Diode | A Narrative About a Mental Journey by Karen Hudes


From Thomas Pynchon: “‘Diode’ explores a pivotal mental state I experienced nearly 30 years ago, the psychiatric response in its aftermath, and my search for the true nature of what took place.

Catalysts for the narrative include novels such as The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon and The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, as well as ’90s music videos, halogen lamps and witchcraft shops. While it takes place amid an atmosphere of shifting relationships with family and friends, ‘Diode’ goes beyond telling a personal story to conceive of a different model for understanding mental journeys, one based on the energy surrounding and coursing through us, rather than on individual biology.”

~ writer, editor, and MIA Co-Arting Space participant Karen Hudes

* * *

“Despite being grateful at the time that I went crazy in the 1990s rather than an earlier era, I’ll never know what would have happened if I were given time to eat and drink, patience to sleep and recover, come back to myself.

And interest in why I would overthrow a burden, and how I did it. They fixated on the overthrowing as the problem.

Here’s what I think:

I had a ton of things bottled up since I was a baby, and an explosion was inevitable. It’s not necessarily an unusual condition for something that needs to explode, to explode. All it takes is sensitivity, pain and repression. A body under pressure did what it needed to do.

The wall was real. It was also a metaphor. And it was proof.

In Spain I expanded. When I came home I contracted, then broke through.

There is a particular anger. The anger of awakening to deserving more.

* * *

The explanation from the doctors, a ‘chemical imbalance,’ gave everyone a pass. No one talked to us about having family therapy. When the energy first coursed through me, I saw the truth that our family needed to talk, but once I became the sick person, the idea died.

That’s something no one said either, that this state may have exposed something true. That you took an extraordinary trip with the power of your mind.

I see what happened as a rush into my intellect, turning into a waking dream, a migrating dream, and I was left alone to discard it while having my system altered, instead of receiving help, choosing the help I wanted, to make an honest repair. To integrate it back to myself, to possess it.

What emerged needed to emerge. The stabilizers held it in place.

I wonder if an expansion followed by a contraction precedes any radical break. If the aftermath hadn’t cordoned off everything I experienced on the rooftop—which my body granted me as relief, whose loss I would mourn, without receiving room to mourn, or recognition there was anything to mourn or crave—I would like to have understood what happened. Even to study, in cross-disciplinary fashion, the flow of energy through literature, the voice, the universe, the body, and the mind. And the capacity to modulate, which I desired.

Atmospheric forces (family, culture, language, rooms and cities) channel suddenly through the individual, the release point of a larger, pressured system. At the moment of crisis, all attention goes to the diode.”

Narrative →


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