Today we talk about Bipolar Normal, a book by Matthew Collinge published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Matthew Collinge to get to know him better, his special habits while writing and what inspired him that led him to the writing of his book Bipolar Normal.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Where did you find the inspiration to write the book?
My inspiration is in the ability we all have to choose. To choose our reality and our destiny. Luck, circumstance, illness or health, poverty or wealth, there is always an element of choice, an option to be who you want to be, to find your inner soul and to be at one with it. I wanted BiPolar NORMAL to be real, to be humorous, inspiring, enthralling and a manuscript all readers can relate to, even if they have never been exposed to a mental illness. Struggle is all around us. This is my inspiration, my source of hope and a knowledge that what is taken from us by our circumstances can be regained 10 fold if we so choose.
- Was the idea for this book born at a particular moment?
My spiritual home is a little suburb in Melbourne, Australia, called Footscray. It is a place of life, splashes of colour, a mix of people and purposes, a little sample of this world in a single town where the affluent and the deprived live shared lives. It was after my final dismissal from an evil car company that I returned to this place and found the solitude and comfort I so desperately needed. It was here I knew that I must write.
BiPolar NORMAL was originally written for an audience of one – myself in 30 years time. A record of what I had endured and savoured, suffered and celebrated. It was my own little time capsule to remind myself of what had been. Despite betrayal of the gravest nature, BiPolar NORMAL is a positive story and one of what can happen when navigating a life less ordinary.
- What does it mean to suffer from bipolarity in 2021?
The last bastion of bigotry. To be racist, homophobic, sexist, to vilify the disabled, all are considered mortal sins today. But the mentally ill are as disregarded, ostracised, insulted or even physically assaulted as if we were in the 1950s. Roughly 30 people attended my wedding celebration in 2019, two years later only 2 of these friends remain. People turn with no warning, smiles and gestures of warmth turn to glares of hate in a moment. A friend of 25 years may offer no more than a 16 minute phone conversation. We are the last minority, the people you can abuse guilt free and wipe your hands clean. I find myself constantly characterised in one of two ways. The first is that I am fine, I have no illness or problem, so any issues are a product of my choices not my condition. I deserve no mercy and as long as I present well, why should anyone care for me? Then there are those who see me as totally insane for the smallest indiscretion. I am ‘not myself’ so I should be isolated as quickly as possible. In the year 2021 the preferred weapon of choice is the smart phone. A person can be instantly cancelled, blocked from existence. The bigot’s favourite weapon is always in their pocket, the sentence: permanent stonewalling.
- Do you have any special habits while writing?
Firstly, my chair! It is a desk chair, but a kneeling chair, and it is so good for my back. As I type right now my back has given out and for 6 days so far I can barely stand. Yet on this chair, all is well. It is posture perfect and complete relief. At 6’5” (196 cm) I hope to be standing proud when I am old and grey.
The second habit of note is my love of early mornings. Now I mean seriously early. I am frequently writing at 3 am and find a sense of clarity and purpose at that time that dissipates somewhat during the day. Plus a good nap in the afternoon is always a way to revitalise and replenish my writing reserves.
The third is my preference for digital articles (the books I have written since BiPolar NORMAL have required a lot of research). Yet when I read books for my research it has to be the real thing, there is still no substitute for paper or a good book case.
My writing could not be without my wife, so I guess you could say the ‘habit of marriage’ is the most important ingredient. She provides more income than I do, and she listens to me wrestling with ideas and possibilities. Oddly we have an understanding – she does not read my books. My love of the written word and my love are two separate pursuits.
- Are you already working on a new book?
What a wonderful question. The answer is yes, but more importantly I have completed 2 works since BiPolar NORMAL went on sale.
The first is The 3rd Degree, a manuscript already approved by Europe Books. Having researched climate change for 20 years, worked in public transport, studied climate change at The University of Melbourne, campaigned for it from within the Australian Labor Party (the party coming to power in 2007 and implementing a carbon tax in 2012), I wanted to make a contribution. The 3rd Degree is not another doom n’ gloom diatribe, it is a solution fit for the 21st century, for rich and poor nations, for those that care and those that don’t. It embraces life, free of compromise and I hope demonstrates that in solving climate change, the best is yet to come.
The second is Feminism, For You. A man’s take on the many dilemmas and challenges women face. I pay respect to those that made a difference and lambast those that made it worse. And I answer that great question – what is a feminist?
And finally, I am working on a new text called Evil. It is a history of China, looking at the incredible and horrible massacres and death tolls that shape China’s many thousands of years. Is China readying for more bloodshed as we speak? Only time will tell.
Europe Books thanks the author Matthew Collinge once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Bipolar Normal. We wish him the best of luck for this novel and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you to read this book with curiosity and with the desire to know what you don’t know, because each book has not only a story to tell, but also something to teach!
So, my dear reader, enjoy your reading and give yourself some food for your thoughts!