Fevers of the Mind July Themes including new *Writing Prompts*

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*Anything unless published elsewhere will be eligible for our Fevers of the Mind Print Anthologies in the future*

Themes for Fevers of the Mind July 2021

  • All ongoing themes may be listed on our front page as well.
  • Mental Health, Anxiety, Adhd, trauma, Physical Health Stresses
text
white and black i love you print on brown dried leaves
  • Social Justice Poetry, #stopthehate Challenge, African American History, Equality, Black Lives Matter style poetry.
purple flower beside graffiti wall
  • Your Art, Retro Photography
brown tree painting
(c) JR Korpa
Camera, Film, Vintage, Film Camera, Old
  • Avalanches in Poetry 2: Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is geoffrey-wren-cohen10.jpg
(c) Geoffrey Wren
  • Audrey Hepburn Challenge continues. Do you have a poem/essay written inspired by Audrey Hepburn (Part of a series that’ll be including other Hollywood icons, artists & more from the past)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20210525_094757.jpg
(c) Maggs Vibo
Audrey Hepburn, 60'S Icon, Female Face
  • LGBTQ Matters/Pride Poetry & Art
multicolored heart LED light on wall

WRITING PROMPTS *NEW*

Watch these videos of Instrumental music. Sit down & write. What does the music inspire you to think of?

  • Miles Davis Porgy & Bess Album
  • Philip Glass – Mad Rush

Summer Romance/Summer Heartbreak

couple standing on body of water
man standing near sea

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Norb Aikin

with Norb Aikin:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Norb: I’ve probably always been a writer to some degree and began to take it more seriously in high school. Shortly after graduating I was writing constantly, and early influences were more music-based than writing-based…I was listening to a lot of The Beatles, and bands like Pearl Jam, Radiohead, and golden-era Hip Hop before I got into Jack Kerouac.

Thanks, Eddie Vedder - Semi-Rad.com

Q2: Who are some of your biggest influences today?

Norb: Today, I’m more into writers and lyricists like the late Tony Hoagland and Gord Downie. Downie in particular influenced a lot of my last book, Mutants.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe?

Norb: I grew up in the Western New York suburbs but I don’t think that favored heavily into my work until I began to get more serious and creative. I would walk the town a lot and note my surroundings, and turn that into little details in different poems. When I moved to Central New York it felt like a clean slate and a new nest of ideas based on a less-than-ideal living situation. A lot of that factored in my first book, 100, and as I’ve started looking differently at how I’m taking care of my Mental Health I’ve seen that creeping into the things I’m working on now.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Norb: I think we as creatives always tend to think our latest work is our most meaningful, or stands out and is better than anything else, and for me this is mostly true. I’m currently shopping around my latest finished product, and I’d love to find a nice, small, indie press but I haven’t found the right fit yet. I’m also proud of the articles relating to Mental Health I’ve written for sites like Stigma Fighters, The Mighty, and The Good Men Project. Advocating for MH awareness to me is just as important as any 5-star rating either of my books has received.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Norb: Just now, when I got this interview request!! Kidding…but it’s hard to remember so far back; I’ve been at this now for nearly 30 years. I’m almost 46, and I think getting validation from close friends and family when I was around 18 or 19 put the seed in my head that I had something worth working for and toward. It’s been very rewarding to show them however many years later that yes, I did this and have been published and have all these wonderful experiences and new friends attached to it.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Norb: Hmmm…I just like to chill, listen to music, and cheer on my favorite teams with friends on Twitter during games. I’m a nerdy writer who loves sports; make what you will of that!

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Norb: With everything opening back up in NY after the pandemic, there are a few things I’d like to set up back in WNY and maybe locally. Open mics will be an option, as well as libraries. Unfortunately, there are few indie bookstores local to me, but I’ll reach out to a few in WNY and see if I can set something up. I’d also like to travel again and meet up with some old friends I’ve worked with in the past.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Norb: Wow, it’s been awhile since I looked through my latest work. I think I’m going to go with “You couldn’t stay because/ you couldn’t be replaced.” from “Thinking About Suicide Takes Years Off Your Life”. It’s a very personal piece about the loss of my brother, my own struggles, and the relationships I’ve been lucky to have with some of his closest friends.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Norb: I’ll have been a member of http://Writing.com for 20 years as of July 1st, and without the support of many friends there I’ve been able to make over the years, I wouldn’t be the same author I am today. A handful of them pushed me to start back up writing poetry after a long hiatus, and what became of that ended up being my first book, 100. Being able to share that with them has been beyond gratifying, and having another WDC member write the foreward to the next book was really special. I don’t often share much I’m working on currently on Twitter or Instagram, but WDC is often where pieces may show up first…sort of like how a musician might road test new songs in concert before recording them. I’ll always be thankful for being a part of such an amazing community.

