My essays, articles, and reviews are published or forthcoming in the Wellcome Collection, British Medical Journal's Medical Humanities, the GuardianExtinction Rebellion, Media Theory Journal, Photo Monitor, Yoga International, Decorating Dissidence, TEXT JournalThe PolyphonyLIRIC Journal, and Paper Nations, amongst others. Recordings of my writing and performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio and featured by Cambridge University Museums, Manchester Histories Festival, Louder Than The Storm, and Radiophrenia. 

Lithification, Wellcome Collection, publishing date early 2021

I am currently working on a research project with the Wellcome Collection. I've been putting lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) in my body for over three years. Lithium has been used to treat bipolar disorder for decades, although 

psychiatrists are still unsure how it works. During this research, I want to get to know lithium, not by another failed attempt at investigating it biochemically or neurologically, but by tracing its side effects (positive and negative), including those of toxicity, on my body and the environment. I'm using Timothy Morton's framework of 'ecognosis' (the uncanny realisation that we are ‘surrounded and penetrated by other entities such as stomach bacteria, parasites, mitochondria,’ and, in my case, lithium), not to suggest we stop taking medications but to demand we stop believing in the anthropocentric myth that human (mental) health is the only priority. There is the rest of the world to put back into the picture.

 

URL Wellcome Collection

SnowThe Polyphony, 27 October 2020

'Snow' is an article about visual snow the 'condition', 'phenomenon', 'syndrome', or 'disease' visual snow, a 'snow-like'

disturbance across the entire visual field, which flickers and flashes. The Polyphony is Durham University's journal for

the medical humanities. 

'I first noticed it when I was very small, maybe around the age of four or five. I thought it was

fairies, initially; golden swirls arranged out of small, staccato dots which pulsated in front of my

eyes when I closed them.' 

URL The Polyphony

VanillaTEXT Journal (24: no 2), 02 October 2020

 

'Vanilla' starts out by describing a local marketplace (St Nicholas' Market, Bristol) where I later find a job as a cafe assistant in the cake shop. After chastising myself on what went wrong after university, and how I ended up there, the focus of the essay shifts into that of a strangely erotic hallucination. I take pleasure in imaging myself on top of a wedding cake, slipping and sloshing about in vanilla vegan buttercream. 

'There’s a famous market near where I live. My favourite time to go is early in the morning, before the crowds of overeager tourists and jaded office-workers get there, just as the stalls are being set up. The market itself has an indoor part, an outdoor part, and an indoor-outdoor part, and is housed in a tastefully decrepit old corn exchange, built out of a warm, golden limestone. The site has been used as a market, I understand from the signs put up everywhere, since 1734.' 

URL TEXT Journal

 

 

 

 

HorizontalityYoga International, publishing date TBC

 

I've written an article for Yoga International, an online yoga magazine which has over 300,000 subscribers across the world. This piece, called 'Horizontality', expands yoga and Buddhist teacher Michael Stone's interpretation of 'horizontal transcendence' and explains how I use it to manage my hypomania.

'In śavāsana, my awareness gets pulled along the surface of the earth rather than dissipates into the air above. I get heavier. Gravity seems to weight me down. I sink back through the layers of my mind’s atmosphere; gently descending through its mesosphere, stratosphere, troposphere. Rich, deep blues melt into warm, friendly azures and, as I descend, time solidifies and slows down. In śavāsana, I am earthed and relational—connected, albeit quite unromantically, with my mat and the floor. I wake up ‘by going sideways,’ as Stone would say.'

URL Yoga International 

© Laura Grace Simpkins 2021