When Shit Gets Scary, You Know You’re Writing Something Real

A Beginning (Memoir)

Cold January cracks through the diamond patterned lines on the security glass. The winter sun blinds my puffy eyes, stretches across my white blanket, my white sheets. Everything is white. I look for it in my gut—the comfort of warm familiar glows and dawn, but there is none. And the empty nothingness overwhelms me to a sit-up position. Fear. Fearing fear. This fear that had started spreading through me, and now continued as soon as I wake, like a black ink filling my veins. It has a mouth and a long, wide throat and there’s sharp teeth to catch me. There certainly aren’t people because people don’t exist in your head. And I cry because no one can help me out of this. That’s why I am here. I feel the nausea rise and the taste of rubber in my mouth. I cry because there is no God. I try to whisper Hail Mary again like last night. It’s not working. Focus. Panic. Focus. Feel the textures, feel the temperatures. Be present you will not die. I’m dying. Alone in my room, wearing their navy blue scrubs. It’s that starving cry again and I’m no longer embarrassed here to try to muffle it. I also know it doesn’t help worth a damn, but I’m that little girl, aren’t I? That little five year old getting her head kicked in and her underwear pulled. Wasn’t the time I put into this madness enough? It may never end, and I prayed to Mary to let it be over. I hear the little girl’s voice again, sobbing gently in my head. I want to reach inside myself and cut her. Because I know she is where I must begin–this is alone-girl-lonely-smoke-Favim.com-442462only the bottom of the well. It’s unexplored down here and only a shred of January streaks through above me, in that small opening to the world. Miles away. And I have to know this well like the back of my hand if I intend on not only surviving but never coming back. Memories, speak. Memories I’m down I’m down, I can’t fight anymore. And there is nothing left but terror—and even more terror awaits but I must break into this and start eating it alive—I must figure this out. I must feel. I must remember. Or I won’t make it.

The drive in the old red Chevy is a quiet one, nothing but white headlights through the haze of cigarette smoke—Dan, my stepfather, chain-smoking Dorals, watching the road and my thigh. None of us speak—we hardly ever did in those years. I stare through the glass, watching the mental ward set back against the tall bones of the birch trees draw near.
The sky is the only thing I want to see. The only thing I don’t have to think
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“My Why” 2010 & 2014

Comparing answers from 2010 and 2014 “My Why”


So I came across this folded up, wrinkled, worn piece of notebook paper in an old purse of mine that I used before and during my stays in the mental hospital. I recognize my scribbling and style, but I do not have any recollection of writing this nor where the questions came from. So I think it’s pretty neat that way, so I’m sharing it, even if I’m just sharing it with me. That’s what this is for I guess. Kinda.

  • What motivates me?

2010: Certain people outside of me (yes thats what it says…creeps me out) ANYWAY like Emma. I want to show her–teach her–that I can and will take care of myself and for myself hollysharpetoo–my inner passion and drive motivates me to want to live the hell out of my life. I don’t/can’t live in a world I create within my stories or within my fears and worries. I want to shine again, and believe that I can. All of my mistakes.

2014: wanting to live the hell out of this life; wanting the best for Emma–that’s motivation all in itself.

  • What interests me?

2010: …I don’t know yet…educating myself, learning to be prepared but not too much, learning to accept and live for the now, learn to relax. Get back to my art, photography, writing (get back to the fiction for a break), music. The art of friendship–that interests me.

2014: Writing poetry, essay, and memoir, I like sociology, psychology/abnormal psychology, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity–well I’m curious about all religions/faiths.  I love watching people and slowly taking them in, their judgments and then their changes.  I love the smell of fresh snow in the morning before the world wakes up and the sky is dark.  I love dreaming about the characters in my stories/memoir-to-be.  I love to imagine how it’ll feel when I finish it.  I know I will, unless there’s some freak accident, which of course is likely.  I love watching my little child blossom and grow and become.  I love to give her what she needs and tear myself down when I am not.  MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC.  From Ali Farka Toure w/ Ry Cooder to David Gray to Paolo Nutini to Hootie to Joni Mitchell to Michael Jackson to Rachmaninoff.  I love most all types except pop and most country.  Eh.

  • What would I do more if I could?

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Bitched From the Start

“Forget your personal tragedy.  We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously.  But when you get the damned hurt use it–don’t cheat with it.  Be as faithful to it as a scientist–but don’t think anything is of any importance because it happens to you or anyone belonging to you.”

Ernest Hemingway, to F. Scott Fitzgerald (Selected Letters)