My story ‘Name it’ was published recently at The James Franco Review. It’s a new magazine and was so honoured to be included in the early days of it’s life as a publication!
To read the story just head on over to The James Franco Review and check it out.
Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.
Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at The James Franco Review before reading the notes.
About ‘Name it’
This story was inspired by a fascinating article I read that came out of Stanford. The article talks about how people’s hallucinations or voices (when they are suffering with schizophrenia) are influenced by culture. It was amazing to learn that in some cultures the voices are more welcome and therefore more benign.
I’ve always been interested in psychology (I hope to take some classes in university when I get there) and I really wanted to write some fiction that illustrated the point made in the article because it is an amazing discovery and I definitely think mental illness is something that needs to be discussed openly and with compassion.
I was worried about writing this story for a couple of reasons. The first is that mental illness is a very serious topic and when I do write about it I want to do it respectfully. I’ve written about Alzheimer’s (and some other mental illnesses) before and I had the same concerns. I don’t want to offend anyone, I just really want to explore the topic from an artistic perspective. Also, in seeking publication for the story I didn’t want it to misinterpreted as ‘horror’ because it wasn’t intended that way at all. So I was happy to have found The James Franco Review as they seemed to understand what I was trying to accomplish with the story and they appreciated it.
The second thing I was worried about was writing from the perspective of a child, that can sometimes come off as ‘cutsie’ and I didn’t want that to be the case either. It’s always tricky writing with a strong voice like I did in ‘Name it’ because you run the risk of people thinking it’s over the top.
Overall though I was happy with the outcome and I hope that people reading these notes will check out the article that inspired the story and learn more about schizophrenia and some of the amazing people who are trying to ease the symptoms of those suffering with it.