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Day In The Life Of A Psychiatric Inpatient - A Short, Short Story


wanderinstar
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In the first six months of this year I took a writing class at university and had a shot a writing a Short Story, Creative Non-Fiction, Sonnet, Tanka (poem) and Sketch for theatre. I learnt a great deal, especially the fact that I know so little about writing!

 

In the medium term I intend to publish a memoir on a topic I have yet to narrow down, but I am guessing christianity and mental illness will feature prominently. I am deliberately taking a writing minor in my degree (Photomedia major) so I will have the skills to create something a respectable publishing house will take on, to increase the impact of the book and make it worth reading. It is possible I will either discover I am not talented enough or simply spend my energies on photography (where I am intending to make a living) but at present I feel it will be both freeing for me (to get it out of my system and onto paper) and help others in similar circumstances.

 

Anyways, I am just wondering if, based on this example of my writing, anyone here thinks I am in with a chance of creating such a book as I know there are millions out there with the same dream so I don't presume I have anything better to offer than they. I did get distinctions and high distinctions for my work so I do have some confidence in myself and will not be massively swayed by one persons response; but the feedback is always helpful. 

 

Here it is;

 

The Ward

 

Head down, John shuffled out of his room and began his slow passage down the long, cold corridor to the nurse’s station. Occasionally he managed to look up, but even then his chin barely left his chest.

 

 

‘Mornin’ John’ said Lydia, a friendly junior nurse, as she bustled past.

 

John’s face flickered briefly, attempting to smile, then returned to the blank expression it held every day. Soon after this Janet turned the corner and walked towards John on her way back to her room. Although she had spent time with him in therapy groups she was conflicted over whether or not she should say hello. Undecided she remained silent, managing a brief smile as she passed. Still, John’s eyes never left the smooth, grey floor.

 

Sarah stood still at the half-opened door, her trembling hand gripping the door handle. Although her eyes were facing into her hospital room, she saw the room she had as a child; and that terrified her. Sarah knew these were just memories but she could not bring herself to enter her room. Her heart raced as her panic grew rapidly. She was holding her breathe, frozen in time like a living photograph.

 

‘Sarah?’ Lydia’s gentle voice appeared to her left. ‘Are you ok?’

 

Sarah turned her head towards the voice. The movement broke her from her spell and she began gasping for breath.

 

‘It’s ok love. Take slow, deep breathes.’ Sarah slowed her breathing down. She trusted Lydia. She was safe. ‘That’s right. You’re going to be fine.’

 

‘Th…Thanks’ Sarah almost whispered. ‘I think I will be ok now’

 

‘Alright Sarah. But you know where we are if you need anything’ Lydia smiled as she turned to head back down the corridor.

 

Immediately, Sarah rushed into her room and closed the door.

 

 

John, still on his slow procession down the ward, paused at Sarah’s closed door. He had wanted to help her before Lydia arrived but couldn’t respond fast enough. When he was young he had wanted to be a real hero, so he joined the Fire Department. Back then he was also convinced strong men didn’t get depression. He was wrong.

 

Suddenly realising he was still standing there staring at Sarah’s door, John began the series of subtle movements that provided the momentum his body needed to begin walking again. This took all the strength of his will. Few could now see that hero inside still fighting; he had never stopped fighting. After fifteen minutes John reached the nurses station. Shuffling his weight from foot to foot, he waited to be noticed rather than ring the bell. A few minutes later Lydia appeared in front of him.

 

‘Hi John. What can I do for you?’

 

‘My meds please.’ John mumbled softly.

 

As Lydia prepared his medication John glanced at the calendar on the wall. It was Tuesday. But what did that mean anymore? After two months the ward was a microcosm to which John now belonged, and every day felt the same on the ward. 

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The only way you'll know is to try, go for it. There are sites out there for people to practice their writing skills, one of them I'm aware of is fictionpress (I've never used it, so I can't say much about it but it is fanfiction.net's sister site). There is support out there for budding authors smile.png

 

So far I am interested to see more of this. 

 

One thing I will say, in this format, is to separate your paragraphs with an extra space. This will make it easier on the eyes to read.

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Thanks Seeker. Good suggestion. This is the only forum I am active on, and ever have been, but it is probably time I joined a writers one. I have been pretty withdrawn from life and contact with most people for so many years it is taking me a while to work up the courage to put myself out there creatively - people can say the stupidist things at times... These creative posts are the baby steps towards that I guess and I do also have a very real writers club at university to join when I am ready.

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This advice from someone close to the industry:

Now days publishers expect us to self publish first.  They want to know if something has an audience before they invest.  

Just write as much as you can; shorts, memoirs, fiction, non-fiction, everything.  Publish the pieces others like, not what you think they will like.   

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I like it; it's a nice vignette and well written. The only (very small) critism I would have is to go through it, as I always say, with the adjective broom. Adjectives and adverbs are your enemy. But I don't think its a major problem here.

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I like it; it's a nice vignette and well written. The only (very small) critism I would have is to go through it, as I always say, with the adjective broom. Adjectives and adverbs are your enemy. But I don't think its a major problem here.

 

Thanks. Good point about the adjectives, I do always tend to over-describe things. 

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