As we come to the end of 2017, I look ahead to 2018 knowing that this year is going to push me well out of my comfort zone with the the release of my next book: To Lose the Madness: Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity. Unlike other books in my library, I wrote To Lose the Madness with absolutely no intention of sharing it with others. I wrote this essay and presented it for an advance narrative nonfiction course at Harvard as a way to “process” a period in my life of severe mental strain following a gauntlet of trauma events, including the miscarriage of twins. After class, people began coming up to me privately telling me their stories of suffering, lost children, and mental breakdown. It was as though my piece had given voice to this unspoken, hidden movement of wounded people around me struggling silently through each day.
This book, more than any other I have written, is a conversation starter and it is a needed conversation. So I―a notoriously private person―am going to share the story of my most difficult moments with the world. The prospect of this is both exciting and terrifying. Fear and trembling aside, I am 35-years-old, and I have come to realize that I have no answers―not one. I used to believe in answers but I don’t anymore. Instead, I have only my journey and the time has come to own it. As those closest to me learned of my intention to release this story they asked me, “Why share all this with the world? Why put this much of myself out there?” The response: Because I’m broken. We’re all broken and right now we’re all isolated within that brokenness. The cure for the loneliness is connection—connection with that broken part of ourselves and with each other—and we can’t achieve that connection while pretending we are okay. We’re not okay. My previously published works were a lotus—an expression of hope—but I knew I had yet to speak of the mud—the darkness which makes these manifestations of hope an achievement of transcendence rather than simply one of literary merit. For me, leaving the story untold wasn’t an option. I knew I would have to tell everything that had happened not only for my own process of catharsis but for what I hoped to do as an author—to help highlight how we are all moving across the same terrain and suffering the same affliction, and in that, none of us are alone. If you would like to learn more about this little book, which is due out April 10, 2018, you can visit this link: https://goo.gl/hFqVAH