Riding On A High, Living My Dreams



Well, I attended a small film festival showcasing Aboriginal works last night and it was literally amazing.  The first short film was called ‘Psychosis’ and showed a young woman going insane in the backdrop of both a school and in nature.  I have to say that I don’t watch horror films because normally they don’t phase me, but the images and symbolism of this one freaked me out.  At one point there was a scene where the young woman was sitting beside a grave and they used special effects to make a man that was with her disappear and reappear, it really hit home.  What kind of amazed me was that in these films there was a recurring theme of not only residential schools, but of suicide.  For those who aren’t from Canada, we have a very sore spot in our history where native children were taken from their families and put into residential schools and the whole of the aboriginal nations are still healing from it.

The other film that really stood out was one made in a place called Fort Smith called Mohawk Midnight Runners.  The person who wrote the short story that inspired this film is my good friend Richard Van Camp who has edited and helped with just about everything I have written.  This film was actually about streaking in one way, and in another about depression and suicide.  As the story went, a guy named Paul (sorry I forgot his last name) was a lawyer in this small town and when he had a few drinks he would head down the road jogging naked.  In the film, his friends start a running club where they go out at midnight and run for various causes.  The quality of the filming was superb, very professional and they had rights to use the song “Come On Eileen” which I loved and it was very moving and funny.  What was even more moving was that my friend Richard got up after the film and talked about his friend and about the pain that suicide causes, tears forming in his eyes.  It was a very strong message, a very emotional experience.

What struck home for me was that some years back I had stopped taking my anti-depressant (prozac) and I made a very serious attempt to kill myself.  It hurt my family so much that I decided that was a horrible thing to do.  Later in life, while writing “Through The Withering Storm” my editor commented on a situation where a friend of mine had committed suicide when I was 17 and she said that “suicide is the ultimate form of revenge”.  I don’t think this was true in the case of Richard’s friend, but it may have been in my friend’s death.  I haven’t pieced together everything, but it seemed that my friend (Brad Latta RIP) had lost a girlfriend to a close friend and had been kicked out of his mom’s house and just saw no way out.  I don’t think he intended to hurt so many people and I also have a strong suspicion he had Bipolar Disorder, but it was a terrible tragedy.

Well, I hope I haven’t made anyone feel down with all this dark talk.  Really life is going very well for me.  Yesterday I went to a meeting regarding our local poetry festival (anyone in the Edmonton area contact me for details.. viking3082000@yahoo.com) and on Friday I am going to be paid to participate in a panel discussion about mental health awareness.  I am feeling truly happy and truly validated.  I guess I want to say to anyone out there that reads this blog who suffers from mental health issues that there really is hope, there really is healing.  I also am starting to edit a Young Adult Novel I recently completed the first draft of and all is right with the world through my eyes.


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