Gone Viral

The Vast Landscape
The Vast Landscape copyright auburn pub.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone viral is very different from gone fishin’

And then THIS happened. Y’all made it happen. XXOOXX

A shout out to maestro Tim Quinn for helping The Vast Landscape hit the Best Seller list  first time around! And the tremendous support.

Amazon Best Seller in Contemporary Urban Fiction

BAM

Urban Bestseller
Amazon Best Seller Contemporary Urban Fiction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://auburnpub.com/lifestyles/after–year-detour-into-modeling-career-auburn-native-finishes/article_853a739d-a5f2-5910-a074-87a0c4cec5e1.html#utm_source=auburnpub.com&utm_campaign=hot-topics-2&utm_medium=direct

http://www.amazon.com/THE-VAST-LANDSCAPE-Jacqueline-Cioffa-ebook/dp/B00H3P51LS

 

#NotOneMore

What will it take to fix a broken system? Wake up people, wake up.  #NotOneMore

A pseudo famous person, used the term ‘mentally deranged,’ I take offense. The Mental Health system has failed the mentally ill, our streets, jails at over capacity. Guns, why do we need weapons of any kind?! I can buy my meat at Walmart, instead of a gun.
Society is deranged, where reality TV faces become rock stars. WAKE UP, people. Stand up. Do something. Your child’s life is in danger, not from the ‘mentally deranged’ but from a system that is failing us all.
#NotOneMore #NoEasySolution #GetInvolved #RadicalChange

http://activism.thenation.com/p/dia/action3/common/public/action_KEY=14159&tag=articles159

postcard-email-graphic

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Asylums

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/opinion/sunday/inside-a-mental-hospital-called-jail.html?referrer

Since Newton, 74 more. #UnspeakableViolience #UseYourVoice #Educate #Advocate

http://www.brooklynvoice.com/2013/01/01/i-am-adam-lanza-by-jacqueline-cioffa/

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Drowning, on Repeat

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord

the dark squashes me in broad daylight

And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, Oh Lord

big moments, big, big grandiose moments

important things

still waiting, still hoping, oh Lord

do you hear me, screaming

silent plea

Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord

faith is a five letter word hard to swallow

rocks, pebbles slice and cut going down

I bleed red same as you

Well, if you told me you were drowning

I’d jump in and regret it

I would not lend a hand

yeah, I would unwilling

hatred, tick embedded disease

I’ve seen your face before my friend

don’t have any

friends, strangers, foes, allies, enemies

who cares

But I don’t know if you know who I am

how could you, hide my face

so complicated, hard to navigate

Well, I was there and I saw what you did

everything I thought true

wrong, wrong, wrong

big moments don’t come

I saw it with my own two eyes

I misunderstood, got it wrong oh Lord

I did that, sole responsible

I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life, oh Lord

keep waiting, hope dwindling

fight or flight, fight or flight, fight or flight

Lord can’t save me now, joker, charlatan

penny player

all in

thick of it

Stranger to you and me

DRUMROLL, Phil Collins

Play, repeat

Oh Lord, I forgot

love that song

Phil Collins, In The Air Tonight partial lyrics

Drummerworld
copyright Drummerworld

 

neglect
neglect

“It all comes back to a red metal bench in the woods on a small hill by a nothing- special pond. The air is sweet and wet and fall is here for now. Ducks sleep near the brisk, damp water waiting to take flight to sunnier places, offering no solution. I shiver and squirm in my own discomfort, clenching the bench, determined to will myself better. I’ll sit there god damn it, you fucking divine coxsucker, I’m as stubborn as you, until there is something to look forward to. I’m not pretending rosy and cheery just maybe a hint of curiosity.”

