Alas, nothing says "RT Season" more than people too busy to pimp their own books! Seriously, I got no takers for *kermit flail Monday* this month, and truthfully, I can't think of many of my friends who actually have releases, so, I guess mostly I just remind you all that Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny's Lair is out, and that The Granby Knitting Menagerie-- the collection of the original three Granby Knitting novellas-- is available in paperback!
But really, that's old news, and I'm almost embarrassed to recycle it (not too embarrassed, but almost) and since I have books of other people to pimp, I thought I'd pimp a cause.
Shh Moms Reading is a book review blog that discovered The Locker Room a couple of years ago and have been some of my staunchest supporters since. Denise Milano Sprung is one of the moms-- and the one who contacts me the most-- and you may notice that her brother is featured in the poster at the top of the page.
As well as the words "memorial fund".
I write a lot about mental illness and drug addiction. Although I have not suffered through these things myself, I have dealt with these issues through multiple members of my family, and my God does it suck. Mental illness is often hereditary, and it often skips a generation. I am going to be examining my children for signs of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder for the rest of my life. I am going to watch to see if they're self-medicating for depression with an eagle eye. Sometime soon, I am going to have to have a talk with my oldest daughter about what went wrong with her biological grandmother, and why she needs to be careful-- and no. Although I've been honest with my kids their entire lives, and it's not going to surprise her, I'm not looking forward to the conversation.
And working as I do within the LGBTQ community, it gets worse. The general population has an attempted suicide rate of 1.6%. Teenager attempted suicide rate goes up to 4%. LGB teens go up to TWENTY PERCENT. Transgendered teens are at 41% rate of attempted suicide.
The world is not kind to those who don't conform.
Whether it's mental illness that sets us apart or the world's reaction to our sexuality that sends us spinning into depression, the fact is that brain chemistry and despair steal our best and our most beautiful from us on a daily basis. Stigma of any sort hurts us, and we all know our government sucks donkey balls about taking care of anyone who isn't rich, white, and greedy as fuck. The mentally ill or terminally depressed are not treated well.
This last summer, my biological mom went off her meds. When my grandma passed away last February, she ran out of medication and went in for her regular checkup. The new doctor-- overworked and naive--asked her how she was doing after two weeks off of a medication that she'd been taking for nearly thirty years. Mom, wanting to be normal, wanting to be independent, and, yes, very unmedicated said she was fine.
By the time my aunts and uncle realized what was going on, she was hostile, aggressive, and escaping the care home she really loved in order to wander the streets at night.
She got put into the "more secure" psych hospitals until she could go on her medication willingly, without monitoring.
It took more than six months for her to get back to the place she liked, and in the meantime… those places are horrible.
I saw a lot of young people in those places, clinging to their boyfriends or girlfriends during visiting hours, dreading the hour when they'd be alone in that terrible, terrible place.
God, I didn't want to leave them alone. But I didn't want to bring my kids there either. This is a good cause. It's one that I believe in. We need to treat our mentally ill better. We need to treat our young people, gay, straight, bi, and trans, with more respect, so that depression isn't ever linked with sexuality again.
I'm giving all of my profits for Truth in the Dark during the month of May to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund for Suicide Prevention, because it's just so easy to fall into despair, and so hard to pull out of it. Because we need to take care of each other better, and this is one way to do it. And because Truth in the Dark is about finding hope and value in ourselves, whether we are perfect or (as is mostly always the case) very, very flawed. It's the story I gave to high school students that got me pulled out of teaching, and it's a decision I (most days) don't regret. If you haven't read it, now's the time to buy it. If you have read it, by all means donate to the fund straight out if you feel so inclined.
That boy in the fundraiser poster haunts me. He has so much promise. So many people have so much promise. Goddess, we need to honor that.