Week Sixty-Two

My Favorite Bit of Information From The Week:

This week has been another difficult one for me depression wise, it is challenging to focus and be productive in a deep way. When I have these low weeks I find it incredibly inspiring to find other artists who deal with the same demons. It reminds me I am not alone and also helps me to communicate what I am going through when I don’t have the energy or stamina to express it myself.This week, I share two artists with you whose voices have made me feel seen and known. I hope they do the same for you, or perhaps give a voice to someone you love who struggles with mental illness as well.

My Depression The Up And Down Of It: Oh my god, please watch this enchanting and educational 30 minute cartoon! This delightful animation is based on the book “My Depression, A Picture Book”- both written by Elizabeth Swados. The cartoon is (in my opinion) extremely cathartic if you deal with depression, and very educational and heart warming if you don’t. I highly recommend watching it for free on Amazon Prime, if you don’t have access to Prime you can also purchase it for five dollars on Amazon. 

Brief Breakdown: Famed Broadway writer, director and composer Elizabeth Swados has struggled with depression her whole life. In My Depression (The Up and Down of It), she shares her experiences with this often-misunderstood condition to make a difficult and sometimes taboo topic more accessible and understandable. Based on Swados’ graphic memoir My Depression: A Picture Book, and featuring the voices of Sigourney Weaver (as Swados), Steve Buscemi, Fred Armisen and Dan Fogler.   

Jane Kenyon’s Having It Out With Melancholy:
In this Poem Kenyon talks about her journey with the ups and downs of depression. It resonated as very close to my experience. The finding peace, and yet knowing that depression has waves that might come back to find you. Maria Popova (one of my favorite bloggers) commissioned Amanda Palmer to read the poem aloud for one of her Brain Pickings Posts. I loved listening to it while reading the poem, it highlighted the text in a deeper way for me. 

by Jane Kenyon          

If many remedies are prescribed
for an illness, you may be certain  that the illness has no cure.          
          The Cherry Orchard1     FROM THE NURSERY

When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery,
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore.And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad — even the yellow
wooden beads that slid and spun
along a spindle on my crib.You taught me to exist without gratitude.
You ruined my manners toward God:
“We’re here simply to wait for death;
the pleasures of earth are overrated.”I only appeared to belong to my mother,
to live among blocks and cotton undershirts
with snaps; among red tin lunch boxes
and report cards in ugly brown slipcases.
I was already yours — the anti-urge,
the mutilator of souls.2     BOTTLESElavil, Ludiomil, Doxepin,
Norpramin, Prozac, Lithium, Xanax,
Wellbutrin, Parnate, Nardil, Zoloft.
The coated ones smell sweet or have
no smell; the powdery ones smell
like the chemistry lab at school
that made me hold my breath.3     SUGGESTION FROM A FRIENDYou wouldn’t be so depressed
if you really believed in God.4     OFTENOften I go to bed as soon after dinner
as seems adult
(I mean I try to wait for dark)
in order to push away
from the massive pain in sleep’s
frail wicker coracle.5     ONCE THERE WAS LIGHTOnce, in my early thirties, I saw
that I was a speck of light in the great
river of light that undulates through time.I was floating with the whole
human family. We were all colors—those
who are living now, those who have died,
those who are not yet born. For a fewmoments I floated, completely calm,
and I no longer hated having to exist.Like a crow who smells hot blood
you came flying to pull me out
of the glowing stream.
“I’ll hold you up. I never let my dear
ones drown!” After that, I wept for days.6     IN AND OUTThe dog searches until he finds me
upstairs, lies down with a clatter
of elbows, puts his head on my foot.Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life — in and out, in
and out; a pause, a long sigh….7     PARDONA piece of burned meat
wears my clothes, speaks
in my voice, dispatches obligations
haltingly, or not at all.
It is tired of trying
to be stouthearted, tired
beyond measure.We move on to the monoamine
oxidase inhibitors. Day and night
I feel as if I had drunk six cups
of coffee, but the pain stops
abruptly. With the wonder
and bitterness of someone pardoned
for a crime she did not commit
I come back to marriage and friends,
to pink fringed hollyhocks; come back
to my desk, books, and chair.8     CREDOPharmaceutical wonders are at work
but I believe only in this moment
of well-being. Unholy ghost,
you are certain to come again.Coarse, mean, you’ll put your feet
on the coffee table, lean back,
and turn me into someone who can’t
take the trouble to speak; someone
who can’t sleep, or who does nothing
but sleep; can’t read, or call
for an appointment for help.There is nothing I can do
against your coming.
When I awake, I am still with thee.9     WOOD THRUSHHigh on Nardil and June light
I wake at four,
waiting greedily for the first
note of the wood thrush. Easeful air
presses through the screen
with the wild, complex song
of the bird, and I am overcomeby ordinary contentment.
What hurt me so terribly
all my life until this moment?
How I love the small, swiftly
beating heart of the bird
singing in the great maples;
its bright, unequivocal eye.

Update On My Show:

Nasty, Brutish, & Short!

One Woman Hamlet will be performing at Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret on March 16th! I will be performing the Gertrude and Hamlet scene from act three with a twist!

This is an excellent way to support One Woman Hamlet while also supporting other amazing puppeteers from around the city!

Tickets and more information can be found on Rough House Theater’s Website. Rough House is an incredible puppet based company in Chicago, they are worth investigating whether you are free for the Cabaret or no.

I would also recommend accessing the Facebook group for more information


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