Reader, you have found me in a melancholy mood.
Right now, I am in Thailand, in a city on the coast, and it is early in the morning, and the swallows halo portions of the sky. I’ve come without my family; they will be joining me in June, and in the first week or so, I will be by myself, thinking, writing, reading. Every time I am away from my wife and kids something happens to me — the sense of being directionless, untethered. Absent. Every time I come to Thailand, in the last two years, this same feeling happens then, too. Thailand has not been the same, especially after the passing of my aunt and my father, who are the shadows that follow me around everywhere.
Readers, you have found me melancholic.
Let me tell you about what I’m seeing and hearing in the world. Roosters wake the morning, their alarm startling the heart. Mourning doves vibrate in song. The gentle rumble of longboat engines off in the gulf putter and sputter and spray.
This is what I’ve learned: the world will continue—it always does—no matter the tragedies that befall it.
Once when I entered moments like this I could not find my way out. I spun. That’s what my therapist called it. A car stuck, the tires of my mind rutting deeper into the ground, revolving around negative self-destructive thoughts, thoughts that revved up my anxiety, that made me sedentary. Sometimes these thoughts were of harming myself, or even worse. I never told anyone about this. Not then. When you are in the cone of depression, you don’t register the outside world, the one moving without you. You don’t see those who are offering help. Those who know, perhaps, what you are feeling.
Last summer, I worked with an amazing human being, Edward Gunawan. Edward is a writer, producer, actor, and one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. (I implore you, go check out his work. ) Recently Edward and his brother Elbert Lim started a project called Press Play. Press Play began as a webcomic about Edward’s struggle with depression. The two brothers have made Press Play into something more. A hub. A resource page for mental health issues and those in search of help.
Sweet: A Literary Confection is honored to be partnered with Project Press Play. Honored to be part of this important initiative. Honored to showcase part of Edward and Elbert’s webcomic in the newest issue of Sweet Lit. For the entire comic, please visit the Project Press Play website. In the coming months, Sweet Publications will be creating a limited edition hand-stitched version of Press Play as a chapbook, available for purchase in Spring 2020. Much of the proceeds for the sales of the book will go to international mental health organizations.
Along with Edward and Elbert’s extraordinary work, you will find…well…more extraordinary work, like Flash Nonfiction Contest winner Kristine Jepsen’s essay, “Jaw Wiring: What You Need to Know” and the fine finalists of this year’s contest. And if you are interested, Sweet Publications has created a medical brochure version of Kristine’s essay, perfect for teaching the hermit crab form. Please go to our site and we’ll send you one for a donation to the organization.
Before I leave you, let me tell you how the palms look in the wind, or the shimmer of the water and the horizon that is golden and the world opening its arms. Let me tell you that there is a world outside glad of your presence. You are not alone. We are here.
President of Sweet: A Literary Confection