so back to this novel [excerpt]
Over 2 years ago I began a novel after a 2 month stint in the hospital as I was coming to terms with a bipolar and PTSD diagnosis. I needed a release so I decided to create a story loosely based on my experiences that led me to and followed my suicide attempt that landed me in the hospital. I was in a headspace to where if I didn’t write, I would die literally and figuratively. 35 pages of raw emotion spilled out of my fingers onto the screen. Life started getting leaps and bounds better and then I stopped writing.
Over the last few months I have been taking mental excursions back to that place that I was in. No bueno. I have been trying to figure out what got me out of that place to begin with. What was my original catharsis? Writing. So I am jumping back into my novel head first. Wish me luck. Here is an excerpt of the original unedited novel text. Enjoy:
by Alise Leslie
I like to tell folks I don’t have a story
But I also like to fuck with people
That in itself tells a story.
You confused yet?
Good, now we have something in common
I think that’s how friendships begin.
Not sure if I can maintain it but that’s part of the story too
Pay attention to the details
That’s where the angels are for me
I live in devilish broad-strokes
Details are the only way the good creeps in
Giving the true life to the picture
Details are what fill funeral obituaries
Speaking of obituaries…
When I exit this world
I mean exeunt this world
-I am a lot to take…
2 paragraphs can’t hold me
But I digress.
I guess I should breathe a sigh of relief as I cross the threshold of the looney bin back into the real world for the second time. All I can manage was a barely audible, “What now?”
Okay rewind time: I have to call the Psychiatric Ward the looney bin. Insensitive? Maybe. Do I care? Naw. I have to keep things light for my own good.
I continue walking with my $10, bag of random clothes, 6 bus passes, pack of stale cigarettes, and zero clues. The July sun does not relent as I make my way around the familiar campus. The pristine, gorgeous, ridiculously well kept grounds are a stark contrast to my life as of late. In fact the order of the old stone buildings and carefully planned paths is unsettling to my jumbled mind. I feel like I am in the Matrix. Just at that moment I see a scruffy man pass by and he becomes the glitch I need. I breathe a sigh of relief for my good pal disorder.
As self proclaimed Queen of Public Transit I begin running the bus schedules through my head as the bus I need passes right by me. “Fuck!” I say a little louder than intended. Great, it is Sunday and another bus doesn’t come for an hour. Can’t even smoke my stale cancer sticks on this smoke-free campus. Why can’t I kill myself in peace. Oh wait, I can’t say stuff like that, even in my head, I just got out of the psych ward for trying to kill myself in peace. Twice. I internally digress.
I decide to go sit on one of the benches on the outskirts of campus and sneak a cigarette in a little less populated area. The slightly wooded area seems like a good area to begin my Covert Nicotine Ops. Call me Captain Cancer-Stick! I ease on the bench, start a Tasmanian devil search in my duffel bag sized brown leather purse, aka satchel of random crap, for a lighter. I’ll let you take a guess on whether I found it. Of course not. Right as I am about to throw the realest of 3 year old tantrums someone comes around to sit on the bench. I mumble, “Oh great, now I will get chided for trying smoke. Swell.”
I look up and see the kindest set of eyes on Earth that were my lifeline in the looney bin. Mr. Champion. Yes, this fortuitously named angel was on his lunch break. Mr. Champion was a balding black man with a deep chocolate brown complexion, medium build, about the age of my dad. His cadence, manner of speech, and appearance reminded me of a “cat-daddy” at a nightclub that was a little too old to be there. So of course he was my bestie in my head.
Mr. Champion reached over and picked up the lighter, I apparently knocked it out during my earlier cyclone approach search, and lights my stale Marlboro. Mr. Champion jokes, “Normally I don’t do this but ummmm keep the party going,” making a reference to an old DL Hughley joke we were both familiar with. I reluctantly laugh through burgeoning tears. Mr Champion gently puts his arms around me and my reluctant laugh and baby tears turn into guffaws and sobs. Then silence. He keeps his arms around me for a while. We separate and don’t say anything for a few minutes, but stare at each other through peripheral vision.
Mr. Champion purrs, in his cat-daddy way, “Oh well dah-ling, ya bus gon come real soon, come back and see meh when you are doing love-uh-lee things ruling da world and what have you. You ain’t crazy, ya just needed a break.” I mouth, “Thank you,” and nod as he wipes away my tears. We walk to the bus stop in silence. We see the bus coming in the distance, he says, “Alrighty suga, you gon be just fine, I been doing this a lot of years, you gon make it. Take care now.” I manage a smile and a wave. The bus arrives and I board looking longingly at the safety of the hospital and my champion. Next stop: Reality.