Well, my career must be doing Ok because this week Matt Haig and I are going to have a conversation at Emmanuel Centre, London, this Thursday night presented by the How To: Academy. It feels like battle of the bands for who has had the worst depression. Which one of us can get more down and dirty about how black is black and how low can we go?
Part of my illness (a trigger) is when I hear I'm going to meet someone like Matt and I immediately want to look up which one of us sold more books. I have learned to hold back because if it's him, I know I'm going to get that jolt in the stomach that signifies envy and if I accumulate a lot of them, I can tip into the foothills of madness. I already accidentally saw his book has been translated into thirty languages; mine hasn't and it's already making me sick. I've learned to watch out for those jolts, like a mother hen watches out for her young. I get that jolt of acid every time I read someone else has a successful book about his or her mental illness.
Some on my list are, Prozac Nation An Unquiet Mind, Running With Scissors And of course Reasons To Stay Alive, you know who it's by because I'm going have a conversation with him on Thursday. The only one I'm not jealous of is Andrew Solomon who wrote, The Noonday Demon. He is my hero and a nailed depression in that book. When I met him my saliva dried up and I couldn't speak which is always a sign for me of respect and self-loathing. It turns out he has a flat next to me (one I never sold from years ago.) Some day I'll move back into it just to be able to knock on his door to borrow some milk but I'll need a lot more therapy before then.
I also look forward to meeting Matt Haig, even though I have to get over he's really good looking and many years younger than me. My daughter Marina is reading his book and has never read mine. She said she will read mine at a later time. I almost fainted when she told me that.
I have to admit Matt is a great writer and deserves his thirty translations; sort of. He wrote this, "Your mind is a galaxy. More dark than light. But the light makes it worthwhile. Which is to say, don't kill yourself. Even when the darkness is total. Always know that life is not still. Time is space. You are moving through that galaxy. Wait for the stars." I have to admire that and I do a little curtsey to his skill and pain.
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