Back in university I had a lot of artsy friends. One of these friends, Sabrina Chapadjiev, got a bunch of artsy people together in a group to make some art. I played music and had long hair, but I’ve never really considered myself very artsy. When my theatre friends needed help with a play, I ran the audio equipment. But when Sabrina wrote a play, I somehow ended up in it. It wasn’t a major part, but I was on stage, which was uncomfortable. The play, called Perhaps Merely Quiet, became even more uncomfortable a couple days before it opened, when I discovered that it was largely autobiographical. That probably surprised me more than everyone else, since it was really kind of foolish of me to not have assumed from the beginning it was at least somewhat related to the writer’s life.

I gather from Sabrina’s website that the play has changed a bit since the initial production, but the key theme of madness has remained. So amidst the chaos that always exists around a theatre production, to find out the director is to some extent using the play to recreate her own past madness, well, I found the experience somewhat disturbing. I really didn’t want to be responsible for helping someone self-destruct, and I had no idea if that’s what was happening. So after the play was done, I tried to stay away from that whole scene, which meant mostly staying away from Sabrina.

I still have friends who have maintained contact with Sabrina, though, so I’ve heard a little of what she’s been doing. She seems to have become a somewhat successful artist, notwithstanding my earlier concerns. And now she has a book, called Live Through This, available to pre-order via Amazon. The subtitle of the book is “On Creativity and Self-Destruction,” exactly what I was worried about back then. Somehow binding it up in a book makes it seem less scary and more impressive, though. I don’t have any of the same worries that this book will have some sort of harmful effect on anyone.

It doesn’t hurt that the book includes a list of prestigious contributors. Remember when I wrote about bell hooks? She’s one of the contributors to Sabrina’s book. So in my small world this makes Sabrina successful. Of course she was probably successful long ago, back when I knew her even, but I just realized it. And I guess my point here is just to say that I knew her when, that I was once a friend (albeit fair weather) of that author now on a book tour with somewhat famous people.