Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Recommended Reading: Comic Book Writer Matt Fraction on Depression

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Last week, writer Natalie Zed graciously pointed me in the direction of this piece and it has been on my mind ever since. In it Eisner Award-winning comic book writer Matt Fraction magnificently responds to a difficult question from a reader about suicide and depression.

“Can't there be someone out there who genuinely is tired and doesn't want to continue?”

Fraction’s response is amazingly candid—not the usual shallow self help platitudes about how there’s “so much to live for” or “how it can’t be that bad,” but instead an encouragement to hold close to one small, seemingly absurd thing, and to summon a feeling to care about its outcome.

“All you need is that one tiny thing, that speck, that little grain of sand," he says. "The World Series, Avengers 2, Tina Fey’s new show, the first issue of Pretty Deadly, some slice of the world you’ve never seen, some drink you love, who the fuck will love your dog like you do if you’re gone, what if J Abrams kills it on the new Star Wars, the hell are you doing for Halloween, you ever feed a dolphin with your bare hand? Because I have and I am fucking telling you is is a thing to experience and oh god what fucking font will Starbucks use on the Christmas sleeves this year—I don’t care what or how dumb but I promise you somewhere in your life is that one fleck of dust that can help start you on the road back. That’s all it takes.”

Fraction’s response points to something I’ve always believed that I’ve never really been able to articulate. It is those seemingly insignificant—even silly—details and “distractions” in life that keep us moving forward. The things that we have a rabid, inexplicable love and desire for and no clear idea why. It’s why fandom exists. It’s why we obsess over the minutia of pop culture. It’s why I traveled all the way to baseball’s spring training and watched pointless games played by players that didn’t end up making it to a major league game. It’s also why sometimes great literature and high art doesn’t always cut it.

We need meaningless things to create meaning, rather than having it shoved down our throats. I have lots of them in my life, most of which are terribly uncool, but I can do without coolness if it ultimately leads to wellness.

“A song, a comic, something dumb, something small. From that seed can come everything else, I swear to god.”

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Stacey May Fowles

Stacey May Fowles is a writer and magazine professional living in Toronto. She is a regular contributor to The National Post books section and currently works at The Walrus. Her latest novel is Infidelity, out this fall with ECW Press.

Go to Stacey May Fowles’s Author Page