This is being reposted from But She’s Crazy’s blog, per her request.
Book Project Call for Submissions: Posted June 22, 2012 by …But She’s Crazy
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
“I am tired of hiding, tired of misspent and knotted energies, tired of the hypocrisy, and tired of acting as though I have something to hide.”
-Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together.”
With May and Mental Health Awareness month just behind us (at least for US residents), the question that may be on many a mind is what we, as individuals who live with mood or personality disorders, can truly do to raise awareness and understanding about this often-underrepresented and marginalized segment of society and the issues it faces. How can we go about undoing the enduring stigmas surrounding mental health struggles? How can we put a familiar, human face on an issue so laden with fear, ignorance, and misunderstanding?
We can tell our stories, that’s how.*
As Kay Jamison so eloquently states it, those of us coping with the realities of mental health challenges have lived too long in guilt and shame about our conditions. Many of us have moved about, in at least one part of our lives or another, afraid the world will discover our secret and ostracize us for it. Now it’s time to step out of the shadows, find our voices, and share our stories with the world – a vital first step in reclaiming our rights and identities and smashing away the cell of silence that exists around the subject of mental and emotional suffering. At the very least, we can reach out to and empower each other with the sharing of our experiences – the good, the bad, the very bad, the hope, and the unique perspectives cultivated by such conditions as Bipolar I and II, Major Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia (or Schizoaffective Disorder), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Anorexia/Bulimia, and countless other conditions.
Inspired by my own efforts to share my story on my blog, …But She’s Crazy, and by the efforts of the multitude of bloggers similarly enacting rites of truth-telling and agency on their own sites, I, with the assistance of some of my fellow bloggers on the WordPress platform, am setting out to publish an as-yet untitled collection of essays and other forms of expression in order to shed light on the many, varied, and complex faces who both struggle and stand strong with diagnosed mental conditions.
While we are currently looking into traditional publishing options (the goal being to make this project as high profile as possible), we plan to, at the very least, self-publish via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CafePress, Smashwords, and/or Blurb.com. This is a grassroots project, but one with passion and dedication behind it. It will get published in some form or another.
We are seeking essays, poetry, photos, and artwork** to compile into a publishable work. If you are interested in submitting a piece for the project, we encourage entries on such areas including, but not limited to:
- Diagnosis: how you came to be diagnosed, the medication shuffle, misdiagnoses or evolving diagnoses, how you adjusted to your diagnosis, dual diagnoses, etc. (Note: Any condition listed in the DSM is open for discussion in this book. We want to bring attention to all mental health conditions, no matter how common or obscure they may be. We believe allmental health conditions deserve representation and exposure.)
- Living with a diagnosis/diagnoses: the good aspects, the bad aspects, the day-to-day realities, etc.
- Living in recovery: what recovery means in your life, how to achieve and maintain a state of recovery, etc.
- Stigma: what it looks like and how it feels to experience it, workplace stigma, stigma from family/friends, how to counteract stigma (which leads to the final section…)
- Advocacy: mental health consumers (the clinical term) as a social class, rehabilitating the public’s views of mental health consumers, working in peer support capacities, the Mad Pride movement, etc.
Please keep in mind that the primary audience of this project is your peers, but we want to keep it accessible to anyone who might pick it up, including the layperson who is uninformed about the real life experience of mental illness. We’d like to reach as many people as we can with this work, as the underlying goals are to inspire, inform, and deconstruct stereotypes. By that same line of thought, please note that we’re looking for pieces that exemplify the “write what you know” model. The best and most powerful things you can bring to the table are your voice and your unique experiences. If you find yourself doing a ton of research before you sit down to write, you’re probably not going to produce the sort of personal insight we’re seeking to share with the world.
Also understand that, at least in the case of essays, if your proposal is accepted, your submission will be edited for grammar, punctuation, and clarity. We may ask you to return to your work and make alterations for the sake of ease of reading and general flow. However, no alterations will be made or published without your consent.
If you are interested in submitting a piece for consideration in this untitled book project, we request the following:
- For essays: a 250 to 500 word proposal setting forth the topic and a general outline of your piece
- For poems, artwork, and photographs: a copy of the poem or a scanned image of the artwork or photograph
- Your name (if you prefer to work under a pseudonym, that’s fine; we just need a name to refer to you)
- The name under which you would prefer to be published
- An email at which we can reach you. For convenience sake, please make sure it’s one you check with regularity
- Your blog or website, if you are affiliated with one. We would like to publicize your website along with your work, but please let us know if you are uncomfortable with that.
- Send your proposal/submission with the subject line “Mental Health Book Project Proposal” (even if you have not written a proposal, as such)
- Limit two (2) proposals per person. (If we need more, we’ll let you know.)
Please send all submissions to email@example.com.
All proposals must be received by midnight, EST, August 31, 2012 for review and approval.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to working with you in the coming months and creating something truly special to raise awareness and help undermine stigma!
“Strong efforts may be made to deny the place, to silence the authentic, but the spirit of things will break through that silence.”
*While we encourage the sharing of your stories for the benefit of this project, please understand that we are working under certain parameters and limitations in compiling this book. If your proposal/submission is not accepted, please do not assume we do not appreciate and value your personal experience and insight. It takes courage to tell one’s story and we honor it completely. We will strive to include as many pieces as possible in this book, which we hope will typify clear, focused writing and meaningful insights into a life with mental health conditions. Any contributions we cannot fit into this project will be set aside and considered for any future publishing ventures we undertake.
**Please do not submit any writing, poetry, artwork, or photography that is not 100% your own work. Previously copyrighted material (by someone other than you) will not be accepted, and will result in permanent refusal of future submissions.