Hi! I’m David, and I made The Membrane. Here’s a separate post explaining why I made this place. This one is about catch-up! Maybe you saw my reporting on the police killing a schizophrenic woman Arizona in Justice Gawker, maybe you saw the very kind mention in Today in Tabs of Sady Doyle’s brilliant essay on Valerie Solanas, maybe you are my parents.
Whatever the reason, I’m really, really glad you’re here. The deal is this: because of my day job, I honestly don’t have enough time to write for this site as much as I’d like to on a day-to-day basis. That means I tend towards paying for and writing bigger things. Maybe that’s a longform piece, maybe it’s a heavily investigated 1,200 piece, maybe it’s a comic, maybe it’s a zine, maybe it’s a short film. I generally pay people around $200, if you’re interested. It’s not a lot, but I make like slightly above $40,000, so it’s what I can do Kinja is great for a lot of things, but for some reason if I switch someone’s byline, it disappears from the main page? That’s awful, so here, as a corrective, are the best things on The Membrane not by me:
BoJack Horseman Gets Depression Right Where Others Failed, by Julie Kliegman. Just in time for the new season! The Membrane looks at culture through a mental health lens a lot, and this is a very strong analysis of how cynicism can meld into depression just like that.
She Dwells With Beauty, by Janea Kelly. This is that zine I was walking about up there. A very under-utilized medium imo, and Kelly is a master. Great accompanying soundtrack.
A Day in the Premenstrual Dysphoric Life, by Rachel Hoffman. A comic with an absolutely charming, very personal style about a disorder which I knew nothing about before Hoffman pitched it. If you’ve never heard of PMDD, which entails horribly painful period cramps, take a few minutes and expand yr empathy and read this.
The Farm and The Dress, Me and Them, by Sarah Goodyear. Goodyear’s mom ran a halfway home in upstate New York. As a teen, Goodyear would visit and hang out with the people there, who all learned to make sense of awkward power dynamics and grew to better understand each other. This is not some sappy piece where someone uses the mentally ill to leapfrog into their own personal growth, this is about the power of empathy. There’s a solid difference and Goodyear nails it.
Mental Health Canon No. 1: Mockingjay/An Untamed State, by Jaya Saxea From the intro to this post: The Mental Health Canon is a collection of critical pieces looking at art both old and new, popular and obscure, and how they interact with mental health. This one, the first one, compares and contrast the PTSD found in The Hunger Games and Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State.