A study of the will to die and the will to live, From the Envelope of Suicides explores a collection of newspaper stories from 1941 to 1948 of people in New Britain, Connecticut, who tried to end their lives. These are stories of the uniquely human struggles of long-forgotten people, and together they create a social history of the town and a fractured snapshot of a world at war…. 

My grandfather, a refugee from Persia who became the first psychiatrist in New Britain, collected these stories. He also studied records from the local morgue going back to the 20s. In all, he worked on the problem of suicide for 12 years before he dropped it for unknown reasons. He never spoke to anyone in the family about any of this.

 One of the 124 stories in the envelope.

One of the 124 stories in the envelope.

In From the Envelope of Suicides, I will explore these stories and what they bring forth, and this exploration will take a few different (and complementary) forms. There will be a scripted podcast, with an initial run beginning on October 17, and there will be a series of 6 different live shows in Portland, Oregon, in October and November. The material for the podcasts and the shows is drawn from a portion of the writing I've done for what I hope to eventually present as a book.

Follow @benmoorad on Twitter to stay completely up to date on this project.