-excerpt The Red Bench by Jacqueline Cioffa

 

 

Heart Happy Home

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We only get one heart, happy home. The place where breath comes easy, life’s complexities do not get in the way. It’s absurd to think, I can do it all, right now. You can’t, you won’t. Me, I worry over every single, mundane, idiotic thing. Some hard wiring has no fixing, we learn compromise. Writing is my heart, happy home. It keeps me grounded, sane, a kinder, more compassionate person. Living demands attention, that’s ok. For five minutes forget, and visit your happy place. The Vast Landscape thrives and Harrison lives in story. The universal themes of love, hurt, adventure, self-doubt, and inspiration are in fact, only part fiction. They are my most intimate truths, my very personal way of seeing the world. Harrison exists because you the kind reader, keep her alive. I’m humbled, grateful and always surprised by the overwhelming, positive response. I believe pixie dust and magic are waiting, invisible, barely out of reach…if we keep stretching…magic happens. I get to stay in my heart, happy place a bit longer with Georgia Pine.

BookCoverPreview-1.do  GEORGIA PINE.

-forward

PERSPECTIVE

I wrote The Vast Landscape, the prequel to GEORGIA PINE., at a dark, scary time in my life. Harrison, the brash heroine was something tangible I could cling to. She gave me reason, to get up, to go on, to fight, a much-needed respite from what was happening in my real, everyday life. I made the conscious decision not to write about manic depression, the disease that has disrupted every neuron firing through my beautiful, chaotic mind. Bipolar Disorder, the label I detest is en Vogue. There are trending bestsellers, Oscar-winning films and sensationalized television. It’s glamourized, modernized, made to look cool. Trust me, it is not. Mental Illness is the train wreck, the ugly, cruel, exhaustive, intangible, and solitary battle. It does not discriminate, rich, poor, smart, stupid; brings grown men to their knees, ripping whole families apart. Writing The Vast Landscape freed me, to live my dreams on the page. Harrison is I, I am she mixed together so deeply, the lines disappear. The outlines blur, intentionally. Was The Vast Landscape reality, or fantasy? That is for the reader to decide. We are all disabled, broken parts, lost individuals, trying to find our way. Truth is what you know, here and happening now. There is only love, and love is the bravest character of all. Harrison is the voice in our heads, asking the important questions. Where do I fit? Why I am here? Will I love, be loved? Born with a fixed expiration date, yet we carry on. Walking this earth the best we can until we’re pixie dust. Cherished, kept alive in memory by yellow parchment, precarious, aged photographs in a cardboard box. Lives touch; intersect in the most unpredictable, meaningful ways. The essence continues, because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack; I seize the opportunity. To revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. To choose hope, against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life, our greatest asset.

The story continues in… GEORGIA PINE.

I am One in Four

@mx_628

 

 

 

 

 

There is no 31 days Mental Health Awareness month for me. I live with Manic Depression 365 days a year. There are no fancy, frou frou vacations, hefty bonus’, no benefits that come at the end of the year. Your family members do not get a staycation while in your company, they get who they get. Which part of me will take the lead, manic, mean, irritable, physically ill, depressed, anxiety ridden I can’t say. As much as I would like to spare them the uncomfortable that is my rapid cycling. So many friends have been lost, disappeared, dissolved, abandoned, unable to grasp the incessant, cruel velocity I live. It stings only a little now, I don’t have the luxury of wasted energy. I do wonder if I had cancer of the brain, instead of the mouth would I be treated different? If I was a betting man, I’d bet against me. The very real odds are I might not make it. Most days, every day if I’m 100% honest, I plan my exit strategy (verbal diarrhea is one of the ‘perks’ of my job). I never act on it, the comfort in knowing I have control over this one thing helps. It helps me get through the hard, challenging, excruciating days I am living. My brain does not stop, the top spinner that slows only enough so I get a glimpse of the who I was. She and I, at forever odds searching for a middle ground. The compromise we both can live with. When I set out to write a book, I did not believe I would finish. I am no GIRLBOSS, 10% Happier, John Greene author (although I wouldn’t mind). I may never make a bestseller list. But this book, my book, The Vast Landscape kept me alive. Hell yeah, I’d say that’s better than any Goddamn bestseller list, and yes I am wicked proud. My accomplishments are bigger, harder and higher than most. Every single day that I wake up, and choose LIFE is a day I beat the odds. Every damn day I wake, I’ve won.

