Stunned by Alexis Zinkerman’s “Metronome”

The gifted author/poet Alexis Zinkerman

 

 

Alexis Zinkerman is a journalist, poet, and mental health advocate, and she has bipolar one disorder. She holds an MA in Writing from DePaul University, and her novella Brooklyn’s Song is available on Amazon. Alexis was first diagnosed with bipolar in 1996, but it took her many more years to find the right treatment course.

I discovered Alexis’ blog A Mile A Minute – Refreshing Takes on Mental Health through her International Bipolar Foundation blog. She also has a website right here where you can sign up for her Love Notes newsletter.

Alexis is the reason why I broke my “I Only Donate to One NAMI Participant/Year” rule.

When it comes to NAMI walks, I’ve always donated to my dear friend, the advocate/blogger Kitt O’Malley. (Follow her blog here!)

But I made an exception for Alexis. You’ll see why after you read her April 14th post “You Can Help Too. No Amount Is Too Small” which I’ve copied, in part, below. (I changed the color settings and font sizes found on the original post.)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To celebrate I will be running/walking in a 5K to help NAMI-CT. NAMI-CT offers support groups for people with mental health conditions as well as monitors legislative activity at the state level on mental health policy. They also educate schools and parents on mental illness. I wrote their annual report a few years ago.

This is a cool organization and I hope you’ll help me if you can…I sincerely understand if funds are tight for you, readers. But if anyone out there wants to forgo that morning coffee and support a great cause, no amount is too small. All your donations will go directly to NAMI-CT. I have been training for this 5K for over a year now with strength training and running on the treadmill and outside when weather permits. I will think of all my readers as I run/walk this event.

And…anyone who donates will receive a personalized poem from me on the topic of their choice.” 

 

I donated $10 to Alexis’ NAMI group, and this is the poem she wrote for me:

 

Metronome

Stability.

Why am I this dried up

when on meds?

Lithium, you save my soul

but

I no longer have the creativity

and manic energy

I need to function

There are manic floods

and depressive droughts

Then, there are droughts

caused by the meds

Droughts where you feel

nothing

not the highs or the lows

The doctor evened you out

so you forgot how to feel

I want to be manic again

so I can sing poetry to the sky,

write all night,

be super-productive…

I want to be manic again

I miss my creative thoughts

coming at rapid speeds faster

than I can write them down

But the drought of no emotion

is here to stay

I must re-learn how to feel

what everyone else feels

without the extremes.

I don’t like it this way

but at least, I have a life.

 

(c) Alexis Zinkerman

 

After I read Metronome, I emailed Alexis. This is an excerpt of that message:

My god, you have the poetic gift, Alexis!

I'll start with the title:  Metronome.

Well, it's perfect in many ways. It brought back memories of my 
violinist Dad's metronome ticking away in his practice room which 
was next to my bedroom. I found it to be an object of fascination 
as a little girl.

I'll be honest - I'm usually not a poetry fan. I've never 
gravitated to the majority of the poems of Madeleine L'Engle & L.M.Montgomery, my two favorite authors. They were *big* on writing 
poetry, and they frequently referenced others' poems in many of 
their works.

Your style reminds me of Madeleine L'Engle's: bold, vivid, and true

Your amazing piece spoke to me.
First off, I could understand it - that's a major plus.
There are soooo many poems that are beautiful to read, but frankly I have no idea what they're about, therefore I get frustrated and Ifeel dumb.

Not so with yours! Hurrah!

Second, you get bipolar. You clearly understand mania and what 
lithium can do. In a remarkably concise way, you express this 
complex mood disorder (including the hypergraphia I had) so 
poignantly and lyrically.

Wow!  Just wow!

 

Please consider donating a few dollars to Alexis’ team (and Kitt’s, if you’re flush with cash! 😉 and you’ll be thrilled when you receive a personalized poem in return.

You can follow Alexis on Twitter: @azinkerman

Next Friday, my friends I’ll publish a post about how my first talk for Toastmasters went.  I’m scheduled to do it on May 3rd.  It’ll be a tale of sweat, tears, anxiety, and (hopefully) triumph for making it through the four-six minute speech without passing out.

I’ll try to record it so I can share it with you here.  In the meantime, take good care of yourselves!

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

 

Dyane Harwood’s memoir is Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Dr. Henshaw is the co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatric Disorders, 2nd Edition published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in March 2017.

Birth of a New Brain will be published by Post Hill Press on October 10th, 2017, and it’s available for paperback pre-sales on Amazon here; Kindle pre-sales are coming this summer!

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29 thoughts on “Stunned by Alexis Zinkerman’s “Metronome”

  1. Hello, my dear friend,

    Thank you so much for all your posts about bipolar. I’m receiving quite an education, and this post is no exception!

    I’m surprised that lithium is still being used–wish there was something that did the same thing for people without making them feel an absolute lack of creativity. I can understand why people wouldn’t want to take it.

    Thank you for this!

    Carol

    1. Thank you, sweet Carol, for stopping by ye olde blog!

      Actually, once I found the right dosage of lithium, I became a creative gal! I wrote my book and music, and I was basically myself again! It’s so frustrating (and this applies to many meds) that one person’s salvation can smother one’s joy/creativity, not to mention harm that person’s kidneys. 😦

      But it seems that lithium helps an enormous amount of people without dulling their spark – they just don’t speak up like yours truly! 😉

      I’ve been enjoying those spectacular redwoods @ Fall Creek again – the mud is almost gone. Hurrah!!! I was hiking alongside the park at dusk the other night (which I try not to do – ever – because it’s when the mountain lions like to emerge, right?) and I spotted a teen couple in the distance – they had tied a hammock to some trees, and it looked like they were going to stay all night, but maybe not…I hadn’t seen that before. :0

      Hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, my friend!!

