Mark Fleming > Creative writer, blogger, speaker, photographer
I'm a freelance writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In my 20s I was sectioned under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984, spending time in an Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit. During recovery I rediscovered my love of creative writing and music - I'd previously had fiction published and written lyrics for my post-punk band, 4 Minute Warning.
Through the Scottish Book Trust I've run writing workshops in schools and community settings - including groups for people with mental health issues, recovering addicts, and homeless individuals. I've also spoken about how writing has helped my wellbeing in HMP Barlinnie and Saughton.
This blog is all about promoting positivity through writing, with examples of articles relating to mental health and wellbeing, and popular culture. I will also showcase excerpts from my forthcoming memoir.
Positive mental vibes: exercise, music, scenery, nature
Everyone's mental outlook has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Since lockdown I've been enjoying long walks, relishing Scotland's beautiful landscapes against a backdrop of uplifting playlists in my headphones. I write regular blogs about the revitalising impact of nature and music, and you can check them out here.
Recent outings have included experiencing Storm Arwen by Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh, and capturing the sun rising over Portobello beach. The music accompaniments touch diverse bases: Manic Street Preachers, Anna B Savage, Public Service Broadcasting, Can.
Check out the photos from these trips on my Instagram: @markfleming_embra
BrainBomb was a novel published on a limited print run in 2009. It described how a quiet but bright and sociable lad from Edinburgh, whose band was featured on BBC Radio 1, ended up in a straightjacket in an ambulance heading for a locked ward in a psychiatric hospital. It was written as a 'semi-autobiographical' novel because there were so many aspects of my bipolar experience that were hazy. A combination of anti-psychotic drugs and an increasingly unhinged mind were ideal for lurid fiction, not fact. I filled in the blanks by embellishing the lead character's story with time-travelling fantasies. (I was reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut at the time!)
Enjoyed BrainBomb, great stuff, but it moves like a rocket and it's totally mashed my heid!
Irvine Welsh, bestselling author of cult novel Trainspotting.
I eventually applied for a copy of my medical records, an extensive case file that filled in most of the blanks.