why I’m a writer
“The fiery aspects of thought and feeling that initially compel the artistic voyage—fierce energy, high mood, and quick intelligence; a sense of the visionary and the grand; a restless and feverish temperament—commonly carry with them the capacity for vastly darker moods, grimmer energies, and, occasionally, bouts of ‘madness.’ These opposite moods and energies, often interlaced, can appear to the world as mercurial, intemperate, volatile, brooding, troubled, or stormy. In short, they form the common view of the artistic temperament, and, as we shall see, they also form the basis of the manic-depressive temperament.”
–Kay Redfield Jamison, “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament“
For the majority of my life, I’ve been on a manic-depressive energy spectrum. Maybe the stars are to blame. As a Triple Gemini, the torrent that is my mind is always overloaded by the sheer volume and speed of little thought fragments. For sanity, I can sometimes write them down. If one these ideas gives me a strong feeling in my Svadhisthana chakra, it gets squirreled away onto a legal pad. If the fragment turns out to ripen as a true biju, or seed in Sanskrit, it may evolve into a complete thought that becomes a book.
Compassionate Recovery is the result of such fragments; childhood trauma, severe addiction, advanced education, decades of psychotherapy and recovery, as well as a long relationship with spiritual systems e.g., Buddhism, Metaphysical Christianity and Yoga.
After a lifetime of confusing intrapersonal or internal messages, I’ve learned to trust the inner voice that guides me. And so can you. You can develop your own voice of inner confidence, as you go.
In my writing, I try to be a channel for this kind of clear guidance.
These days, my writer voice is clear. My methods research and analysis are established. Ever since I was a graduate researcher in Psychology, I’ve enjoyed the ability to interpreting some forms of scientific literature. I try to simplify the ideas without losing the main points.
The simple explanation is always best, so that’s what I churn out for my readers. There are always interesting dots to connect along the way, and I include tons of integration practices to make the knowledge meaningful in your life.
In a way, I’m just telling my story. It’s always the same story; one of a spiritual journey, and the effort to overcome extreme obstacles through the application of principles in daily life. I feel that this leads to some kind of personal mastery. I want to guide my readers there.
I’m grateful for the ability to share some complete thoughts in the form of recovery guidebooks. As a manic guy, with too many thoughts for anyone to listen to at Starbuck’s, this work keeps me a little more sane.
The other aspect of being a lifelong writer is seeing my thoughts evolve over time. There is a seasoning and a settling that allows me to drop into the voice that has emerged after writing nearly half a million words.
I’m also grateful to my readers for really being a part of my personal journey towards not just sanity, but mastery. There is more to come. Follow-up versions of Compassionate Recovery are in development. Stay tuned.
Simon & Schuster Author
The 12-Step Buddhist (Atria/Beyond Words 2009)
The 12-Step Buddhist 10-Year Anniversary Edition (Atria/Beyond Words 2018)
Darren Littlejohn’s Simon & Schuster Author Profile
Podcaster since 2005
Darren created the world’s first jazz jam podcast, Portland Jazz Jams, which ran for five years. The 12-Step Buddhist Podcast, has been ongoing since 2009 on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube and here.
With over half a million downloads, Darren has established a popular voice in recovery.