http://bringchange2mind.org/content/index?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=standardtaf&source=facebook&subsource=standardtaf

Knock Three Times

this old clock
this old clock

When I’m stressed, I clean. When I’m confused, I clean. When I’m angry, I clean. Exhausted, nauseated, in full-blown Benzo withdrawal. Not permitted by my shrinks to travel, basically I’m assigned to the nut house. Only, this house arrest comes with a ton of perks, comfortable amenities. Yeah, you could this house is pretty clean. Benzo withdrawal is worse than heroine. You could say, that, yes could.

Just when I think I can’t take one more day of the absurdity that has become my existence, apparently I can. I blame the doctors in part, the shrinks, quacks, they don’t a clue what might work, and what won’t. Mental Illness meds that could very well kill you, they’re so quick to write a script. Well, that one didn’t work, let’s try this on top of that. Pretty soon, your brain is a full on pileup of conflicting signals, no wonder it’s lost without a roadmap. My beautiful mind, gets more and more tangled, lost inside forgotten memory, drooping eyelid, psychosomatic illness, blindness, hallucinations. They’ve really fuked you now, you have no choice but to go nuts. There’s no winding the hands back on the clock.

Me, I’m the anomaly. The med-resistant patient, the BiPolar opposite. I hate the drugs. Muscle rigor, swollen tongue, numbness, vertigo, ringing ears, eye paralysis, what’s next? Fuk off, you can keep your pink, white and yellow pills, in various doses of madness. When I can’t fight anymore, when I can’t find the will, I will look to the clock. With what’s left of my shredded dignity, faith, courage and hope, I’ll simply go, on my time. My brain, I’m donating to science.

I received ‘the phone call’, email. The sad news we dread, three times in one week. Each ring, every broken heart, gave me strength to fight the personal pain, fear and sorrow. Empathy takes over in tragedy, gratitude settles in. One loss hit hard, knocked the wind out. The loss of a child. I would’ve gladly given away some of my time, to his mother. I have lived so much beautiful, loved so deeply and laughed so loud, freely. Time doesn’t work like that, the hands do not stop. I will fight for her, silently, the unbearable loss. In honor of mother and child I will live, because that’s all I can do. I offer prayer, for the loved ones who’ve gone missing. Maybe they’re not missing at all, maybe they returned home. To an ethereal world where there is no pain, no disease, filled with Technicolor dreams, and Opal crystalline riches. Enough for us all. Home to an impeccably clean house, with five-star amenities and perks, and no sorrow.

GEORGIA PINE.
GEORGIA PINE.

Time tells me I’m here, for a reason. For now.  Until I’m not.

And that is, just fine by me.

