Readers of this blog who've been wondering what the hell I've been up to for the past year can satisfy their curiosity by reading my latest book, Suicide: A Memoir, now available for purchase as an ebook and a paperback at Amazon. Here's the back cover description:
At age fifty, Brian Oard--writer, blogger, art critic, intellectual, aesthete--found himself at the bottom of his life. Broke, hopeless, going blind, suffering severe depression and social isolation, facing the prospect of homelessness, and stressed to the breaking point by caring for his dying elderly father, he decided to end his life. This brief book is the story of his journey to and through suicidal depression. We follow the author from his initial loss of hope, through the decline and death of his father, to his preparations for suicide, climaxing on the morning of his planned demise, when he thinks his way out of death and into the possibility of a new life. Combining brutal, self-lacerating honesty with flashes of grim, gallows humor, it is a harrowing work of psychological insight. Written in a powerful prose both beautiful and poetically compressed, it is also an impressive, original work of art.
To almost quote D. H. Lawrence: yes, I have come through--through suicidal depression and into the opening act of a new life. It's hardly a spoiler to mention that the last line of my memoir is, "This is me, bouncing." From the bottom of my life in rural Ohio, I've bounced all the way to western Colorado, where I was delighted to discover that screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo (Johnny Got His Gun) was born in nearby Grand Junction and is memorialized in a public sculpture of the writer at work in his most creative place, the bathtub. So there are now two leftist writers in Mesa County, Colorado, and here's a picture of both of us:
It's been a major and completely unpredictable change of life, this disorienting relocation to Kit Carson country. I arrived here at night--rocketing over the Rockies in a steep ascent out of Denver--and experienced severe landscape shock when opening my windows the next morning onto snow-capped mountains, a massive mesa of black volcanic rock, and a big beautiful blue western sky. I, who have always lived in the Midwest and faced intellectually and artistically eastward, toward New York, London, Paris, Dublin, am now a westerner (Watch out, Cormac, 'cause there's a new bad motherfucker in town.), and I'm experiencing the coronavirus epidemic not by hunkering down in an eastern house and binge-watching The Wire, but by 'social distancing' the western way, as illustrated by this picture of your umbral author standing on a cliff along the Old Spanish Trail and looking down on the Gunnison River. It's not all bad.