Another Brick in the Wall

Image: Flickr Creative Commons/drinks machine
Image: Flickr Creative Commons/drinks machine

In August I sent off a creative non-fiction entry to Hippocampus Magazine in response to their Remember November contest. Though it didn’t make the final five, I was thrilled to find out that Another Brick in the Wall, had made it to the semi-final round of 11 and bonus…Hippocampus wanted to publish the piece in its January issue. Which is….now! The issue went live yesterday and I am excited to share it with you.

Another Brick in the Wall is a memoir piece revolving around the year I turned 10, which not coincidentally, is the year my father was hospitalized for what is politely called a nervous breakdown. It is the foundation not only for this particular piece, but for the novel as well. Though the novel is not auto-biographical, nor is it a memoir, there is certainly a fair amount of cross-over. Case in point: there is an entire scene in the essay that was lifted complete from the first draft of the infamous ‘book’.

So if you’re interested in a sneak preview of the tone, the subject matter, the feel and weight of the still untitled ‘book’, head on over to Hippocampus and take a look.

Novel aside, I would love for you to read it, share it, like it, let me know your thoughts. Anything really. Here’s the thing about writing I’m just finding out. It’s not just writing. It turns out that writing is the easy part. There’s submitting and then promoting and then laying yourself bare to the mercy of people you don’t know. Sending out works for publication is a little like watching your kid walk to school for the first time. It’s kind of thrilling, kind of terrifying, you know it has to happen at some point and and yet at the end of the day, though it makes your own heart skip a beat or two, it really doesn’t mean much to anyone but you….

Regardless of my successes or failures, I will continue to write. But I will not tell a lie: it is always nice when other people read something I’ve put my heart and time into, when they relate to it, let me know how it affects them. Whether someone loves it or hates it, if it makes them feel something, it means I’m doing my job right.

Another reason to head on over to Hippocampus? There is some amazing work being published there. Seriously good/I wish I could write that way type of stuff. If you think non-fiction is all boring biographies or maudlin memoir, do yourself a favor and read a few pieces published in the last few issues. I guarantee you will find something to relate to or recognize or just plain enjoy.

I hope that you find something to enjoy in Another Brick in the Wall. Do yourself a favor and stick around to read a few more.

Happy New Year reading, folks!

D

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21 thoughts on “Another Brick in the Wall

  1. Avonda January 2, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    Congrats, Dina! A real accomplishment and a great way to start the new year!

    Like

  2. Charles January 2, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    Clicked thrust for a look and you pulled me right in. I wish I’d had such a teacher. (My wife might BE that teacher.) Your desriptions are great, especially the one about the completeness of mental illness and how times have changed since 1980. Your voice shines in the piece and I think it is a voice pepole will want to hear. Congrats and. Look forward to reading more.

    Like

    • dhonour January 2, 2015 / 4:10 pm

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. (And how lucky are you to be married to such a teacher?) I was lucky, I had several teachers like that throughout my education, from grade school to college. About two years ago I happened to run into Mrs. Tulemello and she was still wearing her hair in a long, gray braid. I think she’s probably in her early 80s now. I’m sure I thought she was 80 then. Thanks again, Charles. D

      Like

      • Charles January 2, 2015 / 4:19 pm

        I was on a tablet and typing was a pain. You’ve got a really well written piece there, it was a pleasure to read. I don’t read a ton in that genre but I know good writing. (For the record the bride goes really short on her hair, but she sounded like Ms T in spirit.)

        Liked by 1 person

    • dhonour January 2, 2015 / 9:54 pm

      Thank you. (I have to stop myself from thinking, Great, done now!)

      Like

  3. Donna Talarico January 2, 2015 / 11:12 pm

    Dina, congrats again and thanks for the kind words about Hippocampus. It’s work like yours that makes it what it is!

    Like

    • dhonour January 2, 2015 / 11:24 pm

      Thank you, Donna! I’ve been really impressed with everything I’ve read!

      Like

  4. Elyse January 3, 2015 / 2:54 am

    Happy new year, Dina.

    I saw this post this morning, just as I was heading off to work. So I only just read your story. I’ve been anticipating it all day, with The Wall stuck in my head all that time.