Things That Go Missing

Yes, Mother
Yes, Mother

This morning I told my mother to fuk off. I did not mean it, not exactly. Living here, where I don’t want to be, being sick, bad genes, I blame her. I can’t help it, I do. As I watch her walk to the car, a fragile, old woman it’s too much. She gave me her whole life, I can give her a fraction of mine. She knows I don’t mean it when the venom spews, before I can retract. I was her precious baby, happy girl, her funny, fearless child. I wonder how she felt, when I became a brat. The loud, mouth teenager, forever unhappy. She couldn’t fix me, Lord knows she tried. I called her, every night from NY pursuing my dreams, crying and alone. “You can always come home.” That’s what a good mother does, a mother like mine. She knew I wouldn’t give up, even before I did. Keep at it, she taught me persistence. She was my first call when I booked a modeling job for $12,000. That was a boatload of money, she was proud. I could tell. She has one tone, but a thousand different voices. One for every mood, situation, emotion. That’s what a good mother does. When my glorious, faulty wired mind went missing, I didn’t understand. She listened as I sobbed hysterically, for hours and hours, months on end. She never hung up the line. “You’re coming home, that’s it.” I believed her when she said I’d be ok, that’s what a good mother does. She was right, on Lithium my mind got better. I mustered the courage to go back to NY. She promised everything would work out. I called her, just to check in. She was my lifeline, to sanity. Everything was fine, until it wasn’t. I had seven years in New York, working, living without one psychotic episode. She listened when I was incoherent. That’s what a good mother does. “I wanna come home,” I cried, scared out of mind, seeing dead people. I could not find my way back. Out of the pain, the indescribable fear, the black hole. She came to get me. My seventy year old mother came, to bring her broken, adult daughter home. “Everything will be fine.” She lied, it won’t. On the days I hate her, because there is no one else around she takes it, silently. On the days I hate this place, this house, this illness and exhaustion, it’s mostly because I hate myself. I want to die, I don’t. I vacuum my frustrations, do the heavy lifting for her because she can’t. Because, that’s what a good daughter does.

Chic Vacuuming
Chic Vacuuming
Heirloom Trinkets
Heirloom Trinkets

I write stories, about mother-daughter relationships, that are only partially untrue.

GEORGIA PINE. – excerpt

Addie stressed over the twins, checked on them two or three times a night. She couldn’t breathe, scared they might break. “Comb your hair, brush your teeth. Chop-chop.” Adelaide was never so grateful to see her mother. That was a great day. Harry did that, she could take your worse days and throw them in your face. Make you face your fears, move on.

Mirror mirror
Mirror, Mirror
a mother’s bedroom

Snake Charmer

 

I never paid much attention to a normal, calendar year. When you have a serious illness, days are measured in hours, minutes and even seconds. On a good day, when the mind is quiet, belly laughs come and go. That usually happens when my favorite people are around, the ones that know me best. Yes, being loved without the label or judgment, counts. On a bad day, I fight. Alone, no one can do it for me. I have to choose life, the want to live, dimmed by shredded, twisted neurons of a misfiring mind. I don’t count years anymore, I count the seconds. The good and bad days a mashup, strewn together like broken bulbs on Christmas trees. I prefer the lunar year, where the sun, stars and moon align, and misalign. That, I can relate to. Goodbye lost friends, career, moments I won’t experience again. A warm embrace to those that stuck around. Yours are the ‘likes’ on Facebook, the thoughtful cards, the small kindnesses that make time bearable. There have been happy moments; love, laughter, May sunshine, colors in bloom, life filled with  purpose. Personal goals, I set for myself. Come hell or high-water. In the middle of the raging war inside my head, I set only one, besides getting better. A lofty, intimate, soul fulfilling, goal. To write, and finish a book. Not any book, but a glorious, life-affirming story filled with raw, flawed, humanistic beings, who choose hope and love. The things that truly matter. No small feat for the ‘normal’ everyday person, a gigantic leap for someone like me. I hate labels, I find them abhorrent, run of the mill ordinary, much like holiday festivities. There is no other me, or you. There never will be. Embrace it, give yourself a hug and pat on the back for enduring another year, gracefully, humbly and with integrity. All of it, the messy, and the emotion. Say good-bye to the evil snake of 2013, welcoming the Chinese New Year, 2014. The year of the majestic, elegant, lithe, spirited, strong, dreamy, ageless, wild, fast, beautiful horse.

Horoscope 2014, forecast for the 2014 year of the Horse

The 2014 Chinese Year is the 31 number in the sixty-year cycle called Chia Wu and described in Chinese tradition like “Horse in the Clouds”. 2014 is the year of Green Wooden Horse. 
The upcoming compassionate 2014 year of the Horse is going to be attentive to all our troubles and quick to react in protection of those who cannot fight for themselves. The optimistic nature of the 2014 allows us to cope with financial hardships in the belief that good fortune will soon be on the way, while kind-hearted nature of the 2014 year provides us with supportive friends, ready to help us in difficulties just as we have helped them.
More:http://www.gotohoroscope.com/chinese-zodiac-horse.html

The Vast Landscape on Amazon.com

Hey Red.

