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Photo taken by contributor Jan Smitowicz, a 29-year-old prison survivor and vegan who suffers from depression and anxiety, both of which are exacerbated by severe and constant pain in both knees caused by nerve damage. Jan is a fiction and narrative nonfiction writer, interested in producing work with dark humor and progressive social justice ideals. Jan’s debut novel is titled Orange Rain. He’s currently hard at work editing his memoir, Rebel Hell: Disabled Vegan Goes to Prison, which he expects to publish in the first half of 2015. Jan’s mother has depression, and his closest aunt suffers from bipolar disorder.
About this photo: “This photo was taken along the shore of Mono Lake, an ancient inland sea nearly three times as salty as the ocean. My girlfriend and I took a trip there to celebrate the paperback publication—by ethical-minded, independent Treból Press—of my novel Orange Rain. We rented a kayak and camped on one of the volcanic islands within Mono. The massive lake sits just past the towering crest of the Sierra Nevadas due east of Yosemite, and is one of our favorite places to visit. It was a marvelous and adventure-packed trip that further strengthened our amazing bond. After FINALLY readying Orange Rain for release (following many months of painstaking edits), my mind was absolutely exhausted, depleted. The trip proved wonderfully restorative. The wondrous lake provides crucial habitat for millions of migratory birds; similarly, it delivered solace and succor to my own ragged psyche. As time spent intimately amid wild nature always does.”
Find more from Jan at his website.