    Because I can empathize with you in this story. You see, my eldest sister, Beth, had a nervous breakdown when I was ten. Your descriptions were similar to what I experienced. The only thing was that I was constantly reprimanded not to make noise, not to upset Beth. I never really understood what it was all about 19th nervous breakdown was playing on the radio all the time …

    Like

    • dhonour January 3, 2015 / 10:21 am

      Elyse–my own dad was around 9/10 when his mother was hospitalized (for quite some time), and then I was ten and now my own son is 10 and I am uber-freaked out about having some sort of psychosomatic breakdown that I bring on because I am so afraid of having one. But it seems the timing is right for all of this to come together. I don’t remember much of the day to day stuff of my father’s return (there are memories) but it would seem we all fell into a new pattern until things reverted back to a new normal. I’m glad you were able to find some similarities in the descriptions–and I also think if you haven’t, you’ve got yourself an excellent title for a piece in your 19th Nervous Breakdown comment….As always, I appreciate your input!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elyse January 3, 2015 / 7:26 pm

        I think that we, in this day and age, have more resources at our disposal. Counseling and medication if necessary. And we understand that there may be connections between our family past and our own current situation.

        Beth’s situation was that she was gay and engaged to be married to a man (chosen at least in part I think because my Dad didn’t really approve). She continued to have psychiatric problems for the whole time she was married. When she divorced and let everybody know she was gay, she really freed herself emotionally and had fewer issues for the rest of her life (she died 5 years ago).

        I hope you have some good facilities in Copenhagen — I imagine you do, actually from my research into depression from work. Scandinavians understand depression. I was in Switzerland when my other sister died and psychiatrists/psychologists were hard to find…

        Like

  5. Andra Watkins January 4, 2015 / 4:16 am

    Left a comment over there, but wanted to also leave one here to say BRAVO!! Happy New Year, Dina.

    Like

    • dhonour January 4, 2015 / 9:13 am

      Thank you so much, Andra! Happy new year to you and MTM as well!

      Like

  6. lonebonekaffekone January 4, 2015 / 8:58 am

    Congratulations! It must be exhilarating and terrifying to be published. You write well and engagingly – and what you write about memomy resonates loudly. Memories are as fickle as the first snowflakes that hit the path, yet leaves us solid building blocks that define us, even many, many years later. Take care of you and keep writing. Lone.

    Like

    • dhonour January 4, 2015 / 9:17 am

      Yes to both! And thank you. For whatever reason, my middle school memories seem to have set and gelled with the most lucidity. I’d like to think I’m resourceful—it’s far easier to base your work around a time where you can cherry pick your memories and mine them for details than to have to make everything up! But one of that harder parts is trying to get people to read it, which why I appreciate you guys all so much. Thanks again for taking the time to do that. Best, D

      Like

  7. doublewhirler January 4, 2015 / 10:52 pm

    What a way to start the new year. Congratulations! I’m not a writer, but it seems to me that your writing is maturing – more solid and confident. I always read your work twice; first as someone growing up in MA during that time for the spot on references and familiarity, and second just as a critical reader to see if I DIDN’T grow up there and then would it have the same effect…and it always does! Bravo!
    xx

    Like

    • dhonour January 4, 2015 / 11:02 pm

      Double damn, that’s a lot to live up to. I’m glad you think the writing lives up to it! I’m glad that you think it holds up for the non MA reader–when you’re writing, you tend to forget and just assume that everyone knows what the hell you’re talking about. I feel more solid and confident, so I am thrilled that shows through as well. Now, as long as this is the first of many and not the last of a few, we’re on the right track.

      Like

      • doublewhirler January 4, 2015 / 11:57 pm

        Oh I know you’re just going to snowball this year (writing and success wise).

        PS Loved the reference to Ah-So sauce in “The Edamame Problem”- my mother had that in her arsenal, pulled out only when we heated up some La Choy egg rolls. On a tray. In the oven. ‘Cause we were adventurous that way…

        Like

      • dhonour January 5, 2015 / 11:09 am

        I shudder to think what was actually in Ah-So sauce. Let alone what made it that color. I appreciate the vote of confidence. Let me know if you’re ever up for some ‘test’ reading…

        Like

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