Pro Se Productions announced that he was doing a benefit book for creatives and depression, I eagerly jumped on board. Sadly, like me,Tommy lost a good friend to depression, and I've documented my own struggles.
The friend was a gentleman named Logan Masterson, a fellow writer whom I only knew casually via Facebook. Even though it was easy for me to jump on board because of his passing (as well as my friend Vincent's passing), this was an easy, yet difficult, personal essay that I've ever had to write.Yet my essay for When the Shadow Sees the Sun: Creatives Surviving Depression is one of the most revealing pieces I've ever written.
Normally, when I write something long-form, I plot and plan out the scope. (I rarely do so for blog posts, and....well, you can insert your own joke here). This time, I merely did what many writers do: open up LibreOffice (or any appropriate word processing program) and begin typing away. Something like this should be easy, yet.....it wasn't.
I crack wise in real life and in print. Part of it is the usual I-want-to-keep-people-at-arm's-length dynamic that's kept me safe in certain situations. Here, I needed to treat this like a longer blog post, a way for me to share who I was in a way that was too public, too open...yet somehow could reach someone who was hurting.
It meant opening up parts of my life that, as a writer, I probably should keep hidden. It also meant possibly embarrassing myself, sabotaging my future efforts as effectively as posting inappropriate pictures on Facebook. Yet in all my time in the helping profession, as an advocate for mental health/chemical dependency services, it never dawned on me that I had a story to tell in this regard....
Writing's always been an escape, the same way alcohol, drugs, and other activities help others escape theirs. The only difference is that, if I write well, the only damage I'm doing is to fictional characters. I'll even cop to starting drama in my earlier years as a way of "fuelling" creativity.
It doesn't work.
But I'm especially proud of this piece because it not only allowed me to open up about my own struggles but also help someone across the void. My only real challenge was coming up with a clever title.
Ultimately, the title came to me in a flash and had a multitude of meanings: Blank Page.
So if you're inspired by this post, please purchase When the Shadow Sees the Sun: Creatives Surviving Depression