This week’s Thursday Album is British superstar Brian Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets.
This week’s Monday poem is Edgar Allan Poe’s The Sleeper. I hope you like it!
Unless you have it, Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder) probably isn’t what you think it is.
Alternatives to A Frozen Mouse (Feb’ 2017) by AJ Mouse
This wasn’t my life to begin with. It wasn’t my body either.
I inherited both, and more, from Mouse.
Mouse created me. She had created another life when she was four so she knew how. That’s what people with Dissociative Identity Disorder do.
You see, terrible things happened to Mouse when she was very young, so she decided to simply stop growing up when she was eight. Her body aged but she didn’t. At eleven, when something even more despicable happened, Mouse froze herself in time, leaving her life, body, and name to me. Mouse remains an afraid and damaged young girl, living in The Deep inside of us. But don’t worry, she isn’t alone.
My name is Jade and I am an alternate personality – the main personality but an alternate nonetheless. I live in this body with Mouse and the other alters: Peter, Neil, Jane, Zen, Nancy, Ray, and Lucy. For over twenty years there had been no more splitting, no one new. Then Anne came along, making alter number ten.
This book is the first part of our journey integrating Anne into her new life. It was her idea to write about it and both our ideas to dedicate this book to Mouse …
Our Frozen Mouse – the author of us all.
Writing under a pseudonym to protect her identity, A. J. Mouse decided to publish her personal struggle with DID in order to impart the truth about living with this condition… DID/MPD has been explored many times in film and television, but what is it really like living with this condition and what causes it? Author A. J. Mouse rejects the dangerous myths and misconceptions created by the mainstream media…
In the book, A. J. Mouse explores the origins of her DID and speculates on how the ‘splitting’ first began. When faced with unbearable trauma, the brain splinters to protect itself so that it can survive. Each alter has their own reason for being and their own story. But all lives stem from Mouse—the original…
This book aims to give readers an insight into the reality of this condition and open up the discussion about mental health in our communities. Head to www.ajmouse.com for more information. – InHouse Publishing
Disclaimer #1: I received a free paperback copy of this book so that I could write a 100% honest review.
Disclaimer #2: I wouldn’t have chosen to review a book with this subject matter on Examining the Odd if the authors hadn’t contacted me. I don’t feel that it’s right to present this book as ‘strange’ in the way that I would talk about a weird fiction novel or surreal fantasy adventure. Having said that, this book is strange, surreal, weird and unlike anything I’ve read before.
Disclaimer #3: This is the first time I’ve reviewed a book about real, living people and I sincerely hope I do not offend any of them.
Seventeen of the chapters in Alternatives to a Frozen Mouse are written by Anne, the newest identity to come along in over twenty years. She’s an adult woman suddenly ‘born’ into a new body which she shares with strangers.
Anne decides to document her journey, aided by Jade (the ‘main’ personality) to help herself to understand her new life. Jade fills in the gaps, authoring alternating chapters, and we also get sneak peeks of the others through emails, notes and stories. Anne and Jade have very different personalities, as well as separate writing styles, so the book stays clear throughout.
The personalities as a whole have a good job and a nice house, they’re married, have a son (who sounds incredible), a dog and a cat. They drive a car, make food, do chores, etc. In other words, they’re probably not like any fictional character that you may have come across in books or films about those with DID. But they’re probably nothing like you either.
Potential readers may think that this is a book for those with DID, or for their friends/relatives, but I think that this is a book for all. It’s like reading an excellent piece of fiction, bolstered by the fact that you know it’s all true.
You know when you’re watching a film based on a true story and every so often you turn to the person you’re watching it with and say “bloody hell, this actually happened!”? Yeah, it’s like that.
I would be very interested to read reviews of this book written by others who have DID. I don’t necessarily feel as though I learned a huge amount about the disorder through reading this book, but I did learn more about the different ways that people cope with stress, trauma, abuse and depression.
