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Small stories are sometimes the most powerful.

Jessica Bell was brought up in a fairly chaotic household that included her mother and her partner Demetri – a  “semi-famous” indie duo who played Melbourne pubs – and her younger brother.

Her mother, Erika Bach, was also a heavy user of pills and alcohol, and was increasingly anxious, making the confusion of growing up even more difficult and isolated.

By her mid teens, Jessica was becoming a rebel herself – drinking and playing hard, finding herself in frightening situations – as depression took hold of her thinking.

But she found her way through, via some searching self-reflection and considerable help from music, particularly writing her own songs and playing with her band, spAnk.

The life she has now made for herself is powerfully crafted from that chaotic upbringing.

She co-founded the small publisher Vine Leaves Press, is a singer with the band Keep Shelly in Athens, has written extensively and lives in Greece.

It’s a story of a troubled upbringing – full of the kind of pain and hard choices young people face every day – that will resonate strongly with teenagers trying to find their own way to a creative and authentic life.

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