With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Kathleen Founds lives in Marina, California. She is the author of the novel-in-stories When Mystical Creatures Attack! and a graphic novel about a bipolar bear who confronts the labyrinth of health-insurance claims.
I have bipolar II disorder, which is characterized by rock-bottom lows interspersed with occasional bouts of manic hyperactivity. After some tweaking of my antidepressant cocktail, this maelstrom, too, will pass. I just have to lash myself to the mast and wait.
I climb back in bed, rest my head on his chest. Spooned against the warm curl of his body, I feel the damp toads sleeping in the cave of my chest awaken. One by one, they hop away.
I don’t believe in anything mystical, Ms. Freedman. Not even God. You made us build that diorama of Mount Olympus, and you made us paint that mural with unicorns and butcherbirds and sand toads. You said it was to show that books transport us to different worlds, where there are different rules, and there’s magic in everything.