June 16, 2024
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‘Writing for All the Wrong Reasons’ Is a Powerful Journal in Poetry

Highlighting: ‘Writing for All the Wrong Reasons’ by Liat Silver. Full Court Press. 2020. English. Paperback. 94 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1946989734.

“Writing for all the Wrong Reasons” is an illuminating and sobering look into the world of mental health struggles converging with the journey and challenges of adolescence.

Liat Silver is a 20-year-old young woman currently residing in Israel and studying communications. The Jewish Link spoke with Silver about her book of poetry, asking first the obvious question: Why “Wrong” in the title?

Silver responded with several reasons. “The title of the book comes from a line in one of the poems. That poem was penned after years of writing, at an older age and closer to the completion of the book.” She explained that originally she wrote as a way to heal and release issues that were troubling to her, never intending to share her words or publish her work. Later, Silver said, “I started writing in hopes of fixing things beyond my control.”

When she did decide to share her work, people enjoyed the poetry and wanted more, so she began to include topics that she thought others would enjoy. “Publishing the book was to provide closure and cleansing for myself, to return to writing for myself, as well as sharing with the hope of helping others if I could.”

The cover art by Esther Brodsky is a beautiful gold embossed sketch of a manual typewriter. When Silver realized that the book was becoming a reality, “I reached out to my best friend Esther Brodsky to help make a cover that would capture the idea of my writing and of the typewriter. … There’s something more human about using a typewriter, more hands-on.”

On the sensitive topic of mental health, The Jewish Link asked Silver whether she felt comfortable addressing some of the issues that gave rise to her poetry. “With the publication of the book, I’ve become more comfortable talking about my own mental health, though admittedly it was a bit terrifying in the beginning. … There’s a bit of a stigma when it comes to mental health, which makes people not want to talk about their own experiences. Yet, people are unaware of how common these challenges can be.

“I was diagnosed with depression when I was 13, and with anxiety not much later. I could barely get out of bed some days, and the idea of seeing people terrified me. I physically harmed myself and thought about taking my life a few times, the worst years being between 13 and 17 years old.”

It has taken years of therapy, medication, monitoring and writing to reach this point, and Silver said she still sometimes has hard days. She said her mom refers to these days as “waves,” when the depression surfaces and drags her under.

The book is dedicated to Silver’s parents, and she also speaks of them throughout the poetry. “I have so much appreciation for how my parents were with me at my worst. It was tough on them learning to live with and care for someone who was considered a danger to themselves. They were in uncharted territory.”

Silver noted that her parents and siblings had to make many adjustments in the process. “My mom told me about famous people who experienced similar bad days, like Winston Churchill, who referred to it as ‘his black dog’.” Hearing about similar challenges of others helped her realize she wasn’t weak; that it’s just part of the process and doesn’t have to prevent the accomplishment of great things.

“I wish I could do more than writing a dedication to my parents and family, but for now it’s one of the ways I can show how grateful I am for them,” she acknowledged.

The Jewish Link asked Silver why she chose poetry as a medium rather than writing a more traditional book or autobiography. “I haven’t lived (long) enough to write an autobiography, but I’ve been writing poetry for half of my life. Poetry is so powerful. The words reach deeper and allow readers to feel more than a traditional book might allow.

“When addressing a topic as important as mental health and my personal experience, I want people to know how I was feeling. No filtering.”

“Writing for All the Wrong Reasons” is available on www.amazon.com.

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