New Book!

I’m pleased to announce the soft launch of my latest book, “I’Mmoral: Poems for Unrepentant Sinners and Free Thinkers.” For the time being, the eBook is available only on lulu.com, but is being rolled out for distribution through Amazon, Kobo, NOOK, and more. Once I have approved the proofs of the paperback version, I will advise where those can be purchased as well.

cropped-immoral-image.jpegSummary: What would the war cry of a mostly introverted, mentally ill, autistic, genderqueer, physically disabled, feminist, atheist, polyamorous woman sound like? A lot like this. Using a combination of essay and free-form poetry, R.K. confronts the status quo and dissects it, inspecting its parts and discarding the bad bits. In spite of tackling some obviously serious and controversial topics, such as abortion and the anti-vaccination movement, she approaches her subjects with humour and then slaughters them with equal parts derision and kindness.

Price (eBook): $2.99 / Click here to view/buy

Thanks very much for your support!

/rk

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Pot Meet Kettle

WHEN HIPPOCRATIC AND HYPOCRITICAL COLLIDE:
How NIDA’s anti-marijuana bias is hurting the people it professes to protect

There is a long history of negative propaganda associated with the use of marijuana dating back ~80 years to the film Reefer Madness (1936): A movie which was so comical in its representation of pot-smokers as murderers, rapists and generally depraved individuals, that it enjoyed a re-branding as an exploitation film in the 1970s and was even remade into a musical satire in the 1990s. Not so comical is the continued reticence of federal governing bodies to objectively (and fairly) examine both the negative and positive effects of the drug.

The use of marijuana as a psychoactive drug and for medical purposes is hardly new; evidence shows cannabis use dates back at least as far as 2727 BCE. in ancient China, as well as historically in ancient Rome, Greece, the Middle East and Northern Africa. In fact, cannabis’ history of cultivation both as medicine and for pyschoactive effect closely mirrors that of two other crops: the coca plant (cocaine) and the opium poppy (morphine, codeine, heroin and oxycodone). Unlike those other crops, there has been a persistent stigma associated with marijuana use and cannabis research that has stood in the way of extensive unbiased research.

http://www.drugwarfacts.org

This is curious, considering that the potential negative effects (addiction and withdrawal properties specifically) of cannabinoids compared to cocaine and opioids/narcotics are significantly lower.

Research into the coca and poppy plants has been thorough and extensive (in spite of the higher risks associated with their derivatives) and the results have yielded numerous medical advances, with applications in multiple areas of medicine including pain management, eye and nasal surgery and anaesthesia.

Objective research of cannabis efficacy is harder to find. This is not to say that there has not been any research performed, or that those studies in themselves are unreliable. The issue is moreso that studies are forced in large part to make use of anecdotal evidence and patient self-reports, due to limited availability and access to medical marijuana for research.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) currently holds a federally-granted monopoly on the U.S.’s medical marijuana supply, with a laboratory at the University of Mississippi being the only facility permitted to grow medical marijuana. They also oversee an estimated 85% of the world’s research on controlled substances. The effects of this on the research of marijuana both domestically and abroad are complicated: NIDA exerts control both over what studies are approved for research, as well as what types of studies are approved.

[… read the rest of my essay at Medium.com]

/rk

Going to Extremes

I am an addict.

Managing my addictions is not quite as simple as managing my ‘drug of choice.’  I can turn anything into an addiction.  Drugs and alcohol?  Certainly.  Been there, done various kinds of that.  But I can turn anything into a drug.

It’s not an intentional thing, but I am vulnerable.  I am blessed with a genetic pre-disposition for both addiction and mania.  And even when I try to manage the known enemies — when I try to avoid excesses of drugs, alcohol, coffee, sugar — my brain has a way of filling that void.  Of turning interest into obsession.

Anything to turn up the charge.

I am never clear on whether it is the mania that grows from the obsession, or whether obsession breeds mania.  I only know that the second I become immersed in a thing and once it captures my undivided attention, there is no turning back.  I become consumed.  I cannot pace myself.  I can’t not do it.  Time away from that thing is an irritation and makes me anxious.

I do it with people.  I do it with activities and projects.  Until the inevitable day that I crash and burn.

Some of these episodes are short-lived, like the time I pulled an all-nighter in my early 20s determined to build a scale model of my boyfriend’s motorcycle for his birthday.

Others can go on for months:  What started out as a half-hour on my exercise bike a few times a week rapidly became spinning for 5 or 6 hours a night, anorexia and a 30-lb weight loss in the space of a few months.  And then there was the time I renovated a rental house from top to bottom, including ripping out all the carpets, tearing down wallpaper, refinishing the floors and ripping out the kitchen cupboards.  I was also rescuing, (hoarding) and refinishing furniture at the same time as part of what I imagined to be my way of making the world more beautiful and solving the landfill crisis.

I have done this with people too, and it’s one of the things that keeps me from forming close friendships.  Whether romantic or platonic, when that rush of adrenaline starts, I am prone to go to extremes.  I struggle to hold back my feelings.  I have made mix tapes, sent flowers, bought gifts and written long elaborate letters.  In my overzealous determination to get to know everything about the other person and drink them in, I can be (I imagine) quite intimidating.

And so I have to take care.  I have to take care not to take notice.  Not to over-examine.  I struggle to remain casual about things.  Not to check my weight on the scale.  To move, but not to exercise.  To be crap at housecleaning.  To let people take the lead in relationships.  To not keep lists.  Because focus becomes hyper-focus and it tips the scales into obsession and mania.  And mania can kill.

But.

There is always a but.

Writing is an obsession.  And it’s when it becomes obsession that I get results.  Where I suddenly have drive.

I don’t know how to resolve those two things.  

I know that mania is unhealthy.  I know that obsession breeds mania.  But the high that comes from writing is what keeps me going.  Writing gets me high.  Writing is the high.

And it’s more than that.  Writing at this point is both necessary and inevitable.  I have been writing for decades even when I wasn’t writing.  Even when I resisted putting my thoughts down on paper out of fear and some misguided deference to my journalist father, the words were still writing themselves in my head.

The obsession was still there.  It didn’t disappear or waver.  I wasn’t controlling anything by locking it inside.  The dam had to burst sometime.

So now I write, and play a dangerous (and dangerously satisfying) game of control — letting the stories out one-by-one, controlling the rate of flow, so none of us drown.

/rk