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Yesterday was not a good day. No, in fact It was a very, very bad one. Crap, we all have them. Not exactly like mine. My bad day started out fine, until out of nowhere, it wasn’t. Frenzied, panicked, the emotional turmoil requires a great deal of work. They tell me ride it out, it will be fine. It won’t. My mother sits across watching, as my eye droops, I sob hysterically, my face contorts, reason jets out the window. Her face frozen with patience, sorrow and exhaustion shows me the way back. After an hour, the very bad subsides. I am wrecked. I tell her I am fine, which I am not but what the hell. It’s a small lie, a white one. Her heart has been broken too many times. She leaves, drives around the block, only to return. She has not done that before, I wonder did she see something menacing as I went missing? Clawing my way back to the here and now. A task, a physical task helps. I rake, working the body to exhaustion quelling the incessant noise. I work until numb. That helps. I spend too much time trying to be the person I was. Wasted energy. I must let her die. She was beautiful, loud, said all the inappropriate things, flawed and messy. She was free. She was me. I loved her, anyway. She is gone, but I celebrate the best parts of her. Even the experts aren’t experts on the bad days. They have no finite conclusion, no magic pill, tangible task to offer. Baffled by the mysterious workings of the mind. I’m leaving this muddled brain to science. That is my contribution to her and me. And all those that came before, and come after.

Today is better. I get out, and walk. Nature’s changing scenery reminds me, all is temporary. Billy Joel’s, “you catholic girls start much too late. Sooner or later it comes down to fate,” takes me to a happy place. Childhood memories, skipping, twirling and tacky plaid uniforms. The crisp air, biting wind off the angry water is good for the soul. Watching my pooch run leaps and bounds, ears at attention, I lose myself in her joy. I feel a smile coming on, in spite of it all. I’d dance in the oddly vacant parking lot, no one’s around. I better not. I must behave. Oh fuk it, I shake my booty just a little, shimmy my shoulders, press unlock and hop in the car. I hit repeat, singing loud and off-key, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.” Only the Good Die Young. I’m lucky. How many of us die and live to talk about it.

I Am Adam Lanza – by Jacqueline Cioffa

I Am Adam Lanza.

A decade ago I lived a frivolous, spoiled, privileged life. An International fashion model, I worked in more countries than I can count. Freedom was something I took for granted, until the earth fell from under me and my whole world shattered.

My first psychotic breakdown took away everything I knew to be true and buried me whole. The paranoia, delusions of grandeur, mania, the irrational and out of control behavior. I wanted to die, too exhausted by the fragile, broken mind. I wanted to let go of the rage, the fear, the despair, I wanted to end my life. The slicing of the wrists, my escape and a way out. Dancing in the streets, in stores, I was too out of my mind to be ashamed, by my behavior. The shame and isolation would come later, as thick and heavy as a steel beam, freight train crushing my soul.

I lived with my brother, exasperated, helpless, not knowing what more he could do, he put me on a bus back home to my mother. My Irish, stubborn, loyal, family first, capable mother. She had experience dealing with Mental Illness; my family had been plagued by the unlucky 1 in 4 gene pool.

My sick, wracked mind betrayed me, no longer mine to control. The whole and intact me, I used to know now gone forever. The carefree, compassionate, strong, independent person is living her worst nightmare. Even on the hard, horrific days, the dark evil thoughts dominating my brain, I fight desperately to regain control. If you have not been exposed to Mental Illness, please do not talk to me about it. You are out of your league, cannot begin to comprehend the exhausting toll it takes. On a family, friends, that is if you are lucky enough to have any left. Mostly, you are left with isolation and shame, your own.

