“As Much as I Care to Forget”
is a love letter from a daughter to her father.
The story is universal. The middle is difficult, and the ending is unpredictable.
Jimmy doesn’t want to die. He desperately wants more time on earth.
All the characters from “As Much to Care to Remember” return to share their side of living and losing Jimmy.
Bipolar and addiction are a part of the struggle, but this is a story of finding true love, trusting the family we were given and the positive outlook we can rely upon to get to another day.
I hope you read this story & share it with someone who might feel alone.
Reading. Wow. Your writing is beautiful
and the story
is so compelling and important.
- Bethany McLean,
contributing editor at Vanity Fair. She is also a columnist at Yahoo Finance and a contributor to CNBC. Her two books are the The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron and All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis.
Using fiction to examine mental illness with E.B. HOWELL | The Slate EP 5
Read a bit, now . . .
The day was finally over and the girls were ready for the night with a change of clothes in their backpacks. They boarded the last ferry to meet their friends on Spurling Island, one of the five Mint Islands, for the most anticipated party of the season. It was held on top of the town dock, where a cedar shed had been transformed into a bar years ago. Now, light-green moss covered the roof and the sides of the building like a soft cotton nightgown. It was a special place, it visibly swayed by the third hour. Everyone called the party “Rock the Dock.” The hostess sold commemorative T-shirts at the door to raise funds for next year’s bash. It was a cause worth supporting. It was late August before Liddy and Beatrice’s senior year of college and a year before Liddy was officially diagnosed as being bipolar.
. . .
It called for a celebration; she ordered a final round for everyone on her side of the bar. She shot-gunned the pint, swallowed it down in one gulp, a beer she didn’t need. Liddy needed to find Beatrice. As the place emptied, Liddy located her and they headed down the ramp to Harry’s magnificent wooden boat, Pilar II. He had already started the engine and the radio. The girls leapt onto the slippery boat they knew well. Thick dew had already settled on its deck, as mornings come in the middle of the night in Maine. Harry cranked up the radio, The Allman Brothers Band sang “Ramblin’ Man,” as the girls hoisted themselves above the cabin and dragged their wobbly bodies onto the front roof of the wooden beauty to lie on their backs and float home, they watched the stars tossed out like diamonds onto a black velvet cloth, some even touched Liddy and Beatrice’s noses. - From Chapter 4,
As Much as I Care to Remember
What Readers are Saying about
"This brave, honest and heartbreaking, but often humorous narrative takes the reader into the inner-workings of a mind besieged by bipolar disorder.
The journey of Liddy, her family and husband is a story of struggle, friendship, and love; but perhaps, even more importantly, it is a window into the world of how the US health care system, which continues to see the mind and body as separate entities makes those with 'mental illness,' search for proper care and support."
L. Liss, reader, artist & mother.
"The rollercoaster ride was relentless and the spiral storytelling made me so inside the tale that I needed to find my ground before finishing up the story.
It takes courage to live, but it takes more courage to write about living. E.B. has hit the truth so hard I was thrust into a new understanding and such enormous compassion for what she and others with bipolar disorder go through.
This is brilliant work and so necessary."
Michèle Raper Rittenhouse, Playwright, and New Jersey Institute of Technolgy, Director of Theatre Arts and Technology.
E.B. Howell's candid and honest memoir intertwined with fictional storytelling is an important work that would benefit any family member, neighbor, classmate, or friend who is ready to understand in new ways the bipolar mind. Her work is sensitive, heartfelt, while being couched in a creativity that makes this an easy read to a sometimes difficult subject. The love that went into this work sweeps through every page!
- B. Brown, avid reader, wife and teacher.
Emily B. Howell
Raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Emily graduated from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and obtained her Masters in Journalism and Public Policy at American University in Washington, DC.
She served as the Scientific Communications Director of the National Kidney Foundation in New York City from 2006 – 2014; and as a Communications Specialist at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. The unifying thread to Howell’s career in patient advocacy is her experience generating awareness for public health issues by developing and disseminating health messaging locally and globally.
Emily currently works in healthcare and lives and works in Beaufort, SC, with her husband.
Must read 🏆
E. B. Howell’s As Much as I Care to Remember is a frank portrayal of living with bipolar disorder.
An adventurous story with practical lessons for people living with bipolar disorder. A young girl, Liddy, outlines 3 tips from her experience: seek early diagnosis, secure the support of others and draw upon personal strength to run the wild race set before you.
Liddy's secret is under wraps—until her brain jumps the track. Her life turns into a technicolor dream, and suddenly she's manic. As seen through the eyes of a magical character, author E.B. Howell explains bipolar disorder with a detailed account of real and make-believe adventures. Ms. Howell writes openly about struggles to be seen and heard by family members and medical professionals. Most importantly, she recounts Liddy’s manic episodes in searing detail, because they’re her own.
E. B. Howell’s As Much as I Care to Remember is a frank portrayal of living with bipolar disorder. Howell’s honest dedication to raising awareness about bipolar disorder delivers an empathetic and authentic narrative about Liddy, a woman battling the world around her and the multiple narratives spun by her episodes of mania.
As Much as I Care to Remember immediately establishes itself as raw and set on rebelling against the portrait of bipolar disorder purported by mainstream media and popular culture (an issue Liddy addresses in the final chapter, citing it as the reason behind sharing her experience with the reader). Thus, despite being fictitious, Howell constructs Liddy’s experience as lived experiences. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give this novel is the way it reads as a non-fiction memoir.
Subsequently, even when Liddy reaches extreme highs created by the mania associated with bipolar disorder, none of the episodes or small glimpses into Liddy’s psyche are gratuitous. Nor does Howell romanticise Liddy’s experience as we live it alongside her. This is because Howell captures the vulnerable responses of both Liddy and the family and friends around her. Liddy is a woman with a disorder she tries to manage every single day, but first and foremost she is a woman with a career and a husband. Similarly, her mother Hazel is the pharmacist, wife to Liddy’s father Jimmy (with whom the story begins as Jimmy also lives with bipolar disorder) and a mother, before she is the mother trying to cope with Liddy’s episodes.
This is where Howell’s authenticity derives from. It derives from her ability to balance bipolar disorder being central to Liddy’s narrative but also being inconsequential at times. Liddy is not defined by her disorder and never should be - something she struggles with during her third episode.
Howell’s structural craft is also admirable. Never once, although the timeline is not completely linear, did the novel feel haphazard or roughly pieced together. Howell has superbly written a story as if Liddy were there, right beside you, telling you. Consequently, her childhood memories are not revealed all at once, she goes on tangents and she refers to all three of her episodes even though we learn the most about her third one.
Liddy’s is a life lived and still to be lived. The end is not the end; Liddy does not deny the possibility of a fourth episode, in fact she knows it is on the horizon, but her honesty leaves the reader with hope Liddy will be okay. Howell dispels any preconceptions a reader might have about bipolar disorder to tell an incredibly human story which one may assume is alien to them when, in truth, it is not.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
© 2020 by E.B. Howell