Links:

Mutants: https://amazon.com/Mutants-Poems-Essays-Norb-Aikin/dp/1949351904

Twitter: @AikinNorb

Instagram: https://instagram.com/fivesixer/

3 Poems from Anthologies by Norb Aikin

2 Poems from the Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 by Norb Aikin

BOOKS to Read in 2021: Mutants by Norb Aikin

https://www.norbaikin.com/

https://www.poemhunter.com/norb-aikin/

https://thepoetryquestion.com/2019/09/24/tpq5-norb-aikin/

Poem by Kathryn Anna Marshall : EMDR

(c) David L O’Nan

EMDR

left brain right brain
left brain right brain
reroute neural pathways
rewrite my own tale
left brain right brain
left brain right brain
reluctant loss of signposts
identity is frayed
left brain right brain
left brain right brain
I miss visceral pain
stomach rooted wail
left brain right brain
left brain right brain
I crawl out for nothing
blasted tears flow
left brain right brain
left brain right brain
body slam at memory
start of domino
left brain right brain
left brain right brain
small girl in my palm
wild feeling lives beside
power supplants harm

Bio
Kathryn Anna Marshall is a poet based in Shropshire. Her work is inspired by her experience of chronic illness, as well as her connection with the natural world. Kathryn has work in places like Mslexia, Popshot Quarterly, Streetcake, Sledgehammer and Words for the Wild. She is a columnist for Spelt Magazine, and is working on her first pamphl
et.

Poetry & Message from Church Rowe : A Song Stolen by the Wind

(c) Church Rowe

A Song Stolen by the Wind

i crack a knuckle and flex my neck
in hopes, a synapse may snap
a vision of wisdom about something
mundane, that i can sing atop a mountain
down to a people in pain

i feel a melody without words to sing
not that verbiage would mean anything
of value or worth to those that hurt,
ones that life has drug through dirt

i open a chorus, the wind sings back
a brazen, vigorous, purposeful attack
rocks roll under feet, i’m encircled
by my own song; drowned-out in defeat

my knees scuffed
i can’t get up
i’m slipping
down this mountain
hands gripping
broken nails digging
for a single stable root
gulps and guttural grunts
i try to get up
but
panic’s
.
afoot
.
.
(breathe)
.
.
mine own whirlwind of syllables
threatens my footing
of who I am
of who I could be
this unending struggle
with deficiency;
may I once
sing
free?

i think i’ve tapped into my insecurities (again). I have pretty severe stage fright and social anxiety. This usually leads to long internal bouts with MDD, which may come as a surprise to some, but it’s all too true. I’ve sung countless times on stage, hearing my warbling voice try to maintain authority in the speakers; and fail. I’ve looked down to physically see my legs shaking through my pants, so I would sit down on an amp, but the nervous energy just moves elsewhere. I’ve played the wrong-est notes, at the wrong-est times, out of sheer panic, throughout many years on a church stage. Yet, the hundreds of times I’ve been on stage, it never goes away. The more I focus on it, the worse it gets. However, if I don’t pay attention, it also gets out of hand. And, not just ‘the stage’, either. I get over-stimulated when there are many moving parts (read: the general public), my mind starts to race and I can’t keep up with everything around me. I don’t need to keep up with things, but someone please tell my mind that. There are more than a dozen times that I’ve blacked-out from my brain running away without my permission – panic attacks. Most of the time, I am unaware that it’s happening, until I’m waking up to “WTF? and where am I? how many people saw? …I want to go home.”

Doc and I have been working on it for quite a few years, now. Meds are great, but at 43 years old, habits are hard, more so are mindsets. I support the Big 3: Exercise, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & meds (if necessary). I know medication gets a bad wrap, but as a person who’s tried many substances, don’t knock it until you’ve fully tried it (good fixes usually aren’t quick). There’s no reason to get beat up (mentally) while fighting something you can’t win. It’s unfortunate, but no one will see the badges of your fight with your depression. People just won’t see it, especially if you’re strong. Set that fight down and lean on someone else for help. As it’s Mental Awareness Month (I’m a little late), I figure I’ll just put this out there. Of course, my issues are not your issues and we are all in a different place. But, if you feel alone, your brain’s lying to you. You are wrong.

I’ve watched my son, now 15, deal with the same thing; numerous panic attacks to the point of blacking out. Now that we know what’s happening, it can be somewhat managed. I’m only getting personal to tell somebody that not all things are environmental or circumstantial. If it is, change it. But apparently, sometimes, we are just biology gone awry, and we are vessels containing that mental wackiness. It’s not your fault. I thought I could fight it on my own, fix my own problem; I tried until my mid-30s. It was a waste of time to be arrogant.

Final Thought: This is not a sob story or looking for pity; please don’t do that. So many times poetry comes from a context-less place, that the reader must figure some interpretation out on their own. I’ve read my share of poetry and am always amused (mostly, enlightened) to hear the author’s version of their writ, so here’s mine.

