12 December

Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen

Dear Blink Readers,

I met her at a mental health conference.

She grabbed me following my talk, and in words both passionate and disjointed shared a story of life with DID—Dissociative Identity Disorder. Two hours later, I saw her again. She was the same her on the outside. Yet, within her mind, a different personality had taken over.

She didn’t know who I was.

This teen had the same desires I had. To love, to be loved. But I wondered, how would a young adult with DID relate to a member of the opposite sex? What would it be like to hold secrets from your other self?

In Both of Me, Clara knows all too well. She doesn’t have DID, but she’s a Londoner on the run from her own tragedy, a reality she terms the “Great Undoing.” Clara meets Elias Phinn on the red-eye from New York to Minneapolis, and senses his uniqueness. When their bags are switched and she tracks him down to right the error, Clara is plunged into the unpredictable world of Elias’s mental illness, and discovers the mythical country of Salem one of his two personalities has created. This “other” Elias also seems to know too much about Clara’s painful past. Torn between the desire to uncover what Elias knows, and the growing need to aid Elias in his own search to become whole, Clara agrees to embark with Elias on an Alice-in-Wonderland-like road trip. In the process she loses her footing, and travels with Elias over the murky roads of his Salem. Reality blurs, but one thing is clear … 

All of her has fallen for half of him.

The “three” of them follow the stars toward a discovery in Maine that neither Clara nor Elias could ever have predicted. My hope is Both of Me will challenge readers’ ideas about labeling people as abnormal. After all, we all fall into fictional worlds, choosing to spend time there when the “real” one overwhelms. Spend some time with Elias in Salem, and discover that sometimes the labels that call us different or broken are simply another way of seeing and approaching life.

-Jonathan Friesen

Both of Me



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