A new and fabulous review by Fran Edstrom

The American Association of Suicidology's Recent Reviews column posted such a sensitive and insightful review of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, that I have to share it verbatim. Reviewed by: Fran Edstrom, Editor at Winona Post in Winona, MN.   At 321 pages, Madeline Sharples’ memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, is very readable and well-written.  Sharples is a 70-year-old married mother of two whose oldest son died of suicide at age 27. Her memoir recounts her son’s battle with Bipolar Disorder, the effect of his illness on the family and on his relationships with his friends. This is not a dispassionate account of mental illness leading to suicide. Sharples makes several references in the narrative to her forays into poetry and prose writing after her son’s death. She had a mentor who urged her to use her “deep” voice, and she does. There is a liberal sprinkling of her poetry throughout the book, which some readers may find enlightening. … [Read more...]

More kudos for Leaving the Hall Light On

http://www.LuckyPress.com/madelinesharples.html My friend and advisor on all things related to getting a book published, Mark Shelmerdine, CEO of Jeffers Press, sent me this note yesterday after he finished reading a review copy of my book. I thank him immensely for his kind words. I finished Leaving the Hall Light On last night. It is a very moving, very intimate and very inspiring memoir. It must have taken great courage to reveal your story to yourself and your family let alone to the world at large. I have huge respect for the way you have exposed your feelings for Paul, Bob and Ben with such candor; it is something that it would be impossible for me to do probably because I am a reticent Brit. The poetry and photographs add an extra dimension that is missing from most memoirs like this since as a reader you get much closer to the reality of what is being described on the page. For 321 pages I was completely caught up in your life and the heart-wrenching drama that you were … [Read more...]

Another survivor

What's been going on in my life all came into perspective when I opened the mail yesterday and found in the Cancer Support Community (formerly The Wellness Community) newsletter a survivor profile on the front page. I looked at the photo of this survivor and immediately recognized a man I’ve known at the gym for years. We’ve only exchanged Hi’s and smiles and once in a while a local restaurant recommendation – I don’t even remember how we got into that – and that’s the extent of what I knew about him. I noticed he always wore a cap, and lately he was looking thinner, but I had no idea that he has been battling cancer since 1997 – first for a melanoma that started on his skull and metastasized to his neck, spleen, liver, and colon and a later diagnosis of prostate cancer. After years of radiation and surgical treatments, as of Thanksgiving 2010 he was pronounced cancer free. And through it all I've seen this man at the gym always with a smile on his face – a guy who loo … [Read more...]

First booksigning – May 12, 2011

I have scheduled my first booksigning at a wonderful one-year-old independent bookstore in my hometown, Pages! I hope you'll attend. The venue is great and the refreshments hosted by Dinah Alcon will be delish! To RSVP please call Pages at 310-318-0900 or go to my event page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=189497844418284 and click away. Time Thursday, May 12 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm Location Pages Bookstore 904 Manhattan Ave. Created By Lucky Press, LLC More Info 310-318-0900 info@pagesabookstore.com (email) www.pagesabookstore.com (website)www.luckypress.com/madelinesharples.html (book information) … [Read more...]

Remembering March 1993

Sometime during the first week of March 1993, my son Paul had his first manic (bipolar) break. He was a student in his senior year at the New School in New York City and was successfully playing jazz piano at several gigs in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. All seemed to be going as planned as he worked toward graduating the following June. Two weeks before he came home to Manhattan Beach for his grandmother's (my mother's) February 12, eighty-fifth birthday party. He was perfectly fine throughout the weekend. Yet two weeks later his life and ours changed forever. Paul playing Happy Birthday to his grandmother, February 1993 I'm on the left with my brother, mother, and sister at the birthday party … [Read more...]

Go to the movies

As Oprah said tonight on the Oscar award show, if you need an escape from the hard stuff that's going on in your life, go to the movies. I call my escapes diversions. My long list of diversions have helped me through my hard times, as I describe in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On http://www.LuckyPress.com/madelinesharples.html. Going to the movies is one of my favorites. I could go every night. I almost don’t care what the movie is about. It’s an escape from the reality of my life. For a short time I can sit in a darkened theater and experience another’s life. People used to tell me to avoid certain movies that are about the death of a child – seems like a slew of those came out right after Paul died or maybe I was just more aware of them then – but, I didn’t listen. I still don’t mind going to movies with that kind of subject matter. That means I can see how others suffer through it and learn from them. So be it a happy or sad movie, go. And congratulations to … [Read more...]

How should we handle our grief?

“Deposits of unfinished grief reside in more American hearts than I ever imagined. Until these pockets are opened and their contents aired openly, they block unimagined amounts of human growth and potential. They can give rise to bizarre and unexplained behavior which causes untold internal stress.” ~ Robert Kavanaugh The Compassionate Friends had this quote on its Facebook page today. It is so in keeping with what I’ve experienced lately. Grief seems to be running rampant. I’ve been in contact with several people through my involvement with The Compassionate Friends who are hurting so badly. And I don’t know how to advise them – except to tell them my experience through my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On http://www.LuckyPress.com/madelinesharples.html. What I did with my grief was pick myself up almost immediately after my son’s death and begin to fill up my time – with work, working out, writing, reading, and participating in any diversion I could find (movi … [Read more...]