…this one is personal.
I saw a call for stories dealing with the concept of institutions. The call was deliberately loosely defined; a story about the institution of marriage, say, would have fit. But my brain kept cycling back to something and saying “maybe it’s time.” And would not let it go.
I grew up in the 80s. Toward the middle and end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, there was a horrific trend. If your child did not conform, and you had good health insurance, you could put them into an adolescent treatment center.
Junior loony bin, we called it on the inside.
There’s a song about it, even.
I have so much more to write, about that and things like it. This is just a glimpse. Some of my stories are pretty autobiographical. This one? I don’t have any ink. But.
And I shan’t tell you more; go read.
“Never Chose This Way” was published in Apex Magazine in July 2015.
Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews says: “…It’s a gripping story, slow and tragic and for anyone who has struggled with mental health probably a bit triggering. But it works, the prose disjointed enough, showing a person yearning to be understood, yearning for people to care, yearning to know that she will fit somewhere. Slowly these things open to them, but not because they are offered. More because they are stubborn and they start to figure themself out. Slowly they figure out what they are and, because they know the pain of it all, they begin to try and help other people. It’s a nice story, positing basically that monsters have to help each other, that monsters aren’t exactly monsters, that all they are are people who are pushed into categories that don’t fit. The sense of slow despair in the story slowly lifts, and a deeper current can be felt tugging at things. A current of empathy, which is really what the main character really wanted. What most people really want. It’s a somewhat chilling and definitely a dark piece, but one that has a vein of bright gold to it, a vein of hope…”