Prologue From “Mental,” a Novel by MKJ


I am a bag of chemicals. Sometimes I am only the slightest breeze; then, maybe I am more. If my life has any purpose, it is not in living for others. I am alone. I am unhappy. There is nothing new about this.

None of this may make sense to you, but it could still be true. No one I know tells the truth.

I am tired of being polite and wearing pearls. I am tired of standing in front of a room filled with children, a place where there can be no peace. If it is true that there must be a god, then mine saved me to write this down.

This is a very different type of book. I have a voice that can no longer remain quiet. I have a voice that can sing a song no one has heard before, but everyone somehow already knows. I will say what I think, even if I am the only one listening.

How can you really share an experience? How can you really understand another person? Spirituality and art are all there is. An honest expression is the only truth. What is real is subjective.

Who really cares about art or honesty or spirituality? Maybe they don’t even really exist at all. Maybe those things are just things you thought people were talking about when they were really talking about paying bills and growing up.

I have just spent a few hours reading this stuff that my sister and I wrote. Even I was having a hard time following what I saying because words actually do fail the insane, and then people are forced to read between the lines of what they write.

Just know that this crazy person longs for someone to read what she writes and try to understand it the way that she tries to understand legitimate art from famous people she emulates.

Will someone someday think I was right about something? Probably not. People will probably use this “novella” to commit me permanently because unfortunately, I still have cadillac insurance.

Maybe it is just the typing of words that brings a faint peace. Maybe it doesn’t really matter if your sister or your mother or your students understand you, after all.

Maybe it is inescapable that the things I have written down will be interpreted as me going crazy and rambling about how unfortunate I am. I am mystified by people who actually think that they can write about life. Maybe it is

inevitable that I will survive on the brink of confusion for the rest of my life, and that it is just plain stupid to try and make sense of that.  

–Marie K Johnston