My Year of Living Vulnerably by Rick Morton
Recommended by Dominic Ellis
My Year of Living Vulnerably seems a relatable title for a readership that has spent much of the last 12 months in caves introspecting. Rick Morton’s latest is a moving, at times difficult, exploration through the author’s brain. It treads similar thematic ground to his acclaimed first novel, One Hundred Years of Dirt, which told a haunting story of Morton’s farm upbringing – but is formally divergent. It’s a memoir at times, reportage at others, with moments of Gladwellian insight and a splash of self-help.
Recently diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), Morton confronts the various dimensions of his illness, framing his chapters – self-standing essays in their own right – around ideas like ‘Touch’, ‘Dysfunction’, ‘Masculinity’, ‘Kindness’. In his mission to ‘figure out’ his trauma, we meet a robot seal, a homeless man in New York, and a Japanese farmer, among others. But for all the interviews, the theories, the experiments and the self-reflection, this book is about journey, not destination - “not finality but progress”, as Morton puts it. And it’s a beautiful, timely journey.
Rick Morton will appear at the Antidote talk The Myth of the Fair Go.