It’s an excellent reminder that no two people react in the same way to difficult situations, and in turn, no two people will deal with the aftermath in the same way either. I found myself reacting to the reactions of the different personalities, rather than just accepting that that’s how they deal with situation/person ‘x’. That’s ok when I’m reading the book, but I would never dream of confronting someone about their reaction (unless it put themselves or others in danger).
The body which houses the personalities is a 50 year old female, but it contains a little girl, a man, a lion and seven very different women, all born at separate times over the last two to 50 years! During the book, I felt that I got to know a few of them really well.
Jade and Anne are pretty normal women, with Jade being the more feisty of the two! I was a little disappointed when the book ended and I still felt that I didn’t really know Peter, the male (human, not lion/man) personality.
I would be over the moon to discover that some of the other personalities had decided to write additional chapters, or even books! But, the book has shown me enough to know that a couple of them would never even entertain the idea.
However, I would certainly buy Zen’s self-help book, read Nancy’s blog rants and watch Ray’s practical joke YouTube channel if they existed! I wonder if Anne plans to write more in the future as she gets to know the others better. Hint-hint.
This book deserves to be shared, talked about and read by thousands. It’s funny, heart-breaking, very strange and non-stop engrossing. It’s a bold statement, but reading this book sort of feels like you’re the eleventh member of the body. This is a compliment to Anne in particular as she manages to portray what should be an unimaginable scenario to anyone who may be reading the book. Yes, she’s confused, angry and upset, but she also has a new life to get on with.
I would like to thank Anne and Jade for sharing, not just their story of DID, but also of their experience of coping with abuse, depression and attempted suicide. Yes, it will make readers cry, feel sick and possibly even give them nightmares, but I think it’s wonderful that someone can share experiences like this and help others through the process.
Jade and Anne don’t sugar-coat and they’re not embarrassed to say what they have to say. I’d love to spend some time with them if they didn’t live on the other side of the world!
The cover was created by Neil, one of the personalities: a sort of lion-man with the voice of Liam Neeson. I think I got some strange looks on the bus with it as it probably looked as though I was reading a children’s book. Don’t let it put you off – I completely recommend this book to all.
We are not dangerous serial killers. We are real—all of us. I am. We are. – A.J. Mouse
Available in paperback (274 pages) and for Kindle.
Polka dots can’t stay alone. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environments. – Yayoi Kusama
“She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver… Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences… spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.” – Louise Bourgeois. The piece at the Tate was entitled Maman.
Last night I watched the Coen brothers’ comedy Hail, Caesar! (2016). Starring George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton and many more fantastic faces, Hail, Caesar! presents a day in the life of a Hollywood studio fixer in the 1950s. I haven’t heard many good words about it, but I thought it was fantastic!
Hollywood, the ’50s. Capitol Pictures is making prestige picture Hail, Caesar, A Tale Of Christ’s Life when its star (Clooney) disappears. Studio fixer Eddie Mannix (Brolin) has to bring him back, while also dealing with other daily issues. – Empire
This week’s Sunday song is The White Stripes’ The Denial Twist.
Let’s have five days of short stories. We’ll begin today with Leonora Carrington’s The Debutante, a story of a girl and a hyena.
by Leonora Carrington
WHEN I was a debutante I often went to the zoological garden. I went so often that I was better acquainted with animals than with the young girls of my age. It was to escape from the world that I found myself each day at the zoo. The beast I knew best was a young hyena. She knew me too. She was extremely intelligent; I taught her French and in return she taught me her language. We spent many pleasant hours in this way.
For the first of May my mother had arranged a ball in my honor. For entire nights I suffered: I had always detested balls, above all those given in my own honor.
On the morning of May first, 1934, very early, I went to visit the hyena. “What a mess of shit,” I told her. “I must go to my ball this evening.”
“You’re lucky,” she said. “I would go happily. I do not know how to dance, but after all, I could engage in conversation.”
“There will be many things to eat,” said I. “I have seen wagons loaded entirely with food coming up to the house.”
“And you complain!” replied the hyena with disgust. “As for me, I eat only once a day, and what rubbish they stick me with!”
I had a bold idea; I almost laughed. “You have only to go in my place.”
