Silver Linings Playbook

silver_linings_playbook_cover_book1Pat Peoples has just been released from a neural health clinic (a.k.a. the bad place) after a couple of month of inpatient treatment. Or was it a couple of years?? No, that couldn’t have been but for some reason people are telling him that. Well regardless, he is out and and ready to make himself better.

This is Pat’s mission statement as he works out to build up the muscle mass and attends his court mandated out patient therapy. He searches for the silver lining in his life and practices being kind rather than right and making himself the physical ideal of masculinity. He dutifully attends therapy and swallows as many pills as he deems appropriate, all toward the goal of attaining the ending to his life’s movie that involves a tearful reunion with his estranged wife Nikki, thus ending the apart time.

The truth is (and know that I do not mean this in any kind of derogatory fashion) Pat is delusional. He was committed for and still suffering from an unnamed mental health issue after a mysterious incident in his past that he can’t remember. He actually can’t remember much, including the reason for the separation from his wife, the amount of time he spent in the healthcare facility, or why the ghost of goddamned Kenny G won’t leave him alone. He intensively for ten hours a day, hums whenever you say something triggering , can’t make a living for himself, and in general cannot cope with reality.

While this may sound like an incredibly negative portrayal of people with mental health issues, the fact of the matter is that it is more real than most other images of it that I’ve seen/read. As dishonest as Pat is with himself, the book itself doesn’t pull any punches. It portrays the strain intense mental disorders can put on a family and how people treat other people with mental disorders without a sugary coating.

There are a few flaws in the book. Many of the things his counselor says are problematic. It is very hospitalization negative without much context, which is surprising in a book that is pro-medication. And finally, infantilization of Pat is almost never addressed and never resolved.

Of course, nothing is perfect but this is a damn good book despite this fact. I’ll give it a solid 7 out of 10. Please enjoy it if you’re looking for a book about mental health issues and controversy.

Every Day by David Levithan

Every DayThis novel has possibly the most unique and fascinating theme of any book I’ve read in years. Each and every day (Check out the title drop in the review, huh??) of their life, A has woken up as a different person. Boys, girls, non-binary, tall folks and short, the populars, the loners, people who’re into all kinds of other people, and basically every other type you’ve met in high school. Then the next day, they’re gone and into someone new.

This cycle is fine by them. It’s all A has ever known. Sure at times it’s a bummer. At times, it’s unbearable. A has found theirself in the bodies of folks with abusive families, mental disorders, and physical disabilities. These aren’t fun days, but all of this has given A an impossible perspective on the human condition. And for a long time, this is enough for them.

That is until they meet Rhiannon.

The novel centers around A, with their unique condition, trying to make their love work for once. It explores dozens of life perspectives and situations while trying to puzzle out the importance of the individual versus the their appearance/situation. Ethics are repeatedly brought into questions as A struggles with the urge to help and the urge to be unobtrusive

Now time for a few criticisms. At times all of these questions and conundrums can leave the reader’s head spinning hard and not always in a pleasant way. The book strives very hard to fill out a diverse number of situations, but a few come up kinda 2 dimensional On top of that, A fits so many infuriating stereotypes about high schoolers in love.

But to me, these are actually pretty forgivable. A gets 24 hours in each body, so not really much time to explore complicated identities but they try. They try very hard. And really, A is a love struck teen and most of us can remember at least one time we were irrational and obsessed someone we loved.

I’m going to give this book an 8 out of 10, but that is mostly for the stellar ending (that many people had major problems with) that I can’t talk any more about without spoilers.  Seriously, I recommend this book.

Magnet Poetry

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Starry Eyed by Jeffrey Koch

Starry Eyed
By Jeffrey Koch

They are ideas.
She is Kafkaesque and verbose,
Him with his clever beauty
and sanguine zeal.
How banal in time,
but so Herculean in thought?

So for Christmas I got a set of magnetic words and just spent a fun 20 minutes composing this. I plan to have many more adventures with this little magnetic lexicon, both sober and (upon occasion) drunk. This is the 2nd draft of the completed work, but I’m not sure if I like it more than the original, which can be viewed here if you’re interested in giving me your opinion. Guess I’ve been out of the writing blog for too long. I plan to rectify that if I can.

Flash Fiction

Prompt: Write the inner monologue of a character who can’t speak.

She’s going to say it. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

“Ready for your sponge bath, Mr. Keller?”

