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Marble Mania: A Review of Ellen Forney's Graphic Memoir
Marble Mania is a term coined by cartoonist Ellen Forney to describe her experience of living with bipolar disorder, a mental illness that causes extreme mood swings. In her graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, she chronicles her journey from diagnosis to recovery, exploring the relationship between creativity and madness.
Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly before her 30th birthday, after a manic episode that made her feel euphoric, reckless, and unstoppable. She was terrified that taking medication would dull her artistic spark, and she struggled to find a balance between stability and inspiration. She also searched for meaning in the lives and works of other famous artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, such as Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath.
Marbles is a candid, witty, and insightful memoir that combines bold black-and-white drawings and evocative prose to depict the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. Forney does not shy away from showing the dark side of her illness, such as the suicidal thoughts, the self-destructive behavior, and the stigma and discrimination she faced. She also celebrates the positive aspects of her condition, such as the heightened creativity, the intense emotions, and the unique perspective on life.
Marbles is not only a personal story, but also a well-researched exploration of the scientific and cultural aspects of bipolar disorder. Forney explains the symptoms, causes, treatments, and medications of the condition, as well as the latest studies and theories on the link between bipolar disorder and artistic genius. She also examines the popular concept of the "crazy artist", and how it affects the way society views and values mental illness and creativity.
Marbles is a powerful and inspiring graphic memoir that offers hope and understanding to anyone who has ever experienced mental health challenges or knows someone who has. It is also a fascinating and entertaining read for anyone who is interested in art, literature, psychology, or human nature.
If you want to read Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney, you can find it online as a PDF file[^1^] [^2^] [^3^].
One of the most striking features of Marbles is the visual style that Forney uses to convey her mood states. She uses different types of lines, shapes, colors, and fonts to illustrate the contrast between mania and depression. For example, when she is manic, she draws herself with jagged lines, bright colors, and exaggerated expressions. When she is depressed, she draws herself with smooth lines, dark shades, and flat faces. She also uses different types of text to show the difference between her inner and outer voices. For example, when she is manic, she writes her thoughts in a large, bold, and chaotic font. When she is depressed, she writes her thoughts in a small, faint, and orderly font.
Another interesting aspect of Marbles is the way that Forney incorporates the works and biographies of other artists and writers who had bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses. She draws portraits of them in their own styles, and quotes from their letters, journals, and interviews. She also compares and contrasts her own experiences with theirs, and reflects on how their illnesses affected their creativity and careers. For example, she relates to Vincent van Gogh's struggle with medication and self-harm, Georgia O'Keeffe's use of nature as a source of inspiration and healing, William Styron's description of depression as a "brain storm", and Sylvia Plath's attempt to balance motherhood and writing.
A final noteworthy element of Marbles is the humor and honesty that Forney infuses in her memoir. She does not sugarcoat or romanticize her illness, but she also does not wallow in self-pity or despair. She acknowledges the challenges and difficulties that she faced, but she also celebrates the achievements and joys that she experienced. She makes fun of herself and her quirks, but she also respects herself and her values. She shares her fears and doubts, but she also expresses her hopes and dreams. She shows that living with bipolar disorder is not easy, but it is also not impossible. 061ffe29dd