ARE YOU OR HAVE YOU EVER REALLY BEEN SUICIDAL?
In my note in the book I have answered this question. Still, some individuals believe there is no way I
could have written these poems without maybe feeling a little suicidal, or depressed. Yes, I have felt
depressed, but I have activities that I involve myself in to lift myself out of a depressive frame of
mind. For example, I have a list of ten different things I like to do which make me feel good. Some
of those things are: writing short stories, reading, writing songs when playing my guitar or keyboard,
and of course, most of all, I write poetry. I never, ever, turn to drugs or alcohol to make those
depressive feelings go away. So, when I’m feeling down and out, I turn to my list of things I like to
do, select an activity, and I do it. Before I know it, I’m feeling good again. I especially like watching
movies and I have an extensive collection of movies on DVD from which to choose, and comedies are
especially great to lift my spirits.
WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR IDEA OF SUICIDE FOR THE THEME OF THE BOOK?
There are in this country organizations that provide mental health services to children under the age of
eighteen, as well as behavioral health services for children and their families.
One day, a friend of mine made a comment how all of the children in her class, at one time or another,
had tried to commit suicide, and many were still suicidal. What saddened her most were the
comments the children made during conversations with her. One boy said, “I’m going to take a pill
and sleep myself to death!” Another said, “I’m going to cut myself.” Some other comments were, “I
hate my life,” “I’m going to drown myself,” “No one loves me,” “I’m going to jump off a roof,” and
one girl in particular said, “I’m just a throw-away child.” This last comment is indeed sad. That’s
when I got the idea.
I asked my friend to make a list of these comments and email the list to me. And she did. I then took
each comment and made it a title of a poem. I made up my mind that I was going to write a poem for
each comment made. Before I knew it, I had 50 poems for my book. But I couldn't leave it at that. I
had another idea to go with the first.
Like all stories, there is a beginning, middle, and an ending. So, I came to divide my book into three
parts, Journey into Hell, Purgatory, and Rebirth. The first part presents the poems of suicide as if told
by one sole individual, the persona of the book. The persona speaks to us directly, and presents to us
what could be going through one’s mind when living life seems futile, until the persona actually
succeeds in committing suicide, and winds up, in neither heaven nor hell, but in purgatory; a last-
chance place to decide whether or not to live or truly die. It is in purgatory the questions about life are
asked. Then there’s an epiphany, the one thought that makes the persona of the book realize life is
worth living, which takes the persona to part three, The Rebirth, where life goes on, and hopefully for
HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR THE PHOTO ON THE BOOK'S COVER?
Originally, I was going to use my daughter, Chloe, seated in the chair depicted in the photo. The chair
was to be near a window, behind the chair a bookcase, a table near the chair with flowers on it, and
possibly a gun, razor blade, or bottle of pills also on the table. The person seated in the chair would be
looking at the flowers as if contemplating their beauty. Then my daughter said maybe I should leave
all obvious evidence of suicide out of the photo since the title, The Suicide Sonnets, says it all, and
leave the chair empty, and let the people wonder what happened to the person. I thought she had a
great idea. So I gave the designers at Xlibris.com the idea and they came back with numerous
photos. As soon as I saw the photo, I said that’s the one! Then they took it one step further. To give
the letter on the table more importance, since it hints at a suicide note, the designers used the curtain as
a sheet of paper and made it seem as if the person had written the note on the curtain. So far,
everyone loves that photo.