Calliope Writing

Mental Illness: My Brain Demons Want Me to Fail
July 25, 2016, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Books, inspiration, Music, Reading | Tags: , , ,

Let’s be gritty, raw, and real for a change. I always try to approach this blog with lightheartedness and wit (and I rarely talk about anything terribly personal), but today, I’d like to be brutally honest.

My Mental Illness

For the past two and a half years, I’ve struggled with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, both of which can be overwhelming, confusing, frustrating, and debilitating.

Chances are, some of you reading also have a demon in your brain – be it in the form of depression, anxiety, or another mental illness. After all, in 2014, it was estimated that approximately 18% of the United States adult population had one or more mental illnesses.

I’m finally on the upswing (thank whatever god(s) you believe in), but I think it’s time to add my voice to the others who have spoken out about their own personal demons.

My Support

Instead of starting out with how terrible my own experience with mental illness is, I’d like to focus on some of the things that helped (and are still helping) me get through it.

1. Books – The ultimate escape. HEX, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and Geek Love, just to name a few.


2. TMS – Transcranial magnetic stimulation. The TMS team of doctors and nurses at MUSC will always have a special place in my heart.

3. My husband – He has been there with me every step of the way, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

4. Music – There are some songs that just move me. Below is a playlist containing some of them.


5. Therapy – Art therapy, EMDR, CBT…it has all played a part in helping me get where I am.

6. Gardening – I have become a full-blown gardening addict. And I’m not ashamed of it! Growing plants from tiny seeds has given me the ultimate way to reconnect with nature.


7. Incredibly understanding employers, past and present – I can’t say enough about the kickass people at Palmetto Publishing Group and Media Shower.

So this is me, raw and unfiltered.

I may always try to put on a happy face on here, but the truth is: that happy face is, more often than not, cracked porcelain.

I don’t share this for pity. Instead, I share this so that if any of you are going through a particularly hellish period in your life, you will know two things: you can get through it and you are not alone.

-Reblogged- The Writer

Awesome John Steinbeck quote, courtesy of Literary.Land.of.Alysia


View original post

Book Haul Time! Check Out My Latest Bookstore Buys

After dinner with a friend, said friend asked for recommendations for good quote books. Since I don’t have any, I told her going to a bookstore and browsing was her best bet.

And what better time than right then?

So we headed to Barnes & Noble, and I all-too-quickly loaded up my arms with boooooookkkksss. My favorite thing.

Here’s what I got:

book haul bellman and black

What initially caught my eye about Bellman & Black wasn’t that I’d heard about it before, or that I was a fan of the author’s. No, it was the cover. I just dig a cool book cover.

Then I read the back cover blurb, and I was in:

Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget…

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

book haul creative writers notebook

I’m always looking for great tools and resources to help me become a better writer…especially since I’ve been struggling with writer’s block on and off for the past couple of years.

So picking up a copy of The Creative Writer’s Notebook: A Creative Journal for Fiction Writers was a no-brainer. The collection of writing exercises is set up journal-style – another plus for me, since I’m trying to journal on a regular basis.

book haul creative writers notebook interior

Tattooed-man paperweight not included.

book haul grays anatomy

I’ve been wanting a copy of Gray’s Anatomy for years now. I think it’s a must-have resource for writers and editors, particularly if and when the body and all of its parts come into play (think: fight scene, details about character’s injuries, etc.). This one includes the classic illustrations (see below), and it had a super affordable price tag.

book haul grays anatomy brain

book haul grays anatomy arm

So, yeah. Now I can know everything about anatomy. BOOM.

book haul notecards

Who doesn’t love getting a card in the mail? I’ve recently gotten more into sending notecards (thanks to the same friend who accompanied me to B&N the night I acquired these great finds), and these cards by Preserve Brands caught my eye. They’re handmade and brightly colored, on heavy and textured paper…and I love the flowers.

I mean, look at those sweet embossed flowers.

book haul notecards closeup

book haul nietzsche

In college, I took an existentialism class and LOVED it. I was introduced to Dostoevsky, Sartre, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, among others. So when I walked by a display with this copy of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, there was no hesitation.

And these uneven, rustic pages. I love these pages.

book haul nietzsche pages

book haul the bees

Last, but certainly not least, I picked up a hardcover copy of Laline Paull’s The Bees. First, look at that cover in detail:

book haul the bees closeup

Now read the back cover blurb:

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive’s survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all—daring to challenge the Queen’s fertility—enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society—and lead her to unthinkable deeds.

Call me crazy, but THAT sounds badass.

What books have you recently purchased, and which are you most stoked to read?

Freewrite Update!

I know – you’re wondering what the hell happened with my Freewrite. Well, as I mentioned earlier, there were technical difficulties. The good news? A Freewrite that works perfectly is now in my possession, so the writing has commenced.

Expect a thorough review in a week or two.


