5Q :: Shakopee writer chronicles his ‘Descent Into Madness’Tim Lundmark’s “My Descent Into Madness” isn’t your average chapbook — it was originally intended to be his suicide note to the world.
Shakopee’s Tim Lundmark is confronting his mental illness head on. He recently released a collection of poems called “My Descent Into Madness,” and he doesn’t mince words about its original intent: it was composed as his suicide note.
Lundmark was gracious enough to answer some questions from the Budgeteer about initial reactions to his not-to-be-taken-lightly chapbook and how he’s holding up:
Budgeteer: What have reactions been like from people who have already read “My Descent Into Madness” — especially those of your family and friends?
Lundmark: My wife has been impacted the most by this book; I don’t think she has read it cover to cover. She has a hard time distinguishing between the mental illness and herself. She feels that she or the kids are responsible for the darkness. In reality, they are what keep me going in life. Without their light I would truly be lost.
The feedback from friends and strangers has been very positive. I have been told that it is very powerful and moving. I had a co-worker reading it in my office and it moved her to tears.
When I first self published the book on www.lulu.com, the book was reviewed by Karen Mason from “I Heard it on the Grapevine.” She wrote: “Lundmark’s book reads as an ode to the American Dream gone wrong. Most of his poems are dark reflections on mental illness and a man struggling to cope with the society in which he lives.”
My extended family has not given me any feedback, good or bad.
Did putting your self-destructive thoughts down on paper help lift you “out of the fog,” or were there other contributing factors?
The writing was therapeutic. I think that if I was not writing and kept my feelings to myself, the outcome would have been much different. Throughout the book I attempt to not only convince myself that death was not the answer but also that everyone would be better off without me. This internal struggle within me went back and forth until my last entry in my journal which admitted defeat and [said Feb. 8, 2010, would be the day I would end my life].
The other factors were my wife and kids. I had a hard time with choosing which was worse: the internal pain or the pain that it would cause my family. My wife was the one who suggested turning this into a book, which gave me hope of fulfilling a dream.
Anyone who has been shrouded in complete darkness knows the feeling of hopelessness. This feeling, along with everything else, blinds you from seeing what good you have in your life.
Now that you seem to be in a better place mentally, do you foresee your next writing project to be more uplifting, or do you still have some issues you’d like to work out with the written word?
I am currently working on a few separate projects. The first is a series of children’s books; I am almost to the illustration phase. I have a great artist and friend, Tim Bush, and we hope to create a unique book that teaches morals, has comic book-style artwork and makes it fun for parents to read to their children.
My other project is a theological book that is certain to cause controversy that rivals that of [Dan Brown’s] “The Da Vinci Code.”
I also have a blog … where I work out my other issues. (See “News to Use” section below.)
I am dedicating half of the proceeds of this and any other book toward creating the Bucket List Foundation. The foundation will ensure that the elderly in our country have the things they need, and will offer the opportunity to fulfill their own “bucket list.” Along with this, we will ensure that no one will be alone in their final days. It is about forming bonds and fulfilling dreams of the forgotten.
When you’re not busy creating, what are you reading? Who are some of your inspirations?
I am currently reading “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao” by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. I would have to say that this is the greatest book I have ever read. I work on a daily basis to live that wisdom.
First and foremost I find inspiration in my family; beyond that I find inspiration from anyone who lives their life with the motto “how may I serve.” I feel that people who help their fellow man/woman should be inspirations to all of us.
Finally, are your kids old enough to read your book’s press materials and realize what its original intent was? How do you approach the subject with them?
I do not allow my children to read interviews, press releases or reviews.
They know that I have written a book, but they are not aware of its content. The subject about my mental illness is tricky because they can see that there is something wrong with me. They see all the meds I take and wonder what they are for. I try and tell them that my brain does not work like other people’s, so I take medicine to fix that.
The older they get, the more direct I will be. I would like to give one example: This last Sunday an episode was triggered, and I started to blink so bad that my face was scrunching repeatedly. My daughter was concerned and asked what was wrong. I said everything was alright, but I could see that she was affected by this. I pulled her aside and explained that the combination of visual and audio stimulation causes my brain to malfunction. I want my children to know that this is an illness, and that it has nothing to do with them.
NEWS TO USE
“My Descent Into Madness” can be purchased at www.publishamerica.net/product88555.html. However, if you want learn more about it, read Tim Lundmark’s blog at www.mydescentintomadness.wordpress.com or e-mail the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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