I felt there could only be one book on such a subject and that it had already been written. But others I knew convinced me that it doesn't matter that other people have written on a similar topic, that everyone has an entirely different story to tell. Everyone's experience is different. Each person's backstory is what sets their story apart. A local bar owner in my home town wrote a memoir on how she dealt with her husband's alcoholism. Plenty of people have had alcoholic relatives, but how many such people are Christian women who owner a bar dominated by motorcycle-riding patrons? This is the author's backstory here.
As if she knew what someone else might be thinking one day, Wurtzel noted in the epilogue of her iconic memoir that:
“…The fact that depression is ‘up in the air’ can be both the cause and the result of a level of societal malaise that that so many feel. But once someone is a clinical case, once someone is in a hospital bed or in stretcher headed for the morgue, his story is absolutely and completely his own. Every person who has experienced a severe depression has his own sad, awful tale to tell, his own mess to live through. …”
Similarly, in her depression memoir Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression, Meri Nana-Ama Danquah quotes the editor she worked under at The Washington Post as suggesting she write a piece on her depression, asking if she'd read William Styron's book on depression (he doesn't mention the book by name) and that if Danquah were to write a piece, she would have to avoid repeating what had already been said, which he felt would be hard to do, Danquah's reply to this was:
“Yeah, right. Like Styron and I would have the same angle on anything. We had the same illness; the similarities end there. The way I did depression was a-whole-nother bag of beans. I’m a single black mother about half a paycheck away from the government cheese line.”
Again, it was as if the author knew that someone might be thinking something similar one day down the road. Danquah definitely had something different to say on the subject, presenting it from the perspective of a black woman.
I noted these two quotes in the new epilogue I recently wrote for my memoir. I hope to be able to obtain permission to use them in the final product if one day my story sees the light of day.
My friend at the behavioral health center said that Prozac Nation was ahead of its time. It was written in 1994, only seven years after the drug had been approved for use as an antidepressant. He did not begin taking the drug until 2001, after the 9/11 attacks. I myself did not begin until 2015, about 15 years after a failed treatment (in my mind) on several other antidepressants including Paxil. Somehow the psychiatrist I'd seen then did not think of prescribing Prozac, which was the first SSRI on the market and the most well-known one (This is one of the things I noted in my memoir). It wasn't until the mid- to late-1990s that Prozac became a well-known name, even though it was introduced in 1987. Wurtzel was one of the first people to be prescribed Prozac, which one of the things that makes her story stand out. In the video above, she felt writing about her experience would be something people can relate to. I certainly felt that way after reading her book. And now I'm trying to tell a story others can relate to, offering my point of view.
As for jumping on the "bandwagon," I have tried not to do that. It has been more than 20 years since the iconic Prozac Nation was written and Danquah's memoir (though not as well-known) was published in 1998, almost two decades ago. But the subject of depression is universal and still occurs, so there can be ways to offer a new perspective on the subject.
I can bet that reading Twilight has inspired a number of other vampire novels, though some, like The Vampire Diaries, preceded Twilight. Stephenie Meyer was said to have come up with the idea for her Twilight series from a dream. I can imagine that others one day may have a similar dream and think that it will make a great book. if so, they can write it. It won't be the exactly the same dream Meyer had, but others will be likely interested based on the popularity of the vampire novel.
How have other writes been inspiring to you?