Congratulations, Keith Alan Hamilton!

My poet and walking friend, Keith Alan Hamilton, has just released his new book of poems: Peace Out Poems about My Abnormalities Normality. The poems are about stigma, mental illness - including depression and bipolar disorder, and suicide. "I hope for those who read it, it will be of benefit to them.  There is a huge stigma overshadowing those who suffer from mental conditions like depression or being bipolar.  Even more so for those who have committed suicide.  That reality will not change until my type of story is told and understood.  To me, the stigma overshadowing a day-to-day survivor is even worse.  When you are a depressive with thoughts of suicide cycling in your head day in and day out..... it is far harder to survive and keep going than it is to submit.   It is easier to be considered mentally ill and medicated, or to have taken ones life than being someone who successfully copes day-to-day and is a productive contributor to life.  If we are going to show others that … [Read more...]

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I did it. Seventeen miles in eight hours and still here.

A few thoughts about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention AFSP San Francisco Out of the Darkness suicide awareness and prevention walk this past Saturday night: Last year in Boston we felt the pain walking in the cold and rain; this year we felt the pain trudging up hill after hill. Those were just small reminders of the pain our loved ones felt and had to release when they took their lives. It was fitting for us to feel that pain, but we will never know an nth of it. I also felt so blessed to walk with Team S.O.L.E.S. Everyone took such good care of each other, worrying where the laggers were and waiting so we could all be in the mile-marker photos. And once we were finished at 3:26 am we all held hands, walking along side the luminaria and under the I-did-it-arch. Thank you Keith Alan Hamilton, Deborah Lee Rose, Debi Hoyles-Girardi and your friend Jen, Joanne Marrazzo Fry, Aaron D. Schwartz, Christy Heitger-Ewing and your husband Eric. You all made my night worth while … [Read more...]

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Another novel milestone met

I just sent off draft seven of my novel to another reviewer. I very much value this person’s judgment because of her experience editing books for the Oxford University Press and that she helped me revise and edit my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On.   I spent the last two and a half months working on this draft, looking for repetition, places where I told the story rather than showed it, and rewriting in response to some earlier review comments. As a result I cut out almost five thousand words. It’s now down to 85, 485 words. It’s still a little heavy for a novel, but in the right range. I’ve asked this reviewer to especially assess the content - are the story and its characters worth even pursuing at this point. My problem is the more I read and work on this material these days, the less confident I get. I said I don't need her to edit, except for giving me possible suggestions on where to delete/add stuff. After I sent my manuscript off to my reviewer today, my h … [Read more...]

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David Hockney works like a writer

We just spent a few days in the San Francisco area and a highlight was seeing the David Hockney: a Bigger Exhibition at the De Young museum in Golden Gate Park. The exhibit is so large it takes two floors of the museum to show it. Gorgeous Hockney Trees To me Hockney seems to work like a dedicated writer. He always has his ass in the chair or his feet on the floor with paintbrush, charcoals, computer, iPad, iPhone or video camera in his hands. Yes, he works in all those media – never too old, though born in 1937, to learn and use the new technology. What impressed me is that he paints and draws and makes art as a writer writes – everyday. We saw paintings that he created only one month before we were there to see the exhibit – huge portraits. And while I don’t especially like his portraits I like the bright colors he uses – primary blues, reds, yellows, oranges. We also saw a series of charcoal drawings he made in 2012 and 2013 in East Yorkshire, England at Woldgate. Each d … [Read more...]

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Small stones January twenty-three to thirty

One more day left - Jan 23: Thick black clouds rose into the sky and dissipated into the blue. And I don’t know where they came from. Jan 23: Packing boxes, putting fragile ware out of harm’s way, throwing out detritus, and running up and down the stairs until we’ve completed the prep work for our wood floor renovation this week, I wonder, is it more trouble than it’s worth? Jan 24: So tired and it’s only eleven thirty in the morning. But I’m pushing on. Jan 24: I walk from my car to the gym in the dark cold morning, holding my jacket closed to the chill. But I refuse to park closer. The cold wakes me up and the walk gives my workout a jump start. Jan 25: The plane’s loud hum doesn’t disrupt its smooth dissent. Jan 25: White snowy peaks rise just above the cloud-line. Jan 26: The clear lake like a mirror reflects the pine trees standing green and proud along its edge. Jan 26: One hundred year old vines, thick, gnarled, bent over like old men, stand in long straight … [Read more...]

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