Bio:

My name is Trinity Bourque (aka Church Rowe). I’ve been part of a few bands in the past currently in The Wanderer’s Drift. I am a 43-year-old, father of two, husband to one, from South Central, Louisiana (deep cajun country). I’m attempting to build a farm that produces organic vegetables; while holding down a part-time remodeling job. I’ve played/written music since I was about 12 years old. Since then my expressions have overflowed onto paper and computer keyboards. I enjoy playing music, listening to music, poetry, writing, typing, reading, camping (mostly primitive backpacking), and more recently, gardening and farming.

Interview with Paul Gilmartin of Mental Illness Happy Hour Podcast from Fevers of the Mind Issue 1 (2019)

from mentalpod.com (c) of Paul Gilmartin

Hi Paul & everyone at the Mental Illness Happy Hour blog & podcast Your podcast has been on my rotation ever since I began listening to podcasts around 2011. There are episodes you can laugh at, episodes that’ll make you cry, they always make you think. Episodes that can save people’s lives. I have been a sufferer of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Adhd, and have dealt with PTSD & horrible anxiety attacks, so your podcast & the guests that you obtain have resonated deeply with others and myself.

Q1: Paul, I know you have dealt with lots of anxieties, depression, PTSD, etc. You have never been afraid of giving your story of surviving hopeless 
 moments, and trying your best to turn them around. When did you decide to do the podcast full time? How many episodes in? 

PAUL: I think about six months into doing the podcast, my tv gig went away and I had lost interest in being a touring standup, so I felt like a door was open to the next phase in my creative life. I didn’t know if I would be able to support myself, but fortunately I have been able to so far. 

Q2: I know with the loss of some guests through the years, listening back to some of those interviews can be even harder to re-listen to. 
When listening back to those shows, could you detail certain verbiage that could have been warning signs of what were to come? 
Or with Brody Stevens for instance was there a feeling amongst the comedian community that his life would have spiraled towards the outcome where he took his own life? 

PAUL: Yes, it’s always hard when someone you’ve had an intimate conversation with loses their life especially thru suicide. The thing I always take note of when someone is telling their story is how serious they are about staying on top of their illness, addiction etc. I don’t remember feeling like “oh Brody is in trouble” but I do know that BiPolar I is a very heavy disorder that requires a lot of vigilance, patience etc. There isn’t necessarily any verbiage that I look for, it’s more of an attitude about the seriousness of what they’re up against and what their daily/weekly measure are to manage it - meds, therapy, support groups etc. 

Q3: When interviewing someone for the show, (or doing the questionnaire section of the show) do you ever have to pause the recording 
of the show because the stories become too emotional? 

PAUL: It’s pretty rare because the emotional moments are always my favorite parts. Sometimes people will ask that a part be cut out b/c they’re embarrassed about getting emotional, but I try to assure them that those are what make an episode great and inspire listeners to try opening up and being vulnerable, but ultimately I will take something out if my guest wants it taken out. 

Q4: I know you are a big fan of Hockey, and playing hockey. Has hockey always been your biggest release when anxieties become too 
strong in your life? 

PAUL: I’d say hockey, guitar and woodworking are my favorite hobbies. And, yes hockey is probably the best for releasing anxiety and getting some endorphins going. Plus, I think it helps with my self-esteem and helps me remember the positive things about my body rather than my expanding gut etc. The unhealthy ways I sometimes use to try to cope are sweets, video games, binge watching Netflix, etc. Fortunately, those are pretty in-check these days.

Q5: What do you find is the most common afflictions with other comedians you've interviewed? What about comedy draws people 
who have came from depression, or anxieties? 

PAUL: With comedians I think addictions, anxiety, low self-esteem (gotta look behind the bravado), insecurity and depression are the ones I see most often. Those are, actually the ones I also see most often in non-comedians. I don’t think comics are any different per se from the average person with issues it’s just that more comics seem to suffer than the average population. 

Q6: Please promote your website, your podcast release times, and any specific episodes in which you'd like to promote for new listeners of your program? Myself, i've always been drawn to the episodes with Maria Bamford. Oh, and what is the worst movie you've ever had to promote on Dinner and a Movie? Why isn't there a Dinner and a Movie channel like on Pluto TV like MST3K? 
Thanks Paul & Mental Illness Happy Hour for the interview. 


PAUL: Worst movie I think might have been Problem Child or Mr. Destiny. I had to break down and use the fast forward button which I almost never did. There were also movies that were awesomely entertaining b/c they were bad in the right way, like Roadhouse and Top Gun. Those were my favorites to air b/c they gave us something to satirize. I don’t think there are any particular eps to highlight, it just depends on what someone is looking for. Googling keywords and including “mentalpod” is a great way to find eps although some might be on the back catalogue which is currently unavailable. Any eps post Jan 2017 are available though. 
My pleasure David. 
http://mentalpod.com 
from Mentalpod.com