      Much love,
      Dy

    1. I knew you’d appreciate Alexis’ gracious & creative offering, Sara!
      It looks like you’ve been having such a blast across those 5,000+ miles (!) at your book readings and attending the LitFest activities – it’s fun to read about your adventures & check out the photos. Everything looks fabulous, except I think I need to see a picture of a cake or two….or three?
      🍰

  2. As I wind down for bed, I just thought I’d drop by with a hello and yes, gosh, what a poem! Very beautiful, and for a beautiful cause. Thanks for sharing, O Lovely Lady of the Bean SpyDy! xxxxxxxxxx

    1. Oh, I always love it when I see you’ve stopped by, my Java Queen. ☕️
      I am SO BEHIND on reading my beloved blogs, and speaking of behinds,
      I’m dying to read your latest constipation post!!!

      I will get over there to your (sadly constipated, but hopefully not for long…) World!

      Wild horses 🐴and Wild mountain lions, for that matter, cannot stop me!!!!

      🌺🌷🌹🌻

  3. I wasn’t familiar with the term hyper graphic and had to look it up on Wikipedia. Did you know the entry there references your upcoming book?

    1. Hi there Stine! (a.k.a. BipolHer -that’s such a cool variation!)

      Yes, when I first read the Wikipedia entry about hypergraphia in 2015, I noticed Dr. Alice W. Flaherty and her book “The Midnight Disease” were referenced. Dr. Flaherty plays an important role in my book; I’ll spare you the details, but she wound up being incredibly kind and helpful to me. Her book is fascinating as well.

      After I spotted Dr. Flaherty’s name on that Wiki page, I opened an account on Wikipedia. I added my information to that page about how my hypergraphia was triggered by postpartum bipolar so that readers would know that postpartum bipolar could cause hypergraphia. I didn’t feel it was against Wiki’s rules to do that, and it has stayed up there for over a year. Hopefully, it will stick around! 😉

    1. Thanks so much, lovely Lady Samina! 😉 Yes, the poem is all too familiar to us, isn’t it? I love how you ended your comment, though – you’re right, we’re alive, and we won’t give up hope that things will get better. We’re both survivors, right?

      You’ve been through sheer hell, my dear. I pray that some serious good will come into your life
      immediately (!) to balance out that darkness. It’s high time for some happy in Lady Samina’s life!

      XOXOOXOX,
      Lady Dy

  4. What an awesome and powerful poem, it was like it was written about my life. It’s amazing how some people just get it and can be so creative as well as being leaders and help us see another version of us. Moving, thoughtful and strong words

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Raegina! I feel the same way as you – Alexis simply has the poetic gift. You can’t buy that quality on Amazon, although I sure wish I could LOL! (Well, I can buy her novella, but not her talent! 😉 I also loved how she tailored it for me in *certain ways, yet her piece speaks to virtually anyone who has experienced bipolar disorder.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read “Metronome” – I know you have plenty going on over there in OZ. I’m sending good thoughts your way! Xo, Dy

      *The musical reference based on my father, a professional violinist
      * hypergraphia

      1. Thanks Dyane. There is something uplifting when reading about something you identify with – I think reading her poem really resonated with me and in a strange way allowed me some freedom. I wish talent was packaged – it would make our lives so much easier to know what it is we are meant to do. LOL

    1. I’m so glad that you took a look at Alexis’ writing – there’s something about her style that reminds me of yours. You’re both powerful writers who know how to get to the marrow of a topic, even when it’s fiercely personal! I have always connected to what you call your “prose poems. Short jabs of non-fiction.”

      As you know, I read so many blog posts. Okay, I’ll admit I often read TOO many blog posts!
      Due to my foggy brain, I’ve forgotten a lot of those posts. However, I haven’t forgotten your riveting “Bad Mom” (both written & spoken) and I could never forget the shocking, haunting “The Rebel and His Mother” – those two pieces have burned themselves into my brain.

      “Bad Mom” is here:

      https://kittomalley.com/2014/06/17/bad-mom/

      “The Rebel and His Mother”

      https://kittomalley.com/2014/06/15/the-rebel-and-his-mother/

  5. “Wow” is the word for it! Definitely captures the heart of the matter!

    (And what a coincidence, I had the pleasure of hearing a beautiful piece of classical music TODAY preceeded and accompanied by a metronome. It’s something you don’t think about every day.)

    1. That’s incredible, Michelle, that you read this post on the same day you heard classical music accompanied by a metronome! That is a very good sign, and I love coincidences like that…

      I always love reading your comments because you hone in on the most profound & relevant points/meanings in a post.

      Come to think of it, lovely SuperMommy Extraordinaire, I wish YOU posted more often (who can forget that HILARIOUS “Mommy Résumé” you wrote!!!!???) but I *KNOW* you’re busy!!!!!

      For those reading this reply, if you haven’t read Michelle’s Résumé, it’s a must-read!

      Mommy Résumé link:

      https://supermommyoftwins.com

    1. I know! 🙂

      I think it’s just the coolest idea!
      I wish my Dad was still alive to read it because he was a poetry fan (and you know he had bipolar one) and he would’ve loved what Alexis wrote.

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