Hello Fellow Bloggers,
I have an important issue and person that will be featured on the blog today. Her name is Victoria Griffin and she is the creator of Flooded Anthology. The project is centered on raising awareness about brain injuries and the effects they have on one’s life. This all came about after Victoria suffered a concussion that left her unable to speak, walk, or comprehend the passage of time. She wanted to be able to use the anthology to describe the complexity of brain injuries as well as create an expansive and truthful representation. The anthology itself will be a compilation of fiction and creative nonfiction (roughly 80,000 words) for writing can sometimes do what mere facts cannot: make a person feel what it is like to have a concussion.
For this anthology to happen however, it needs the help of anyone and everyone. Whether you share the information around social media, donate to its kickstarter page or both, this project requires the support of an audience larger than just Victoria herself.
For more information, I have included an interview with Victoria below. The interview begins with a word association game, then branching out to more in depth responses about the project.
First words that come to mind when you think of Flooded?Helpless, Afraid, DesperateFirst words that came to mind when you thought of this project?Community, Strength, UnderstandingFirst words that come to mind when you think of your concussion?Dark, Stolen, WrongFirst words that come to mind when you think of writing?Connection, Expression, HonestyFirst words that come to mind when you think about your life now?Unexpected, Fluid, Beautiful
What inspired the anthology?
In January of this year, I took a hit to the head during softball practice. I immediately felt drunk, but the next morning I had difficulty speaking and walking. My trainer assured me the symptoms would be gone within two weeks, after which the doctor assured me they would be gone within three. After four months, two ER visits, a drug overdose (caused by a neurologist who was supposed to help me), and a desperate struggle to graduate without being able to read or perform basic, everyday functions, I finally recovered.
On the surface, the concussion cost me my senior season of softball and four months of my life. But in reality, it left scars so deep, they are difficult to describe—which is what prompted me to write about the experience. When I realized there was no publication solely dedicated to brain injuries, I began to truly consider how concussion awareness is approached—with facts and statistics—and how inadequate that is.
What was it like to be concussed?
A brain injury is difficult to describe. I feel like I could write a thousand pages and never capture the experience. I can tell you that my mom said I sounded like a four-year-old, and my dad said my eyes were always dull and lifeless. I don’t remember the first two weeks at all, and after that I would “lose” gradually decreasing sections of time—a few days at first, then a day, then hours, and eventually minutes. When I finally gained enough strength to walk around the apartment, I would get stuck on the stairs and have to call for help. A sound as small as footsteps would send me into sensory overload attacks—which I came to call flooding—during which I would involuntarily curl into a ball and be unable to move, speak, or breathe.
Have you ever been near to drowning? Each time an attack happened, I felt like I was drowning. Getting air was more difficult than pressing through the heaviest backsquat I’ve ever attempted. And each attack lasted hours.
Still, all I’ve really described is the physical. Can I explain to you what it feels like to lose your mental capabilities? To lose your language? To not be able to understand words spoken to you? To feel paranoia so strong you can’t look anyone in the eye? To lose your emotions, so that all you feel are the artificial sadness and fear induced by the injury and medication?
What could someone who has never experienced a brain injury gain from reading Flooded?
The anthology is not simply for survivors. While it will certainly be an outlet for them to express their personal realities, they are actually the group of people who (as readers) need the anthology the least.
When I realized I was concussed, my first reaction was to try to hide it because I knew I would be benched. What if I had read an anthology like Flooded? What if I had known what could happen to me? I was lucky. I walked away from my brain injury with no permanent damage, and my poor decision early on did not negatively affect the outcome. But it could have. And for many, it does. Reading an anthology like Flooded may help others to make better decisions in such a situation.
If you have not experienced a brain injury, you might in the future. Or a family member or close friend might, and they will not be able to tell you what they’re going through, not until it’s over. What if you had the opportunity to gain insight into their struggles? I know my friends and family would have leapt at the thought of learning anything about what was happening inside my body and mind.
Concussions don’t just happen to athletes. They happen after a fall or a car accident. They are a part of life that needs to be addressed in literature. At the very least, gaining empathy for another’s pain and struggles makes you a better, more understanding person. Who doesn’t need that in their life?
How did your concussion change your life?
The concussion completely altered the course of my life, directly and indirectly. Because of it, I wound up discovering a new passion—freelance editing. But the most significant result of the injury is its impact on my perspective and my worldview. I now have a much deeper understanding of the sorts of challenges some people face every single day—those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and learning disorders.
I also have an incredibly deep-rooted appreciation for the people in my life. We all know that extreme situations bring out the best and the worst in people. I saw people behave in ways I never would have expected. I saw true cruelty, to a degree I didn’t believe people to be capable of, not from strangers but from people who had been in my life for years.
But I also saw extreme compassion and sacrifice. I saw a few friends and family members put their lives on hold to make sure I made it through. From driving across the country to staying with me when I was afraid of what might happen during the night, I can never repay those amazing people, but I will spend the rest of my life trying. And now, I consider of every person in my life, would they be the one to make sure I kept breathing when an attack hit? Or would they be the one to step over me and leave me alone?
Becoming A Part Of Flooded
If writers want to be a part of Flooded, they can submit pieces via Submittable starting November 15th and ending February 28th. After the Kickstarter event is over, details about submissions will be available at victoriagriffin.net. Anyone can submit; you do not need to have suffered a brain injury or know someone who suffered a brain injury. The anthology is dedicated to awareness, education, and welcoming writers of all ages, skill level, races, genders, and backgrounds.
For the anthology to happen, Victoria is using Kickstarter which is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding platform. If there is even a dollar short of the goal, the money raised is not received. For that reason, Victoria has set both a bare minimum and target budget to fund the anthology. The budget will cover cover art, design, interior layout, Submittable fees, editing and proofreading, promotion, and contributor payment and copies.
Rewards for Supporting Flooded
How can you help?
Spreading the word is key. Share a link to the Kickstarter page on social media. Tell your friends and family. Help us to turn this project into a movement. And of course, you can visit the Kickstarter page yourself, and pledge to support the project.
So with that I encourage everyone to please help out this amazing expression of creativity and awareness. It was why I personally signed up to join the blog hop – to support Victoria and this anthology. Let us make Flooded a reality.