No, what would you do if I actually said no? I bet you’d scream and drop that basin of ereeeeegh incredibly cold water. What is it about my persistent vegetative state that makes you people think I can’t feel, yet every day you yammer on and on and on about you’re personal life. I really don’t want to hear any more about your new boy friend Devon (who I’m going to guess is actually gay) and I could have gone my whole life without ever hearing about your diet. Seriously.

Oh, it’s 9:45, time for the incredibly hot OCD chick to walk by. And there she goes, right on cue. Why couldn’t it be her giving me the sponge bath and not you? She would at least be through and not miss my left arm for the third time this week. You going to get that? Nope, well then….

“See you tomorrow!”

Woo… And now I get to sit here and enjoy my coma in peace until that doctor comes in to change out my bag. I hope it’s strawberry flavored this time… Shit, now I miss the taste of strawberries. Or really any other kind of food. Think of something else, think of something else. Wait, what was that novel idea I had the other day? It was about this guy, he was going to the moon, only that wasn’t really a big deal anymore? There was this part about finding a city under the surface maybe? It’ll come back to me soon enough.

beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

Oh shit, someone’s flat lining. Sucker. I may be a potato, but this spud is still on the right side of the dirt. Wait, that metaphor sucked. Oh well, they can’t all be winners. Hey, spunky little intern, you ever lost someone before? Aww, wooks wike yurr gunna cry like a baby. I’ve been stuck in this bed for five years now, if I had a dime for every little puke that got drummed out after their first kill I’d be the richest vegetable besides Mr. Peanut. That one sucked too… I’m so glad no one can hear me.

“Mrs. Keller…”

Oh shit, Molly?

“I know this must be hard for you.”

Molly, you never come here during the week. My god you’re still so beautiful.

“This kind of thing is never easy, doctor.”

What’s not easy?

“But it is the right thing to do.”

I’m so sorry my sweet. Being married to someone like this must be an ordeal, but it is the sweetest thing on the planet that you’ve stuck it out. Hold my hand please?

“How long were the two of you married before he went under?”

5 years, 3 months, and 12 days.

“A long time and in that time I loved him more than I can express.”

And she’s a poet. She does words for a living doc, boyah! Wait- loved?

“Which is why I’ve made the choice.”

No. No. No No No.

“As long as you’re sure…”

I love you.

“Please doctor.”

I LOVE you.

“End his pain.”

I love you I love you I lo- beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

Book Review: “Feed” by M.T. Anderson

SaidIToMyself:

Hey, check out my review of Feed by MT Anderson, featured on Beta Fish Magazine. It’s the first of many to come.

Originally posted on Beta Fish Mag:

By Jeffrey Koch

Feed (Anderson novel)

Feed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”

It’s short, sweet, to the point, and more importantly it’s under 140 characters, perfect for Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. The opening line of Feed by M. T. Anderson is emblematic of the world he creates in his narrative. In this dystopia, the people choose to have “the feed” installed in their brains. What is the feed? It’s Twitter, YouTube, Skype, and Google all built into a cozy little suit, cemented together with ads, and placed snugly into your brain pan.

Sounds like a party, right?

The book follows the protagonist, Titus, and his friends as they live their lives in the ebb and flow of the feed like normal teenagers, changing styles and attitudes at the drop of a hat to keep up with the global…

View original 335 more words

Thee and a Summer’s Day

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art sun bright and just as golden fair,
and yet a summer’s day is long while you
are hardly five foot tall in your high heels.
This too, a summer’s day and you as well
folks often say are much too hot for me,
with sun and your red dress respectively.
Both find me napping in the afternoon,
but summer never yet has roused me with
a spit slick pinky finger in my ear.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate
and lack a correlation to attacks by shark.

 

(Notes: I did my best iambic pentameter with this one. It’s kind of silly and based off of an xkcd comic, but I had fun writing it and reading it to the class.)

Train Ride

I.
The whistle blows
and the train departs.
We both sprint, laugh
and grasp at a rung.
No one punched our tickets
but we were going for a ride

II.
One locomotive, eastbound.
The other, ours, headed west.
Both barrel out of control
on the same two rails.
Your eyes turn bright, mine dark.
We both count down.

III.
I remember twisted metal.
You remember fire.
You dust off and walk
while I crawl then collapse.
You chase the next train
and I try not to puke.