Yes, I will spend the livelong day With Nature in this month of May; And sit beneath the trees, and share My bread with birds whose homes are there; While cows lie down to eat, and sheep Stand to their necks in grass so deep; While birds do sing with all their might, As though they felt the earth in flight. This is the hour I dreamed of, when I sat surrounded by poor men; And thought of how the Arab sat Alone at evening, gazing at The stars that bubbled in clear skies;
And of young dreamers, when their eyes Enjoyed methought a precious boon In the adventures of the Moon Whose light, behind the Clouds’ dark bars, Searched for her stolen flocks of stars. When I, hemmed in by wrecks of men, Thought of some lonely cottage then Full of sweet books; and miles of sea, With passing ships, in front of me; And having, on the other hand, A flowery, green, bird-singing land.
I just finished a new memoir that I want to tell you about. It’s called Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett, published by Celadon Books. From the description, I wondered if it would be such a troubled tale my HSP heart couldn’t take it, but, thankfully, I was wrong. Mikel writes with such beautiful sensitivity, making each part of his story alive and present to the reader, that even with the difficult subject matter, a courageous thread of hope runs through.
This is the story of a man who spent his first few years of childhood being raised in a group setting by people other than his parents in the cult Synonon. It’s how, after leaving the cult, he and his brother live with a mother who is mentally ill and abusive. It’s how Mikel interacts with and learns from his dad. How he makes it through his teen years with the pain he carries and ultimately, how he has to decide to keep hiding it or how to face it, work through it, and let it go.
And if you’re interested in musicians and bands, you’ll enjoy the last third of the book which weaves in and out of Mikel’s experience as a singer/songwriter and frontman for the band Airborne Toxic Event.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S., and Hollywood Park is a positive story about how mental illness (and addictions) can affect families as well as how healing can take place. I highly recommend this book!
(I received an ARC from Celadon Books for my honest review; all opinions are completely my own.)