"About the Work" with Rachel Paris Wimer
In our "About the Work" series, Olga Mexina and Gbenga Adesina ask recent contributors for insight into their writing or for current sources of inspiration. Read Rachel Paris Wimer's essay "We Fly in Planes" in SER Vol. 41.1.
One unseasonably warm afternoon in February 2016, I sat alone in the living room of my condo in Pentagon City, outside of Washington, DC, having a hypomanic episode. I was listening to Beth Orton sing about a galaxy of emptiness, and my mind started racing. I thought about five years prior when I’d had my first manic episode. Suddenly, it was urgent to find out if I still had mementos of my time spent in Dominion Hospital, or if they’d been tossed during a move. Then, I remembered the lime green box.
I went into the closet in my son’s room, and I found the box labeled “Rachel.” As I lifted the lid, I held my breath, pulling out old planners with to-do lists written in purple ink, random telephone numbers, brochures, maps, a stack of yellow Post-it notes with cryptic messages in my handwriting. There was a striking portrait my hospital roommate, Didi, had drawn of me in pencil. Combing through this box, my heart pounding, I realized that I had a treasure trove of artifacts and clues from my past.
Later that summer, I was in Barrett Swanson’s Experimental Forms workshop through Creative Nonfiction magazine, and we were to write about a moment from our lives that intersected with some larger cultural event or phenomenon—for me that was 9/11. The first draft of “We Fly in Planes” came out of it. That lime green box became an essay containing a written, vibrant collage of my manic experience.
RACHEL PARIS WIMER is a writer and web content editor based out of the DC metro area. She has a BA in English from Washington College and an MA in English from George Mason University. She is an alum of the Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop and the Tin House Summer 2022 Workshop. Rachel has been published in Under the Gum Tree, Microfiction Monday Magazine, and Scary Mommy. You can find more of her writing at www.dreamoir.com. She lives with her husband and their son and finds much of her inspiration from music. She is currently working on a hybrid memoir.