4 minute read

Journey to Wholeness

Artist Releases Coming-of-age Memoir Detailing Her Journey With Mental Illness And Disability

It started as a college prank; a friend offered Ruth Poniarski a brownie that, unbeknownst to her, was laced with angel dust. What resulted was a debilitating accident, and the first of many mental breakdowns that spiraled into diagnoses of psychosis, schizophrenia, severe anxiety, and bipolar disorder.


Long Island native Ruth Poniarski has released her first book, Journey of the Self: Memoir of an Artist, published by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Warren Publishing. Poniarski’s unflinchingly honest memoir shares her coming-of-age story through the lenses of mental illness, disability, and steadfast determination.

For years, Poniarski struggled to cope with her new reality as she undertook a rigorous architectural program, sought out new friends (and the perfect mate), and battled through the depths of mental illness. Her journey led her in all directions as she sought comfort, solace, stability and love.

Now an accomplished artist, Poniarski considers her memoir to be a portrait of sorts. “This book, like many of my paintings, is about introspection,” she says. “So many of us, particularly when we’re young, seek definition through labels or through what others think of us. It’s so easy to say, ‘I have bipolar disorder, therefore, X’ or ‘So and so doesn’t love me the way I love him, therefore, Y.’ But none of that is who we truly are.”

The release of Poniarski’s memoir is particularly timely in light of the Coronavirus pandemic and social distancing orders. “A lot of people are stuck at home right now. This kind of isolation forces a person to examine themselves; what makes them unique beyond who they are to society,” says Poniarski. “That kind of self-reflection allows us to become more available to others. You have to know yourself first.”

“So, who am I?” Poniarski laughs. “Well … you’ll just have to read the book!”

For more information about Ruth Poniarski or her book, please visit: www.ruthponiarski.com.

Do you have a great book inside you but don’t know where to begin? During these dog days of isolation, now’s the perfect time to hit the pad and paper and finally start writing your big bestseller! Joan Gelfand is an award-winning author whose new summer beach read, EXTREME, will be released July 14. Here, Joan shares 7 secrets to releasing your ‘inner author:’ 1. What’s your story? Your own personal story might be just the recipe for a great plotline. Or, a recipe might be the perfect starting point! Think “Julie and Julia” the fabulous movie about a young woman who takes on the creation of Julia Child’s recipes as the challenge of her life. 2. Read the news. The next juicy protagonist might actually be right in front of you—in the papers, on the Internet or in a magazine. Great characters can be based on the real lives of politicians, celebrities, heroes and everyday people. A great summer beach read, murder mystery, chick-lit, sci-fi or crime story can grow with just the seed of an idea. Genre fiction is hot! 3. History can repeat itself ... in other ways, shapes or formats. Are there historical figures or periods in history that fascinate you? Are you obsessed with an obscure figure whose story has not been told? Or do you have some intelligence that has not been made public? Gelfand reminds us that while All the Light We Cannot See was probably the thousandth book written on World War II, Anthony Doerr found a way into the story with a young protagonist that was so compelling it won the Pulitzer Prize. 4. Use the Internet. Search engines like Google or Bing or platforms like YouTube are at your fingertips. Now, it couldn’t be easier to fact find. And don’t forget that when it’s OK to go out and congregate, librarians are a great resource too! 5. Romance, love or a bad divorce? Love makes for great stories; even ill-fated

Seven Secrets To Unleashing Your “Inner Author” And Writing Your First Book

relationships can be superb jumping-off points. Think The Fault in Our Stars, The Way We Were, and Anna Karenina.

6. Mix it up. Writers tend to be introverted; however, you’d be surprised that a random Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn interaction can be the next inspiration for your next great story. Paris Blues Redux, Gelfand's award-winning short story, was based on a chance interaction she had in a Paris department store with a worldclass pianist.

Journey of the Self: Memoir of an Artist 222 pages/Paperback/$15.95 ISBN: 978-1734707557

7. Travel. Remember that? Have you had any wild, scary, or even failed, adventures? Think Life of Pi. Exotic locations always lend themselves to great fiction. Gelfand wrote a story based on one image that struck her while traveling in Lombok, Indonesia. Let your imagination go.

Joan Gelfand, author of EXTREME, is also a coach and writing teacher. Her book, The 4 C’s ofSuccessful Authors: Craft, Commitment, Community and Confidence is published by Mango Press.

EXTREME Blue Light Press/First World Publishing $21.95, Original Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4218-3651-5