Reading “How to Kill Yourself Slowly”

Posted: May 6, 2019 in nonfiction
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Releasing my novella Savages as an audiobook was a new and bizarre experience as an author. As many nights as I spent writing the book and as many times as I’ve read it over, it was something completely different to hear my entire story aloud in another voice. I loved it, so I decided I wanted to create some YouTube videos reading my own works.

I had to start with “How to Kill Yourself Slowly.” This is the first piece that I ever had legitimately published. I think this piece is where I discovered myself as a writer–my style, my themes, what I had to say. It also got so much response. The people in my creative writing class reacted very strongly. When I posted it on my blog at the time, I received hundreds of comments and emails. I have talked about it at high schools. People have found me on social media from it.

“How to Kill Yourself Slowly” has been out there in the world for maybe 15 years. Yet somehow when I started reading it aloud, it felt more vulnerable, more exposing. The feelings were strange and unexpected, and it actually made me nervous and hesitant to go through with releasing the reading. I felt freshly embarrassed about my past; I worried about how it would sound and how the people referenced in the piece would feel. It feels like being naked in a crowd of people. More than that, it feels like then peeling off my skin, cracking my rib cage open so you can get the full show.

I turned 36 yesterday. I felt compelled to post this because I almost didn’t turn 13 or 18 or 20… That is important. That matters. Aside from the fact that it has been out there for so long already, I kept thinking about all the comments and emails, the people saying that reading the piece helped them or saved them. And I had to post this.

 

 

 

Christina Bergling

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Comments
  1. Reading it aloud can make it real. I have few pieces of writing myself that I am apparently still a bit afraid of… revision is slow and emotionally taxing. But that is where the good stuff comes from — the honest stuff that saves others. This was wonderful Christina, and so very timely…

    • Some of it is so scary. Usually, I find it less intimidating once I get it out of me. Then this one turned back around when I read it aloud. Such a bizarre study in the content of my own mind. Thank you so much, KC!

  2. Phew! Your story is so moving, haunting even. I can’t imagine how emotional it must be to revisit it and read it aloud. Well done, Christina. Your reading flows smoothly; the intonation is just right. It was a pleasure to listen.

    Congrats on your birthday. Reaching 36 is an achievement, and as you put it yourself, important taking into consideration your past struggles. All the best!

  3. […] Bergling, one of the horror writers I enjoy reading, sheds some light with her moving memoir, How to Kill Yourself Slowly. Please listen to her […]

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