So it’s the beginning of December, the dying of the old year, and I’ve been enjoying the lovely experience of experiencing my first semester in UBC’s Creative Writing MFA program while also editing Through the Labyrinths of the Mind, Cloudscape Comics’ anthology on mental health issues. It has been marvelous to organize an anthology of comic book stories all centered around mental health, a subject I care about so strongly about. It’s been marvelous to see the variety of stories born from it – memoirs, fantasies, dramas, adaptations of myths. But perhaps most marvelous is knowing the variety of experiences that went into these pieces. Whether directly or through a veil of fiction, the artists have used this as a venue to explore their own experiences with depression, anxiety, dementia, PTSD, ADD, and numerous other issues. I’m proud to have organized this, given voice to issues that are often not discussed.

Still, Through the Labyrinths of the Mind is a project I’d hoped to have been basically done by the time UBC started. Sadly, best laid plans of mice and so forth. These things always take far longer than expected. So here I am, juggling the incredibly stressful experience of analyzing artists’ work for an anthology with the incredibly stressful experience of embarking on a new academic study. All in the middle of dealing with the incredibly stressful experience of a global pandemic. Fun.

My brain is not wired for multitasking; it requires a lot of effort to quickly reorient myself from one task to another. However, the process of working on both anthology and university together has some interesting elements. It’s interesting to be involved in a creative project in which I’m the boss while at the same time doing various creative projects in which I’m the student, being an authority figure at the same time as being someone who’s definitely not. It’s also interesting to be working on various scholarship applications in which I pitch my thesis project and its exploration of mental health, while at the same time already working on an ambitious mental health project. Feels nice to say on the applications that mental health isn’t just something I have written about or will write about, but is in fact something I’m writing about right now, at this very instant. I’m in the thick of it.

Perhaps that’s really the big thing about the last few few months – I’m in the thick of it. In the thick of all these different projects, both in and out of UBC. I’ve been doing things that really matter to me, building myself in various ways as an author, an editor, and a teacher of writing. Labyrinths is getting done; it will get done. And because I’ve embarked on my journey with Labyrinths, I’ve been able to use it to open up some doors in other places.