My second breakdown brought black days, numbness, and a shell of a person. The depression and anxiety, so crippling I was forced to leave the big city, retreat back home to the safety of familiar surroundings. The pain so deep, so heavy, the fear immense, death seemed my only option. A welcome release from the demons, the evil lurking in the corners of a tortured mind.

I work hard to beat the beast daily, as soon as my feet hit the floor, shaking. I take the psych drugs, Lithium, Xanax, Valium, the shock treatments and practice alternative medicine. I do yoga, eat healthy, exercise and live simple. I try to avoid the triggers, terrified of the next episode.

I never know when the outbursts will come, when paranoia will convince me the man in the park wants to kill me. In my heart and my soul, I know this is completely irrational. But, the mind plays tricks. I have to fight, every minute, every second to control the grappling Illness I must live with. Day after day, in constant fear of what I might do next. I don’t own a gun, I would be afraid to have one in close proximity. I hate violence, I find it abhorrent, but I do not trust the beast.

There is no concrete help for the Mentally Disabled; there is half hour, once a month consults with the overworked, underpaid psychiatrist, who spends your time glancing at a clock. There are no solutions, into the mysteries of a broken mind, they throw pills at you. Pills that may very well be your undoing, send you deeper into depression, trigger manic episodes or worse an acute psychotic episode, and the killing of innocent souls. Those are the worst breaks, the psychosis, and the hardest to come back from. I have visited them firsthand.

I watched, helpless as my beautiful, brilliant, Yale educated, compassionate cousin ended her own life. She was a Dr., the smartest person I know and she could not find a way out of the Mental Illness that plagued her. My own father, who endured 17 years of Mental Illness, endless pills that made him worse, psychiatric hospital visits, a dementia ridden mind at the end. My mother, who fought every battle with him, and for him when he couldn’t. His daughter who would always be in my memory, his adored, precocious, funny face, happy and intact child.

He died not knowing my name. Although, in my heart and my spirit, I know exactly what I meant to him. His last breath I was beside him, holding his hand and on his heart. I felt the unbearable pain and destroyed mind, set free as he floated up to heaven. He was a good man, the kindest, most selfless I know.

I am a good person, who doesn’t deserve this fate. I am not a violent person, but I am Adam Lanza. He may have committed a horrific, unspeakable EVIL, act. Did he start out evil? He must have been an innocent, child himself at some point. When did his broken mind take over, when did he lose all rational, self-control? It’s too hard to grasp, too big to think about without immeasurable faith.

When are we, as an empathetic society going to care about the Mentally Ill? Fight for them; stick up for them, as eagerly as we fight against gun control. When will we do something about the fact that there is no place for ‘us’, when the evil, mind disease takes hold? They send you to the ER, push a pill, perhaps a 72 hour hold to the Psych Ward. There is nowhere a parent with a disturbed, sick child can turn. We are in trouble, as a society. Take the guns off the streets, a mentally disturbed individual will find another way to kill. Help us fix them, with more research, better facilities, more culpability from the Government and its people, for the Mentally Ill.

I weep for those children, the families, the unimaginable depths of pain and sorrow. I rejoice in my youth, safe, happy and healthy. I’m grateful for that. I expose myself, sharing my story. Perhaps it can help bring insight and perspective. I don’t believe human beings are evil, I believe they are defective and commit violent, unspeakable acts.

Mental Illness has afflicted me, but it could’ve been you or a loved one. One in four is not great odds. I am alone, completely and utterly alone with my Illness, even while surrounded by an empathic family. I am not a child; I am an adult, who’s better equipped to manage this bastard disease.

Please, don’t judge me. Don’t judge Adam Lanza. Don’t judge the ‘crazy,’ the insane, the unfit, the unwell, the lunatic that is me.

Help us instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published by Brooklyn Voice.