ANMLY #32 :: Writing Ourselves / Mad (Part 2 of 2)

I open part two of this folio the same way I opened part one : sometimes, we are met
with the urge to move Madly.
Surely, this is as true today as it was in February,
especially as those of us with the privilege of access find ourselves emerging from a
COVID-stricken winter into a freshly-vaccinated spring. As we stumble (back?) toward a
different sort of community life, we are again met with questions of Mad sociality: how
do our Mad worlds come to be / together? How do we live our myriad realities in
conversation with others, including those who might judge, pathologize, or ostracize us?
Where do our selves end, where do Others begin?

The entries in this part of the folio contend with those very questions, orbiting the theme
of backtalk: if February’s edition of the folio laid bare the conditions under which we go
(or come to) Madness, this May edition outlines just a few of the innumerable ways we
talk, dance, draw, and sing back against both material and epistemic confinement. That
is, the works herein refuse to remain obediently in the domain of the “individual,” the
discrete, and certainly the discreet. Though I celebrated –– and continue to celebrate ––
the unruly opacity that characterizes much of the work in this folio, I am equally pleased
to celebrate the radical openness Mad creatives bring to our craft, too. Or, perhaps
more accurately, I am pleased to remember that a key component of Mad methodology
is refusing all myths of prior closure. Our opacity is not an ending, but a beginning.
Perhaps we do not so much open the door to new ways of knowing as reveal paths the
sane are too afraid to see.

In this folio, you will find poetry, prose, and genreless writing; video; and graphic
narrative. In these entries, the “real” and the “imaginary” do not simply commingle, they
collapse, whether ambiguously or explicitly in the fairytale form. As I wrote in my
introduction to part one, I encourage readers of all backgrounds to consider your
relationships to in/sanity, particularly in regard to craft. I now encourage you to approach
part two with the same generosity that you brought to part one. Now, however, I also
encourage you to go a step further: as we move Madly from the confines of homes or
bodyminds into our wi(l)der social worlds, I encourage you to critique the critical
distance you might place between yourself and Madness. Do not simply enter this folio
as an encounter with “Other” ways of knowing. Instead, use this folio as a way to better
understand the Other already within you, the Madness you were unwilling or unable to

This folio is open-ended. While formally concluding with part two, I hope to open a
space for further conversations on Mad craft and method that extends beyond this
moment, group, or website. Remember, finally, that regardless of diagnosis, we are all,
always, and already in dialogue with the Mad: to engage with Mad craft and method is
simply to do so intentionally, in community, and in pursuit of transformation.

We are closer than you think. Are you ready to join the conversation?

Cavar Sarah
May 2021

Cavar is shown, from above the waist, before a pale yellow wall. Cavar has light skin, blonde hair clipped back with a ringlet evident on the left. Cavar has a large tattoo on the right upper arm in purples, red, blues, and green hues,  and a small silver philtrum or "medusa" piercing. Cavar wears horn-rimmed eyeglasses, and a pinstriped vest in two tones of pale mint or seafoam green. Cavar also wears earrings in the likeness of a clear soda bottle full of amber liquid, and in the left ear, a medium sized brown or bronze ear gauge is apparent. Behind Cavar, the rear wheel of a black bicycle with a wire rack and fender is visible on the left, and the gray-green arm of an upholstered sofa on the right.

Sarah Cavar is a PhD student, writer, and critically Mad transgender-about-town, and serves as Managing Editor at Stone of Madness Press. Author of two chapbooks, A HOLE WALKED IN (Sword & Kettle Press) and THE DREAM JOURNALS (giallo lit), they have also had work in Bitch Magazine, Electric Literature, The Offing, Luna Luna Magazine, Superstition Review, and elsewhere. Cavar navel-gazes at and tweets @cavarsarah