Many artists use writing as a form of therapy. The emotions that flow from the heart to the pen can provide a release from everyday problems and worries. In her first book, “Revelations of the Heart,” author Tarsha Bowman, also known as Ms. Mirage, does just what pen name conveys. Through her prose poetry, she escapes from the trenches of life’s tribulations by creating a stable vision of faith and inspiration. It was just happenstance that I met the author at a lupus support group meeting. I learned that she was a lupus patient. I recently had an opportunity to catch up with Ms. Mirage to ask her a few questions about her book and how it may relate to being diagnosed with lupus.
The Lupus Liar (TLL): I love the complexity you reveal about how relationships are so very much a part of growing up. Knowing that you have lupus, would you say that your view of relationships became more important after your diagnosis of lupus?
Ms. Mirage (MM): Yes, it did because my world changed. Even though you don’t know what to expect, you don’t want to be with someone who may just be there for a short time versus someone who is going to be there for the long run; through the doctor appointments, sicknesses, ups and downs. Yes, I view them differently now.
TLL: I noticed although it’s titled “From Darkness to Light: Part I,” you have it subtitled, “Scripture Poem.” What influenced you to write “Scripture Poem?”
MM: I was depressed. And growing up praying and just having faith in God, I decided to use complete scriptures. It’s titled “From Darkness to Light” because I used this to describe my coming out of depression and into the light of being with God.
TLL: When were you diagnosed with Lupus?
MM: It was 2004.
TLL: Were you already diagnosed with Lupus during the time you wrote this poem?
MM: Yes, I was diagnosed with Lupus at the time. It was 2007 when I wrote that. So I wrote this poem about three years after my diagnosis.
TLL: I understand that you were born in South Carolina. Were you diagnosed with Lupus during the time you were living in South Carolina?
MM: No. I was diagnosed while living in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
TLL: Can you tell me a little bit about your experiences when you were first diagnosed? What was it like for you to be told that you have lupus?
MM: It was scary. I didn’t know what it was. Before the final diagnosis, it was thought that I had cancer. The sister of a guy I was dating, in the past, died from complications with lupus. My mother told me that we had a cousin who had also died from complications with lupus. So it was real scary to know that the doctors are telling you that you probably are not going to make it to the age of thirty. And then, all I was hearing about was other people had died from it. It was a real scary experience for me.
TLL: The title of one of your poems is “Reflections of A & T.” What does ‘A & T’ stand for?
MM: ‘A & T’ is basically about being in relationships with other people. I combined all of my relationships and ‘A’ is the beginning or all of the relationships. The ‘T’ is me.
TLL: Aah! The ‘A’ is the beginning and the T is you! It’s the first letter of your name, correct?
TLL: You have several thought of the day notes in the book. I love day five’s thought of the day. You mention that God, is preparing you for ‘upgrades.’ I have to ask, was this written before or after your diagnosis with lupus.
MM: It was written afterwards.
TLL: What do you consider an ‘upgrade?’
MM: An upgrade is just not allowing myself to be at one level, but allowing myself to grow at multiple levels. His ways are higher at any level, so I was learning to accept His upgrades. I never thought I would write a book. I never thought I would be able to tell people about lupus. Now I can say proudly, that I have lupus, but lupus doesn’t have me.
TLL: Oh yes, that is a proud echo of many of those diagnosed with lupus. If you could tell anybody anything about having lupus and writing this book, what would you say?
MM: I would say that at first it was scary. But, you learn that you can still live with lupus. You may have to alter some things, but still do it. You can still encourage people. You can still smile.
Ms. Mirage currently resides in South Carolina with her four children. In her spare time, she volunteers for local organizations that help improve the quality of life of women and children. She is currently working on her second book. Ms. Mirage’s book, Revelations of the Heart, is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.