Shaky Convictions

Shaky Convictions
Published: Oct 30, 2016
Part 1 of a two-part autobiographical series on everyday life with an unruly neurological condition. Plus, the author answers our Scribbler's Questionnaire.


I am afraid to spend the night with another
whether it be a friend or a lover
I can’t control my body
I pretend like
it’s just a lifestyle choice
that I don’t drive
I thank a god I don’t understand
that they revive me every time
I end up in a hospital
or wake up and can barely move
my aching limbs
put on makeup covering
popped blood vessels above my eyes

I am telling lies to my body
Lies like I can rise
sour dough
to any problem.
Lies like nothing fazes me
Lies like I am a rock
I am normal
and that the dirty word
doesn’t really exist in me

My lead limbs
are laden with the knowledge that
I crack under pressure
I don’t have melt downs
I shatter
like glass holding water
that can’t take the freeze
that breaks with the icy pressure
I shatter
I shatter
I shatter

I have spent too many years biting my tongue
shoulda’ been busy being young
swinging rung from rung
Little did I know I am one of many
monkeys they test on
Shoving Keppra, Levetiracetam, Lamictal, Lamotrigine
down my throat
100 mg: morning and evening and morning and evening

Until I stopped.

Let go of the bars above me
I stopped so long calluses faded
from my hands
they were made smooth
all traces of controls on my receptors faded
in the refreshment of my brain
like freshly squeezed orange juice so cold
it makes your teeth hurt
your brain feel like there are hands in it
not open hands
reaching hands

Reality is playing with my déjà vufinder
blurring in and out of focus
I twitch, once
I know what’s coming
I’m not sure if I want to stop it
if it means my camera is perpetually out of focus
blurred beauty at the edges of clarity

I am afraid of pills
Afraid of loosing brain cells
Afraid of thrashing about in front of sympathetic strangers
Afraid of admitting abnormality
Afraid of biting my tongue
Afraid to talk about it

I don’t know what to do

Illustration by Roxanna Bikadoroff.


See part two of this series, Audrey's remarkable essay on the history of her struggle with the medical condition of epilepsy, her current resolve and her call to others will similar conditions.

This series was inspired by our viewing of an exhibition in London this March, 'Beyond Seizures'. Our thanks to Julia Vogl.

First published in JWC July 21, 2015.


The Wild Culture Scibbler's Questionnaire

Audrey Lane Cockett


1. What is your first memory and what does it tell you about your life at that time?

There is no singular moment of clarity in my memory. No ‘this is my first memory’ experience. Only feelings, swirls, and early memories which might just be family stories about me that I’ve heard so many times it has become memory.

2. Can you name a few writers who have influenced you — a handful at the most — who come to mind immediately?

Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Rene Goscinny, Neil Young, my grandmother.

3. Where did you grow up, and did that place and your experience of it help form your sense about place and the environment in general?

I grew up a tumbleweed. Born in Calgary, Canada, to England, Australia, Kenya, and back to Calgary, AB, Canada. My parents were very conscience of trying to develop strong community, family, and environmental connections wherever we were. My mom is a strong environmentalist. This instilled the high value I have for the landscape around me in its entirety. Including ecosystems, nature, family and community.

4. If you were going away on a very long journey and you could only take four books — one fiction, one poetry, one non-fiction, one literary criticism — what would they be?

Hard question, my answer in this moment: Fiction: The Witches by Roald Dahl. Poetry: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Non-Fiction: A survival guide to wherever I am journeying too. Literary criticism: I had to google what that is so I am not qualified to answer.

5. What was your most keen interest between the ages of 10 and 12?

Playing soccer with my friends!

6. At one point did you discover your ability with poetry?

Again, there was no specific point of clarity. I wrote from a young age. In high school I wrote a lot of songs and would have silly little rap battles with friends. I have almost always kept a journal and in those I find entries toeing the line of prose since elementary school.

7. Do you have an ‘engine’ that drives your artistic practice, and if so, can you comment on it?

Poetry is an outlet. It is a way of exploring things I don’t talk about. Often I only find out the root causes for my thoughts and what I’m feeling after I write it. Sometimes it even takes me a while after that to understand what I really meant by what I wrote!

8. If you were to meet a person who seriously wants to write poetry, someone who admires and resonates with the type of work you do, and they clearly have real talent, and they asked you for some general advice, what would that be?

I would tell them to not take advice from a renegade like myself! Or perhaps I would tell them to stay true to their truth and open to others truths too…that is advice I would give to anyone.

9. Do you have a current question or preoccupation that you could share with us?

I think a lot about my role in current socio-political systems. Where does change come from? What is my role to help instigate and encourage change that I am passionate towards?

10. What does the term ‘wild culture’ mean to you?

Wild culture . . . The wild part is ultimately redundant. As, in its essence, culture cannot be tamed. But so many forget or reject this. Many feel disconnected to the undeniable wild within and surrounding each of us. So perhaps ‘wild culture’ signifies an attempt to reconnect, accept, and expose the wild, crazy, and indeed undeniable dimension present in all beings and non-beings.

11. If you would like to ask yourself a final question your work, what would it be? You can answer it or not.



AUDREY LANE COCKETT is diving head first into the world of spoken word. She won the Vic Slam Indies and represented Victoria, B.C. in the recent Canadian Individual Poetry Slam. She is a poet, student, and forest dweller whose works reflect her passion for sustainability, mental health awareness, solidarity, sunshine, and wordplay.

ROXANNA BIKADOROFF is a widely-published illustrator, painter and writer on esoterica. She lives in Vancouver.

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