Author Jasmine Warga gave local residents insight into writing about–and with–depression.
On July 25, Warga talked about her debut novel: My Heart and Other Black Holes at the Mason Public Library.
Warga said inspiration for this novel came from her own experiences with depression.
“I don’t think that it’s at all based on hard facts of my life, but more like emotional truths in my life,” Warga said. “I think that I write books about emotional truths that I’ve experienced and that I’m interested in.”
Because of the similarities of the experiences between the main character and Warga, she said the process of writing this book taught her a lot about what depression is and gave her a better understanding of her own condition.
“I think I learned how manipulative of a disease depression is and how it really makes you such an unreliable narrator of your own life,” Warga said. “(I learned) how important and lifesaving it is about being honest about what’s happening to you and how difficult depression makes it to be (honest).”
Patti Ahting, the Associate Director of Mental Health Recovery Services, said Warga portrayed depression in a realistic way while instilling hope in her readers.
“She just did a really good job in describing how someone can feel so hopeless and helpless.” Ahting said. “But yet can connect with someone and (it is) through those connections and relationships that things can get better.”
Warga said that with a theme so personal, she felt very fortunate to have an editing team who focused more on the writing than on the content presented.
“I got lucky with the editor that I worked with,” Warga said. “She’s just so fantastic that I feel like she really understands how to help you write your best book. So, she didn’t really try to change the book in a way that felt not right to me.”
When it comes to advice for aspiring writers, Warga said that the most important thing is to keep writing, even when it’s extremely difficult.
“Writing, to me, is a combination of passion and discipline, but it’s really important to have the discipline piece,” Warga said, “I think too many people really only wait around for the muse, and the muse only works if you do.”