I just finished reading the manuscript for my 2nd-year college roommate’s first completed novel, a young adult fiction called A World of Light.  I don’t know what to think of it, I’m no critic.  I think it’s definitely a novel that would have appealed to her when she was around the target age.  It’s smart, it doesn’t talk down to the reader.  It’s a little vague on some points and I think clarifying them would make it a stronger story.  It could certainly make it about more than just hereditary mental illness.  Is that what it’s about?

All I know is that reading this story flashed me back, waay back to times I have tried to forget, so much so that I have forgotten trying to forget them.

Early in my experience of depression I began reading stories about mental illness.  The “fun” kind (from my perspective), the kind where you are in an institution and the people around you all seem imaginary because you have created this rich, inescapable world in your insanity.  I specifically remember a novel called I Never Promised You a Rose Garden about a young woman whose story met that description.

I started writing my own story, pouring my loneliness, my angst — the angst of middle school mingled with the angst of deepening depression that I truly did not understand — my desire to escape, all into a story about a girl my age named Lily who had a “refuge” in her head.  I think she fell into a coma-like state when visiting this refuge.  I think there was another character, a Temptor, encouraging her to spend more and more time out of reality and in “the Area.”

I still had the unfinished, handwritten manuscript up until a few years ago.  It was boxed with years of spiral-bound journals and other attempts and writing fiction or poetry.  I finally threw them all away when I started dating a boy who suggested that keeping them around, referring back to them might not be the healthiest thing.  It was hard to do.  And now, flooded with the memories of a young me, terrified, lonely, confused and terribly depressed, writing this story because I had no real escape of my own, I almost wish I had access to that manuscript.  At the same time I recognize, having reread old journals many times, that going back to those times can throw me back into those feelings, can confuse and strain my slightly-better-adjusted psyche.

Tonight I’m listening to my “instrumentals” playlist.  My favorite tracks are “Yumeji’s theme” from In the Mood for Love and the second movement from Beethoven’s 7th symphony: the Allegretto, used as the main theme for the movie The Fall.  I think feeling a little sadness, mourning a little for the little girl that I was, is a good thing.  Forgetting about her entirely will not do either of us any good.  And if I can embrace her now, she may yet grow into a secure self.

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