My name is Valerie Parente and the overarching theme to all my artwork- whether it is poetry, prose, stories, drawings, paintings, or photography- is finding beauty in darkness. I love finding the positive in dark moods, situations, and imagery. This is evident in my written work on my website, valerieparente.wordpress.com, and in my novels available on Amazon (“The Artist, The Muse”, “In Touch”, and “Rather Be Haunted”. I draw inspiration from a lifelong and personal struggle with very severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anorexia. Each body of work I create centers around mental health awareness:
The Artist, The Muse (2017) : a poetry and prose collection about what it is like to have a mental disorder that influences your art.
In Touch (2018) : a fiction novel about a female with OCD, based on my real-life struggle with OCD, through the eyes of a male classmate without the disorder.
Rather Be Haunted (2020): a poetry and prose collection that explores love, heartache, and death from the perspective of an obsessive compulsive girl who feels “haunted” by the motifs in life that define her humanity, including my signature Mannequin Art (used as a commentary on what it means to learn how to be a “normal” human).
Since this website is based around me, I think it’s only fair to share a little bit about me. First thing’s first- I am utterly addicted to daydreaming, an ironic art with infinite creative possibilities that limit my mood towards the real world. As a direct result of what I’m not sure is a fantasy-prone disorder or a personality trait, I am constantly trying to find a balance between losing my head in pink clouds and keeping my feet on the germ-infested ground.
I read textbooks for the genuine pleasure of learning (probably as a way to overcompensate for the class time I wasted daydreaming and doodling during middle school and high school). I am particularly fascinated by theoretical physics and psychology; I have a tendency to incorporate these institutions into my writing. As I have already said, I deal with mental illness on a daily basis. I like to elicit personal revelations out of these mental disorders, and I will often share these discoveries through my writing. With that being said, please note that all posts regarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are strictly written from my personal experience. I am an artist, not a psychologist. I break down OCD using a writer’s mind, not a degree in psychology. My writing is, first and foremost, my artwork.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart if you are interested in my journey of finding beauty in darkness.
You can purchase The Artist, The Muse: A Poetry & Prose Collection by Valerie Parente on Amazon.com on paperback or Kindle!
The Artist, The Muse is what you get when you interweave psychology, creativity, and spirituality into the poetic fabric of a mentally disordered daydreamer’s mind. Valerie Parente artfully hones the craft of written word in this collection of poetry and prose through fantastical metaphors, rhythmic patterns, heartfelt emotions, metaphysical references, and breath-taking epiphanies. Dark daydreams and silver-lining mantras blossom out of the obsessive compulsive writer’s verbal landscape as the artist becomes her own muse.
You can purchase In Touch by Valerie Parente on Amazon.com on paperback or Kindle!
“Undergraduate physics student, Jef Sterling, has done enough textbook reading to know that the universe is home to countless mind-blowing discoveries. But Jef never expected one of those discoveries to be the mind of an obsessive compulsive writer sharing the same campus as him. After reading a poem by Lacey Parker about her personal struggle with OCD, Jef’s highly rational brain fixates on uncovering the mysteries held captive in Lacey’s highly irrational brain. Throughout the course of a school year these two students exchange ideas that merge science with art, reality with fantasy, and physical phenomena with mental phenomena. While learning from one another Jef makes it his mission to make sense of Lacey’s nonsensical disorder and all of its incredible ironies; how she lives by the notion of feeling everything emotionally but dreads feeling anything physically, how her mind lives to protect as it gradually wreaks destruction, and most paradoxically how both Lacey’s most rewarding qualities and most detrimental flaws manifest from the same brain. In Touch by Valerie Parente is a realistic fiction novel alive with intellectual discussion, mental strife, heartache, and anecdotal insight into the cognitive confines of obsessive compulsive disorder.”
You can purchase Rather Be Haunted by Valerie Parente on Amazon.com on paperback or Kindle!
Love. Heartache. Death.
Rather Be Haunted documents a dark period for the poet. Emotions linger like ghosts. Interpersonal relations cause palpable frustration. Death breaks the heart but in the most beautiful way.Through chronological poetry and prose you can feel all that haunts the obsessive compulsive writer’s psyche as she tries to understand her hyper-sensitivities through rhymes and clever lines. As frustration builds, so does resilience, making the struggles that define our humanity all the more remarkable. After all, isn’t the struggle to make sense of emotions the grandest mark of being alive? What makes us human hurts; that is the gift of the universe.
Rather Be Haunted is the second volume of poetry & prose by Valerie Parente, featuring Mannequin Art alongside writing pieces.