Still here – old memories and feelings of guilt

I received a surprise Facebook private message two mornings ago that brought up a lot of old memories of our deceased son Paul and many old feelings of guilt about what I could have done to save him. Even though he's been gone from our lives for almost eighteen years, those things can come up without warning any time of day or night. The note, I'm sure, didn't intend to promote those old feelings. It was a lovely compliment about my book and how my book will help the writer with her work as a therapist. However, when I read it at four in the morning, I was through sleeping for the rest of the night. Here's the message I received from a young woman who was in Paul's high school class at Crossroads in Santa Monica. I don't remember ever meeting her until she asked me to be her Facebook friend a few weeks ago. "For seven years Leaving the Hall Light On was on my Amazon wish list because I graduated from Crossroads with Paul. When we found out at our reunion that he had died fr … [Read more...]

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April Platform Challenge – Day 1

I’ve decided to enter Robert Lee Brewer’s first ever April Platform Challenge. Anyone want to join me? Here's how he says it will work: On April 1, I'll post a task for writers to complete that day. (I didn’t get April 1 until today) Each day afterward, through the month of April, there will be a new task for writers to complete on that day. At the end of the month, every writer who completes the challenge should have a stronger platform and be able to say they took part in the first ever April Platform Challenge. Day 1: Define yourself. I don't want you to worry about where you'd like to be or anything in the future. Instead, I want you to take a look at who you are, what you've done, what you're currently doing, etc. Below is a chart I'm using (with my own answers). Here’s my information: Name (as used in byline): Madeline Sharples Position(s): Author of Leaving the Hall Light On (Lucky Press, 2011); Web journalist at Naturally Savvy and PsychAlive, Publish … [Read more...]

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Is my marketing program beginning to pay off?

So, it looks like there’s been a little movement in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, Amazon sales ranking this week. It went down from as high as in the one millions to the 700,000s earlier this week, and back up to the one millions again and down to the 300,000s today. Does that mean two books have sold? I have no clue what those numbers mean. But hopefully all that has been going on in the last few weeks has spurred some sales: my talk at the American Association of University Women in mid November, Marla Miller (Marketing the Muse) highlighting my platform earlier this week and posting my July 19, 2010 blog piece about my journey to getting published yesterday, my showcase on The Hamilton Gallery with links to Amazon for book purchases, and another five-star review up on Amazon yesterday. It’s really been a yeasty time. Plus I’ve had more and more Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter connections, and I look forward to a piece about my work and book in a future issue of the Did … [Read more...]

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Thank you for sharing my memory of Paul

A big thank you to all of you who have donated and/or signed up to join me on September 25 for the Didi Hirsch annual suicide prevention Alive and Running 5K. Now that I'm on the 5K committee I was asked to set a fundraising goal. And at the outset I set my goal only at $500. But thanks to you I just upped it to $1000.00 and I'm only $48.00 short of reaching that because so many of you responded to my Ask. Just to give you a little background, I first discovered Didi Hirsch after Paul died. My husband and I participated in their eight-week Survivors after Suicide workshop. And as depressing as those sessions were, they had a lasting effect on me. I also found out that as horrific a story of loss as mine was, it could always be worse. I also reconnected with a person I've known since grade school in Glencoe, IL through my involvement with Didi Hirsch. Stan Lelewer's son killed himself about six years before Paul, and when he heard about Paul through a mutual friend he was … [Read more...]

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Please join me on September 25 in the race for life

Every 15 minutes, someone loses their life by suicide in the United States. In addition, for every suicide, it is estimated there are 25 suicide attempts. Many individuals -- maybe even your loved one, friend, neighbor, or colleague -- suffer from severe emotional pain in silence. In that moment when a person in crisis needs someone to listen and respond, Didi Hirsch's Suicide Prevention Center is here to help. In fact, more than 40,000 women, men and young people turned to its 24-hour Crisis Line last year. Our son Paul's photo will be on the banner this year You can help save lives by supporting Didi Hirsch's 13th annual Alive & Running 5K Walk/Run for Suicide Prevention. The event will be held on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at La Tijera Parkway in Los Angeles. More than 1,100 runners, walkers, strollers and friends and volunteers from all over Southern California will join together at Alive & Running to raise awareness and funding for suicide prevention … [Read more...]

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I’ve gotten involved

I joined the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Alive and Running 5K committee several months ago. It was in fulfillment of a promise I made to myself - to start volunteering again once my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, was published and on the market. I even wrote about my need to get involved in a charity again in my book. This committe is a great place to start. It gets me more acquainted with all the services Didi Hirsch provides to prevent suicide and erase the stigma of mental illness, and it's a finite assignment. The event takes place on September 25, and then the need to meet stops. Plus, I've participated in this event for the last several years since my son Paul died. I've attended several meetings so far - although I feel like I'm not making a significant difference yet. But there's still time. I've begun to ask others to enroll in the event via emails. and I'll ask several local businesses related to fitness and 5 and 10K walk/run events to display … [Read more...]

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Putting a Face on Suicide

The Facebook Putting a Face on Suicide is a personal project of Mike Purcell done in collaboration with the American Association of Suicidology. Mike’s son 21 year old Christopher Lee Purcell, died by suicide in 2008. www.facebook.com/purcellmemorial As Mike states: every 15 minutes someone dies by suicide in the United States, that’s 96 or so people each day. Putting a Face on Suicide [PAFOS] is an ongoing project soliciting pictures of your loved ones who died by suicide. Each 96 pictures will be used in a poster and a video, representing one day’s loss. The posters and videos will be posted on the PAFOS facebook page and may be freely used by any person or organization to promote suicide awareness and prevention. The goal of PAFOS is to collect 35040 faces representing 365 days of loss, and then to visually send a very powerful 35040 faced message. Please go to http://www.facebook.com/puttingafaceonsuicide?sk=wall to see the faces gathered so far. So far four videos have bee … [Read more...]

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