MOCK, Irene

Author Tags: Fiction, Health

Year of birth - 1949

Arrival in Canada – 1972


Inappropriate Behaviour, Beach Holme Publishing, 1997

Irene Mock obtained a B.A. in English from Antioch College in Ohio. After moving to Canada, she became a registered nurse and worked on a psychiatric ward as well as on the streets of the downtown eastside of Vancouver. She has taught literature and creative writing at Selkirk College, David Thompson University Centre, Kootenay School of Arts, and Nelson Fine Arts Centre. She co-edited Journey to the Interior: An Anthology of Kootenay Women Writers, with Paulette Jiles and Luanne Armstrong, for the Kimberley Writers Group in 1986.

[BCBW 2003] "Fiction" "Health"

Inappropriate Behavior (Beach Holme $14.95)

Life’s Fantasies and harsh realities collide with one another in Irene Mock's debut collection of short stories Inappropriate Behavior (Beach Holme $14.95).

The title story “Inappropriate Behavior” (nominated for this year's Journey Prize) is the first of a trilogy set on a psych ward where Ellie, a young nurse, sadly realizes some people are afforded privileged treatment depending on their position in society.

Twenty one year old Harold, picked up at a peace demonstration because he was soliciting for an organization which didn't exist, is drugged and placed in solitary confinement. Room 11, or the Quiet Room as it is also known, has thick metal bars and a slot in the door for sliding a food tray through.

“We need an admitting diagnosis,” says psychiatrist Dr. Cooper to Ellie, as he scans a list of possibilities. Ellie tries to convince him that although Harold's moods correspond to tensions in world politics — which Harold monitors on his transistor radio — there's no need to keep the boy in solitary confinement.

In the third story of the trilogy, “Rapture,” Ken, a prominent lawyer who has a nervous breakdown after brutally assaulting his wife, is served coffee on a silver plated tray from the staff room.

Dr. Cooper won't allow the nurses to record Ken's admissions about his 'special' relationship with Suzette, his ten year old daughter (although Ken infers Suzette is the reason he had to 'take care' of his wife), for fear of legal action.

“You'll have to be careful with this one,” Dr. Cooper cautions Ellie. “He's a brilliant criminal lawyer, and we don't want a malpractice suit on our hands.”

Mock, who co edited Journey to the Interior: An Anthology of Kootenay Women Writers, lives in Nelson and is a founding member of the Kootenay School of Writing.

[BCBW 1997]

Inappropriate Behaviour (Beach Holme 14.95)

In 1976 Irene Mock lost her job as a psychiatric nurse in Nelson as the result of an article she wrote called 'A Warning to Women on the Uses of Psychiatry,' “Officially I was laid off,” says Mock, who had questioned the use of pills and shock treatment. Mock never worked as a nurse again. Twenty years later, Inappropriate Behaviour (Beach Holme 14.95), her debut collection of short stories, features a trilogy based on the Nelson psych ward where she worked.

[BCBW 1997]