MThese are excerpts taken from my second book, “Cherry Blossoms & Barren Plains: A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell.” I have drawn from the chapter called Fish heads in an open bag. Becca, the subject of my book was serving sixty years for allegedly killing her five-year-old stepdaughter.
I have listened to Becca for hours upon hours. In every season of each passing year, I have sat across from her in the visit room looking at her drawn and tired face, listening to her struggle to find ways of expressing her mental and emotional realities. What she says is not always cohesive, or narratively coherent, but over time, I have learned to piece together the fragments of her mental processes, and the images that she sees, in ways that blend with my imagination. If Becca hears “voices” or “racing thoughts,” it might now be…
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