Bedlam and Other Stories

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Chipmunka Publishing, Jun 1, 2011
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DescriptionMark Fleming's debut novel 'BrainBomb' was published as a Chipmunka paperback in the summer of 2009, to rave reviews. Semi-autobiographical, it weaved a lurid diary of bipolar illness against a backdrop of historic fantasy and Edinburgh's punk scene. The short stories collected in Bedlam paint a broader picture. There are bipolar characters. There are others living with post-traumatic stress disorder. Or post-natal depression. Most cope with the stresses and shocks life throws at them. Some don't, resorting to drugs, even contemplating suicide. There is violence in these tales but it is not connected to any medical condition. It is there, in society, and the perpetrators are far more likely not to have a mental condition. What all the characters have in common is that they are ordinary people in sometimes extraordinary circumstances. If they have mental issues, there is nothing abnormal about them. It is simply because they are human. About the AuthorI have bipolar condition. I've enjoyed many years of good (medicated) health but when I was younger I had spells of severe depression and was sectioned twice - in 1987, and in 1990. job/passions in life - I have been passionate about creative writing for years. My later teens coincided with the punk rock scene in the 1970s. Like many of that generation I was inspired to 'start a band', so writing 'punk lyrics' became my introduction to sharing my life experiences. Into my 20s, this developed into poetry, then prose. I'd already had several short stories published before my first hospitalization. Recognising the therapeutic properties of writing, my psychiatrists encouraged me to write about bipolar life. Discovering chipmunka was the final piece in the jigsaw, inspiring me to delve into years of scribbled notes and create a complete novel (BrainBomb - itself named after a punk lyric!) Being a 'chipmunka author' has also helped me to get involved in the wider mental health community. As well as continuing to write fiction, I've written articles for mental health magazines, and have performed readings of my work at mental health awareness events. Away from writing, I still play guitar in a 'post-punk' band, entertaining pub audience in central Scotland, but my weekends are mainly devoted to entertaining my family (we have an 8-year-old daughter).

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