save both himself and another character. This is a scene I’ve been thinking about lately. It is a reminder to me that the Patronus charm is an elusive one, that on some days I simply won’t be able to conjure a happy memory. On these days, I know that I’ll have to call on friends and family who love and care about me to provide me with the strength I will need to hold back the darkness. It is a tremendous act of courage to call upon the people in your life for help, to tell them how you’re feeling, to defy those voices that tell you that it’s hopeless and that everyone would be better off if you were dead. Our greatest strength is each other. ***** I will close with one final quote from Andrew Solomon’s TED Talk: “The question is not so much of finding great meaning and deciding your depression has been very meaningful. It’s of seeking that meaning and thinking, when it comes again, “This will be hellish, but I will learn something from it.”” “… I think that while I hated being depressed and would hate to be depressed again, I’ve found a way to love my depression. I love it because it has forced me to find and cling to joy. I love it because each day I decide, sometimes gamely, and sometimes against the moment's reason, to cleave to the reasons for living. And that, I think, is a highly privileged rapture.” ***** *Note: Depression differs from “the blues” in one significant way: depression is persistent. Everything could be going perfectly for a person’s job, relationships, and personal life, but the ability to enjoy these things is impaired. The DSM-IV defines Major Depressive Disorder as: “Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least two weeks and at least five of the following symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, work, or other important areas of functioning almost every day.” These diagnostic criteria include symptoms like fatigue or loss of energy; feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt; diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness; recurrent thoughts of death; insomnia or sleeping too much; and diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities. Along with major depressive disorder, the American Psychiatric Association’s revised fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) outlines six other depressive disorders along with their subtypes. These include dysthymic disorder, bipolar disorder, substance-induced mood disorder, adjustment disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. From a clinical standpoint, all of these must be considered as possibilities when approaching a depression diagnosis. References: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (n.d.). Appendix D—DSM-IV-TR Mood Disorders. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved June 28, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64063 Rowling, J. (1999). Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury. Solomon, A. (2013, October 19.) Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share. http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share/ ***** Image Credit: Istockphoto/sokolovsky

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Nights So Long and Dark

by Ana Torres

Nights so long and dark Please lay me down to sleep, I’m desperate for some rest And hope my dreams are deep. Nights with shining stars In this bed, I lie awake, Though I try to close my eyes I can’t for heaven’s sake. Nights so long and dark I just can’t face the day, Let’s keep the light afar With luck, the moon will stay. Nights that just drag on My mind is all abrew, Let’s make a pot of coffee And pour a cup or two. Nights, you are not kind In these hours I am alone, There is no comfort in the dawn For what must I atone. Nights, you are my friend I know you understand That I have come to life Because you’ve held my hand. Nights so long and dark On you I can depend, But what am I to do When you try me to no end? Nights so long and dark, Please take me in your arms, Pray lay me down to sleep And soothe me with your charms. ***** For more information about Ana's work, please go to: http://amtorres070.wix.com/amtorres Image Credit: Istockphoto/MisterM

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Walled Off Island

by Jeff Musillo

Feels lame fears the maimed, stands inflamed, naked without shame, in the freezing rain, eating some dame’s candy cane. Shakes           sneezing                       hands compiles             visible                        stains No tamed pity in the pits. No dimwits              playing parlor tricks. City so boorishly sick he took a whorish pick and returned with a limp, feeling syphilitic. Cover him with felt shawls. No way around it. The toxic tropical island recently built walls. There are now 16 malls within And each hypnotic hall begins with the same song dance credit card PIN. So take a number, hide in port as banana peels fill the food court; The crowd won’t sort so hold your retort. Just find a fried                          crack, take a peek outside. Watch it. ***** Image Credit: Urbancow/Istockphoto

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A Poet's Dream

by Carlotta Hamilton

Beats broken down beyond syllables in time Staggering dreams play in seams and bold rhymes Catch the tempo, break the structure anew Formulate verse, ride the tide, taste the dew Heroic are those sounds interlaced with words In the town of speech, precision is sought To amplify all I can do to play my part. Scratch out mistakes; lie in the mouth of truth Crumple the paper in gum-wad form And cast it back into my brain, away from Paper and pen, for a while. But wait, This is a poet's dream! Pattern and piece Fragments of thought, centered and serene. Finally, something real, something true To love rhythm and verse, this is what I do! ***** Image Credit: Stacie/iStockphoto

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