Joan Hawkins releases first creative book, ‘School and Suicide’
In adolescence and early adulthood, professor Joan Hawkins was passionate about creative writing. When she began her dissertation, creative writing was replaced by academic writing. She has now returned to the craft, publishing her first creative book this fall.
“School and Suicide,” released in September and published by Alien Buddha Press, is a collection of short memoir works. It covers events in Hawkins’ life from age 9 to 22.
“The initial idea to start writing the pieces kind of took me by surprise,” she said. “I mean, I just started.”
The anthology chronicles lessons she learned at school and from personal experiences adjacent to suicide. Hawkins volunteered in suicide prevention at a crisis hotline center as a teenager, and when she was in college, she had a neighbor who had attempted to die by suicide.
“They have been kind of recurring themes in my life,” Hawkins said.
The book is the compilation of about eight years of work, she said. She has been told it reads like fragments of a novel.
“This anthology deals a lot with a time in my life when I was coming to grips with a loss and with learning how complicated things were,” she said. “The early stories of the book are really about how as a kid, you begin to realize that adults are flawed creatures.”
Hawkins said she wants people to realize that “children are more complicated than we give them credit for being and more savvy than we give them credit for being.”
“In our intention to try to protect them, we often leave them in a space that is very difficult and complicated and makes them grow up faster than they should have to,” she said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please reach out immediately to 988 to access the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.