Alice D.: I enjoyed reading your short on survival “Greenie” in the winter issue of rkvry quarterly. I thought it was interesting how the story used dark humor woven throughout, such as the lines, “The ambulance is the stagecoach for alcoholics. We don’t lose a glass slipper. We lose our sanity.” Why did you choose to use humor in this story in particular?
Tessa Torgeson: I believe that there is beauty, truth, and even humor to be found even in
darkness and despair. I do not think that a person can ever heal from addiction, depression, or any difficult life experience without having a sense of humor about it. Humor has helped me deal with pain immensely and I have noticed it also helps others who are dealing with addiction and mental illness. By that I do not mean making light of anybody’s pain or loss, but more so exploring the contradictions within life and embracing them.
AD.: What did you think about the image of “Mother and Child” by Marilyn Sears
Bourbon that was selected for your story?
TT: The image was beautiful and I felt lucky to have it chosen for my story! I am not an art
expert by any means, so I don’t have the most eloquent words to describe it. But I do love how it conveys the nurturing and protective relationship between the mother and her child through vivid colors and spatial relationships. It complemented my story really well in the relationship between the nurse “Sandy” and the protagonist.
AD: Where else can readers find your work? Where else have your stories been published?
TT: Actually I was pretty excited because this is my first story I’ve submitted and published.
I’m fairly new to this whole thing. Otherwise, I have just had poetry published in college literary journals. I just graduated with my English degree. My goal right now is to just keep writing and hopefully write a novel! I do have a blog: tessatorgeson.wordpress.com.
AD: What does recovery mean to you?
TT: I think that recovery is a daily journey towards healing, of trying to stitch together fragments of light like searching for constellations in the night sky. Recovery is not a destination; it is a constant grasping and fumbling towards finding meaning and connection in life. For me, that means sharing my story with others to try to break some of the silence and stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness. It means connecting with others and hopefully fostering some hope. I often read about someone in the paper who has committed suicide, or hear about friends relapsing or struggling and it breaks my heart. I wish people did not feel so alone and know there is support for recovery and healing.