But the dark pines of your mind dip deeper
And you are sinking, sinking, sleeper
In an elementary world;
There is something down there and you want it told.

~ Excerpt from Gwen MacEwen’s Dark Pines Under Water

This isn’t a fun topic to write about or even to exhibit to the rest of the blog world for that matter. It’s not, not, not anything spectacular, special, silly, experimental in the writing and written worlds of the word but what it is, I can tell you is real and raw. Something I have much to resonate with. C.S. Lewis and The Problem of Pain. No, it isn’t cancer but it may be akin to a sort of cancer of the mind, I suppose.

This is my final week of my first year with the UBC Creative Writing program, optional residency, and I’m really quite baffled at the fact that this is it. It is nearing the end of April, the buds on tress have sprouted, flowers bloom. May is just round the corner. I’m still trying to let go and realize that I am, officially, no longer a Creative Writing newbie, I’m in the middle of this journey, this MFA program, muddling my way through it.
I guess that’s what the end of first year is all about, even when it is a distance learning MFA that can take anywhere between 2 to 5 years to complete. I digress.

The stress of this month accompanied by the fact that I moved, again, in February and wasn’t able to finish the second semester with the potential, commitment and practice that I know I am capable of, is upsetting.
But, despite all the issues a writer, like myself, tends to have, I know I did my best under the circumstances.

Being a depressive is not something I want to believe I chose. It’s partly hereditary for me and it’s also chemical and societal. Any person without a stable job for an extended period of time, without financial independence, without certain supports would be prone to depression. Yet, some of us, are afflicted with something other, a compelling need to create and diffuse the depressive circumstance(s), state(s) etc.
And I am, in theory, as this cannot be proven, at times, inclined to believe that depressives are prone to a self-absorption that results in a chemical, mental, biological combination that is weaved through the complex system that is body, mind, spirit connection – animus. In Italian, my second language, it is referred to as l’anima. I don’t know what else to call it. Virginia Woolf had it, Sylvia Plath had it, Anne Sexton had it, Gwendolyn MacEwen had it, I have it. Ouch. I don’t always want to associate myself with these women. There is something all engrossing about each of them. So inspiring and yet with such passion and power of spirit, their inner demons/daemon were/was also so magnificent and large.

What I do know is that in my current situation, circumstances, state I need medication and without it I become a dangerous hazard to myself. It is so terribly upsetting and sad–such affliction. We, depressives, now have so much more consciousness due to those that came before us, especially, writers and poets; we have witnessed what our brothers and sisters of the word have done before us. And I aim to persist, persist.

My medication keeps me buoyant, without it I no longer can function but that is the harsh reality of taking the prescriptions. I want to believe a 50K job in editing or for a publishing company, a regular healthy gym program or sport with lots of social interaction could be the perfect cure-all, along with a steady home that I have ample space to lounge around in and write and where I feel I am in absolute control would be the great cure-all to this yet, I know that is not the case. The world is full of adversity; it thrives on itself for such as a means to persist. There is bright day. There is the dark night. There is the sombre day. There is the enriched night. So, in dwelling to attempt to complete this education program for an unknown future, find suitable employment, and keep the body intact as each year it begins to slowly seep down into the gravitational pull of age, the depression persists and structure is necessary, mindful practice of mental health is necessary, purging is necessary. Poetry is a deadly delight. Dialogue and Drama is a tragic persistence of memory and self-actualization. Prose, a journey into play and fetish. Non-Fiction a confession of half-truths, great lies and pardonable mysteries.

It’s been 4 days without my medication and I have fallen a great swoop into the valley of the shadow. It’s been a great reminder of my persistence of my person of how important compassion is to the human psyche. And yet among this city of writers, poets and dramatists, there is so little of it. We run a mock without our drug–the words. When we have them we are content; we love ourselves, everyone, everything. When we are without, our venoms burst forth like possessed beings, we regurgitate profanity and harbor little to offer ourselves with great creative inspirations.

Embracing Wreckage. A shelter or an attic room. A missing home. Forget the bhudda. Forget Shiva. Forget paradise. This work has a deficiency.

The Under

something took hold

a seizure of spirit perhaps

a contemplation of longing
an expansion of space 

now become narrow where it had been
wide more wide where it had been narrow

a new interior room, an attic
shut for sixty-seven years 

but not hollow

somehow, a pulse, permitting movement 

~ Sonia Elizabeth Di Placido


2 thoughts on “Depressives

  1. Under the heading: “Depressives” you’ve included an excerpt from Gwen MacEwen’s Dark Pines Under Water. If you would get a deeper understanding of Gwen, you really should read Mighty Oaks, which covers the time that Gwen and Milton Acorn were first very happily, and then unhappily married. Mighty Oaks is available from


    • Hi Lorne:

      Thanks for the comment. I know about Milton Acorn’s & Gwen MacEwen’s relationship; that it was quite tumultuous in the earlier days of hers and his career as a poet.
      I will look up the book and see if I can read it. ; )



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