-Reblogged Content- Book Quote Corner
May 30, 2016, 11:17 am
Filed under: Books, Quotes, Reblogged Content | Tags: , , ,

I love A Writer’s Path’s Book Quote Corner–and this quote in particular.


A Writer's Path

View original post 31 more words

Coming Soon: Freewrite Review!
May 16, 2016, 2:21 pm
Filed under: Product Reviews, Writing Tips | Tags: , , , ,

As some of you know (via Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter), I received my Freewrite last week and am terribly excited about it.

freewrite boxWhat the hell is a Freewrite? From the website:

Freewrite Smart Typewriter

Distraction-free tool for writing composition

The Freewrite combines the simplicity of a typewriter with all of the modern conveniences of 2016.

  • E Ink screen with frontlight

  • Full-size mechanical keyboard feature Cherry MX keyswitches

  • Internal capacity for over one million pages

  • Document cloud sync through WiFi

  • International language support

  • Rugged construction with aluminum body and stowable handle

Hopefully I’ll have a review of the device posted soon.

Why not now? We’re having some:

technical difficulties

Which means I’ll be able to provide a review of both the Freewrite itself and the company’s customer service. Blessing in disguise.

What writing tool has you stoked?

-Reblogged- Write to Change the World
May 6, 2016, 9:18 am
Filed under: Reblogged Content, Writing Tips | Tags: , , ,

Incredible blog post on The Gloria Sirens. My favorite passages:

“We know—everyone reading this knows—that writing and reading is important. We know it is part of us, that we are people who understand the world through words. But still, we may sometimes need others to remind us that it’s not only ok, it’s important that we spend our time writing and reading. It’s important on the level of the self—as Anne Lamott says, “Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?” And it’s important on the level of the world, because we are changing other people with our words. We change their minds, we change their understanding. That’s what change is: ideas, transmitted in ways that influence people.”

“Whatever your age, remember that you are part of the revolution. Your words will change the world.”

The Gloria Sirens

—This is an adaptation of a speech given at Florida Gulf Coast University, at the behest of their Creative Writing Club and Sigma Tau Delta society.

books-1281581_1920 I feel at home in places of learning. I can feel the energy of so many minds at work, figuring things out, piecing together information, engaging with complexity, and creating art. It’s electric in that old sense, by which I mean it’s magic, really. Because in these places, what we do is valued: we are writers, we are critics, we wrestle with words and nuance, and that matters.

To know that what we do matters is to know that we matter.

Unfortunately, outside of these places, it is easy to forget that we matter, that writing matters. We know this already: family and friends who ask, “What are you going to do with an English major?” “How much does a teacher make?” and “Why…

View original post 805 more words

Art That Inspires and Makes Your Heart Sing

Inspiration is a funny thing. As a writer, I find inspiration in music, my surroundings, other books, people, outer space…and in art.

Following are just a few examples of art that I find terribly inspiring.

Twisted and SedonaTaylor Hollingsworth

Full disclosure: I know Taylor Hollingsworth personally. But that doesn’t keep me from getting inspired by her huge, emotion-inducing paintings.

Two of my favorites are Twisted – which strikes a chord with me due to my history of depression and anxiety – and Sedona – which I flipped over because of my recent obsession with the Southwest. I want to step into Taylor’s Sedona.

Ashley James Photography

Again, full disclosure: Ashley is one of my favorite people. But she also happens to be a damn fine photographer. Following are just a couple of my favorites of hers.

Pan II, Cy Twombly

Pan II

I’m a bit obsessed with the blog Bibliokept. And for good reason: there are always amazing pieces of art on display, including literature and song. Bibliokept is the reason I came across Cy Twombly’s Pan II.

I don’t love all of Cy Twombly‘s stuff, but Pan II…it grabs my heart for some reason. It makes me go to a place of anger and passion. It makes me feel. (Isn’t that what we writers strive to do? Make those who read or view our work feel something?)

Graham A. Stephen

I found Graham Stephen’s blog through another blog, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve become enamored with many of Graham’s photographs. Following are just a few.

Christina’s World, Andrew Wyeth

On a trip to NYC in junior high, I first saw Christina’s World in the Museum of Modern Art. I wanted to be Christina, lying in a field, away from reality and consumed with her own version of the world. These feelings still arise when I look at the painting.


Christina’s World, Andrew Wyeth

Splash of Colour,” IneseMj Photography

This is another photographer I found through a blog I follow, and I have so enjoyed sneaking a peek at her photos. A recent post titled “Splash of Colour” had a couple of images I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

Blue Nude, Pablo Picasso

I lack the skill to articulate how I feel when I look at this painting. Hopefully it will speak for itself.

blue-nude picasso

Blue Nude, Pablo Picasso – Courtesy of

This shit hits me right in the effing feels.

What about you? What artists or pieces of work stir your emotions?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,020 other followers

%d bloggers like this: