Telling on the Disease: Writers & Depression

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by Ed Davis on July 24, 2017

 In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood,
For I had lost the right path.
–Dante’s The Divine Comedy

Depression is a malady to which artists and writers, particularly poets, are quite prone. I’ve developed greater familiarity with it lately, having suffered several bad episodes this year. Today I feel qualified by experience to broach an issue I’ve mostly considered taboo. I now believe that it’s crucial to—as recovering folks say—tell on the disease in order to live beyond the “despair beyond despair.”

A Memoir of Madness

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Flowers Never Bend: The Meaning of a Friend

photo by Pete Consadine used under Creative Commons license

by Ed Davis on May 30, 2017

“So I’ll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.”
—Paul Simon

Diagnosed with brain cancer, my childhood pal Steve found himself unable to pretend, as so many of us boomers do, that our lives will never end. His ended May 13, 2017, at 64 years of age, and I’m left to assess what the passing of my friend of 52 years means.


The funeral was a lovely-sad affair, our grief somewhat muted by the long farewell and the miracle of his finding love with a wonderful caretaker during his … Read the full article


The Publishing Workshop I Never Gave

May 3, 2017

(*Plus Rita Coleman’s new poetry book!)

 I was never quite comfortable with the idea of presenting a workshop on how to publish fiction. So when the workshop that my friend Joe Downing and I were scheduled to present last February was canceled due to lack of enrollment, I was more glad than not. Since then, I’ve thought of several reasons why not to “teach” folks how to publish fiction.

  • Writing itself is so much more important, and time spent thinking about publishing can so distract from the pleasure of the real task.
  • The path to publication is so individual
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    Anthologized: With Eyes Glowing

    April 9, 2017
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    I just got my head knocked off by reading Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods, a new anthology of fiction and poetry from West Virginia. I am so pleased to have a story among this distinguished group of honored veterans and up-and-comers. I believe all writers with publication-ready work should consider submitting to anthologies. Among the many gifts of being included in a collection like the one above are:

  • The honor of having your work chosen by excellent editors, usually well-published authors and teachers themselves.
  • Distribution: In addition to Vandalia’s Press’s marketing efforts, Glowing includes
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    The Holy Trinity: Laughter, Love and Family

    March 9, 2017
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    I used to enjoy it when my well-traveled comp students would tackle a cultural comparison essay as one of their assignments. Therefore, I’m really excited when a writing colleague as accomplished as Deborah Clearman takes on a country as fascinating as Guatemala and topics as significant as baby brokering and sexual politics in all its tragicomic permutations.

    Clearman’s novel Todos Santos (Black Lawrence, 2010) introduced us to the titular rural Guatemalan town; her new story collection, Concepcion and the Baby Brokers (Rain Mountain Press, 2017) takes us even deeper into a culture the author understands, loves and has resided … Read the full article

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    Poetry IS Life

    January 10, 2017
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    A new year is a good time to be thinking about poetry. It’s on my mind, since 2016 ended with poetry—the annual Solstice Poetry Reading at Glen Helen (which attracted 92 hardy souls on a cold winter evening)—and 2017 began with it:  a reading at Blue Jacket Books last Saturday by poets with works in From the Tower:  Poetry in Honor of Conrad Balliet. Also, I’m deep into reading Bruce Springsteen’s new autobiography Born to Run, and everyone knows the Boss is as much poet as musician.

    So I’m asking myself here at the dawn of my 65th … Read the full article

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    Thankful for Poetry

    November 23, 2016
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    It’s been a tough year for all of us. Along with life’s other challenges, this year’s election season was an especially bruising one for every American, regardless of where anyone stood along the political divide. Here at Thanksgiving, I believe that gratitude is the best attitude we can take toward life, along with humility. Hard as things get, I am always thankful for friendships in which I can truly be myself; a terrific, loving family; Nature in all her awe-inspiring manifestations; good work to do every day; and a meaningful spiritual life.

    And poetry.

    For the fifth year, Tecumseh Land Read the full article

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    Dylan Accepts Nobel…Finally

    October 30, 2016
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    “Well, I’m right here,” Bob Dylan replied when told the Swedish Academy had been trying for three weeks to hear from him regarding the Nobel in Literature they had awarded him. Whew. I’m sure fans and committee members alike exhaled with relief. But what did it mean that he had waited so long to accept his prize? “I was speechless,” he claimed. Really? And what does that mean . . . I’m right here?

    The Lens

    My study of Dylan while researching for my novel The Psalms of Israel Jones gives me a clue. In my novel, the world … Read the full article

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    Dylan Wins Nobel

    October 14, 2016
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    Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,

    Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,

    With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves

    Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

    –Bob Dylan, “Mr. Tambourine Man”

    Bob Dylan:  winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Finally, in this acrimonious election season, something we can all agree on, that Dylan has been America’s leading poet for decades. This year’s Nobel committee should be congratulated for expanding the definition of literature to include songwriting. As a poet and novelist, I believe songwriting is … Read the full article

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    Write and Cycle: The Joys of Biking

    September 14, 2016

    The storm struck as I crossed Jacoby Road on the Little Miami Bike Trail, four miles south of Yellow Springs, heading home from Xenia. The sky roiled, rain began pelting me and a cannon blast of wind flattened trees lining the trail ahead—or seemed to. I felt caught in something surreal, simultaneously insular and exposed, but exciting as hell as I rode right into the blustery heart of my own personal tornado. Leaves and limbs crashing around me, I wondered if I’d make it home alive.

    It wasn’t really a tornado, just a pop-up storm that, if you’re a fairly … Read the full article

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