Next to Normal – the Geography of a Spotless Mind.

You don’t fit in – you never have.

I am Midwest from a distance, but TImes Square up close – sensory overload in less than a minute.

A quiet day in Vermont turns into nightlife in Sydney, Australia – money and intrigue lead to impulsive decisions.

I speak different, I look different, I act different – but we will still connect if only for a few minutes.

Like the Phantom, your curiosity wants to know how this will pan out. Did you want Cats instead?

I present myself like Julie Andrews, domesticated and somewhat efficient, but the darkness rivals the demon barber of fleet street.

The information dump is like the Putnam County Spelling Bee – you were expecting Hairspray – a little too plastic, but I need a friend, I just focus on all the other qualities that I like about you.

You recall the play Next to Normal – how it ended early for you. You walked out during electric shock therapy. You remember you can keep it light – you have seen the Blue Man Group – aren’t they also beautiful from a distance, but bizarre up close.

You’ve been hidden in plain sight like the purloined letter, or the quilts that lead slaves to safety on the railroad that they built. My gray hoodies accomplished that.

Oh then there’s Zelda and Marilyn – you don’t want to be them – you don’t want to sin, die, cope, use like they did, not for a minute.

Look – you have quilted, rejected authority, are starting a Thought Revolution. I can even relate to Ms. Tubman for a minute.

You are out of the woods on the bad decisions and hallucinations – you come out of the woods as Emily Dickinson – poetic and preserved.

Be not afraid – I let stink bugs out instead of killing them.

You are now next to normal (once again?) And I didn’t even need shock therapy – the therapy you got is leading to the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They have meetings – a format like AA. Peer support – perhaps you or someone you know is suffering. Robin Williams and Chris Cornell felt something like this in the moments before they ended their life. Please listen if you cannot relate. Listening saves lives.

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