Note: I will unabashedly agree this review is extremely personal, and not in the least bit objective.
“I am a lover of words,
and tragically beautiful things,”
Not Entirely Broken, Never Quite Whole
Nicole Lyons’ new release, The Lithium Chronicles, [coming Spring 2019] is part collected works from previous publications and new pieces that are ripped straight from the center of her being and thrusted into ours.
It is difficult for me to review Nicole’s work, not because I find it lacking in any way, but because it presents such power and vulnerability that I’m left overwhelmed.
With a handful of words Lyons can give you a window into the haunting, often debilitating world of depression (“Depression Sleeps”) and she’ll take you on roller coaster ride that so vividly paints a portrait of mania, you’ll find yourself dizzy afterword (“My Manic Mind”).
When Nicole asked me to read and review an early copy of TLC, I was honored and ecstatic (to put it lightly). I opened it immediately and was met with some of my most beloved pieces written by her, excited to see they were added to the collection. I found new pieces that felt as if she plucked them straight from my own wandering mess of a head (“Eerie Alones And Jams Of Traffic”), which only intensified the connection I already feel to her writing.
While Nicole tackles the depth of inner darkness and the shadows of a past life never far from present, her writing can appeal to anyone who feels, and feels strongly regardless of reason. There is also healing, encouragement, empowerment, and acceptance in her words (“She, Of The Darkest”, “Like New”, “Dragon Soul”) to herself and her readers. If anything, I would sum up TLC as cathartic.
The day she chose to strip herself
of everyone else’s opinions
was the first time she knew strength,
held courage, and felt beauty.
That was the day when she finally
understood what it meant to be free.
That Day, At Dinner
Like all of her works, The Lithium Chronicles can be read and read again. The skillful way Nicole expresses what is in her head and her heart feels like a hug to the soul every time I open one of her books, and TLC is no different. I have already found myself drawn to certain pieces over and over again (“Little Black Dress”, “I Want To Burn”, In Static And Stereo”). The meaning, interpretation, changes depending on mood, on what is ransaking my own mind and heart (or that of the readers). Poetry is a way to feel, to connect, to oneself and to others. It has the magic qualities of making the reader feel less alone with their own emotions.
To the readers who may not tread through the shadows, who may not be able to so deeply relate to the words on the pages, The Lithium Chronicles offers you a view inside the mind of someone who has walked through their own Hell and come out with a burning ferocity of survival.
This life hasn’t been easy on me,
I have learned to breathe fire,
and God help any of you who would
ever try to smother my flames.
A word about TLC from Nicole herself (as shared via Facebook)
What is The Lithium Chronicles? Well thanks for asking. TLC is my entire collected works spanning from 2010 until now. I started TLC on Facebook strictly to write about mental health and my journey after accepting my bipolar diagnosis. TLC has chronicled all of my ups, downs, delusions, disasters, and all of my healing along the way. These books – Volume I & II will not only include poetry from my books: HUSH, WORLD, and BLOSSOM, but will also include essays and articles I have written for my website TLC, The International Bipolar Foundation, Psych Central, The Mighty, and a bunch of unpublished pieces.
This is it, my journey, my pain, my healing.