“We do not look enough alike, otherwise I would gladly go,” said the hyena, a little sad. “Listen,” said I, “in the evening light one does not see very well. If you were disguised a little, no one would notice in the crowd. Besides, we are almost the same size. You are my only friend; I implore you.”
She reflected upon this sentiment. I knew that she wanted to accept. “It is done,” she said suddenly.
It was very early; not many keepers were about. Quickly I opened the cage and in a moment we were in the street. I took a taxi; at the house, everyone was in bed. In my room, I brought out the gown I was supposed to wear that evening. It was a little long, and the hyena walked with difficulty in my high-heeled shoes. I found some gloves to disguise her hands which were too hairy to resemble mine. When the sunlight entered, she strolled around the room several times—walking more or less correctly. We were so very occupied that my mother, who came to tell me good morning, almost opened the door before the hyena could hide herself under my bed. “There is a bad odor in the room,” said my mother, opening the window. “Before this evening you must take a perfumed bath with my new salts.”
“Agreed,” said I. She did not stay long; I believe the odor was too strong for her. “Do not be late for breakfast,” she said, as she left the room.
The greatest difficulty was to find a disguise for the hyena’s face. For hours and hours we sought an answer: she rejected all of my proposals. At last she said, “I think I know a solution. You have a maid?”
“Yes,” I said, perplexed.
“Well, that’s it. You will ring for the maid and when she enters we will throw ourselves upon her and remove her face. I will wear her face this evening in place of my own.”
“That’s not practical,” I said to her.
“She will probably die when she has no more face; someone will surely find the corpse and we will go to prison.”
“I am hungry enough to eat her,” replied the hyena.
“And the bones?”
“Those too,” she said.
“Then it’s settled?”
“Only if you agree to kill her before removing her face. It would be too uncomfortable otherwise.”
“Good; it’s all right with me.” I rang for Marie, the maid, with a certain nervousness. I would not have done it if I did not detest dances so much. When Marie entered I turned to the wall so as not to see. I admit that it was done quickly. A brief cry and it was over. While the hyena ate, I looked out the window. A few minutes later, she said: “I cannot eat anymore; the two feet are left, but if you have a little bag I will eat them later in the day.”
“You will find in the wardrobe a bag embroidered with fleurs de lys. Remove the handkerchiefs inside it and take it.” She did as I indicated.
At last she said: “Turn around now and look, because I am beautiful!” Before the mirror, the hyena admired herself in Marie’s face. She had eaten very carefully all around the face so that what was left was just what was needed. “Surely, it’s properly done,” said I.
Toward evening, when the hyena was all dressed, she declared: “I am in a very good mood. I have the impression that I will be a great success this evening.” When the music below had been heard for some time, I said to her: “Go now, and remember not to place yourself at my mother’s side: she will surely know that it is not I. Otherwise I know no one. Good luck.” I embraced her as we parted but she smelled very strong.
Night had fallen. Exhausted by the emotions of the day, I took a book and sat down by the open window. I remember that I was reading Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. It was perhaps an hour later that the first sign of misfortune announced itself. A bat entered through the window, emitting little cries. I am terribly afraid of bats, I hid behind a chair, my teeth chattering. Scarcely was I on my knees when the beating of the wings was drowned out by a great commotion at my door. My mother entered, pale with rage. “We were coming to seat ourselves at the table,” she said, “when the thing who was in your place rose and cried: ‘I smell a little strong, eh? Well, as for me, I do not eat cake.’ With these words she removed her face and ate it. A great leap and she disappeared out the window.”
If you’re not familiar with Leonora Carrington, she was a visual artist as well as a writer and you can see some of her work in the video below.
This week’s Thursday album is Marilyn Manson’s Born Villain.
LaBeouf told Manson that he would love to direct his next video and showed him his previous work, “Maniac”, as proof that he knows what he’s doing behind the camera. “I played ‘Maniac’ for [Manson], and he freaked the f— out,” LaBeouf recalled… Unsurprisingly, the imagery in the video is very graphic and very adult. – MTV
This week’s Sunday Song is David Bowie’s Starman.