stuff

stuff

For six years I’ve been living in my mother’s house. I’m 67. My mother is 96. Technically the house is now mine. Mother gifted it to me when I left my life in New York City to move to Fort Worth, Texas to look after her. It never feels like mine.

Mother lives in an excellent independent living facility. She pays her bills with her still beautiful signature and checks her bank balance on-line, but she needs help. The ways I am called to help range from grocery shopping to navigating the best anesthesiologist for a hip replacement at 91. This year her energy and focus have waned and I am needed for more common sense solutions to every day concerns. We are fortunate that our worries are minimal when others around us are into assisted living, at-home nursing or hospice care.

She raised me with a practical hand. My daily survival needs were met, but a hug or laugh were in short supply. Stuff took high priority. Antiques, spotless white kid gloves, good posture in church were important to her and so they were important to me. Through the years I associated the prized teapot collection and sterling silver flatware with maternal care. If I took good care of them, I felt worthy and surely loved.

I’ve avoided clearing out many items she had squirreled away in the numerous closets. Some hold childhood memories. Some are the result of her efficient bargain shopping. I should clarify that I haven’t been here exactly six years. April 1 will be the official anniversary. As I approach this mystifying yet significant milestone, I am determined to claim this house. To do so I must exorcise my false hope in stuff.

The satin robe she wore when she brought my baby brother home from the hospital will not bring love. Calling her each morning to measure her mood and her health will.

Struggling with Ferguson

Unfortunately last night we saw what was, in my opinion, a most reckless decision by the Ferguson grand jury. I’m having difficulty writing about this because my anger and frustration are running the show, so I’m re-posting a blog entry that Jenny Lawsen wrote today. I’m not in as hopeful a state of mind, but I applaud her focus on compassion. http://thebloggess.com/2014/11/compassion-is-painful-thats-how-you-know-its-working/#comment-796869

A very personal problem

I am frustrated by the media coverage of domestic violence. In our culture, sensationalism and caricature replace discussion of the intimate human experience. Until we are honest about why people become abusers or victims, we will not be able to stop fixating on the “other.” When it comes to domestic violence, there is no “other.” One in four women are victims of domestic violence. That isn’t one in four women you or I don’t know. That is one in four women that you and I know, and perhaps that woman is you or me or your friend or your colleague.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is also the awareness month for breast cancer. How much good do these awareness months do? Honestly, I have no idea, but as a woman who lived in domestic violence I feel obligated to write something. I do not wish to add to the myth that all women who are victims of domestic violence don’t leave because they don’t have the money. This automatically floods the reader’s mind, if they are financially stable, with images of someone other than them. Many women trapped in an abusive relationship are not financially stable, but it is dangerous to paint this fact as the norm. Such an assumption blinds us to understanding how pervasive domestic violence is in our society.

Why do abusive men become abusive? Why do abused women become abused? We need to be honest about what we can do to change that, and not indulge ourselves with the NFL or the latest easy target. All that does is shine the spotlight on a remote event which should be revealed for its outrageousness but not as the solution to a very personal problem.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I was honored to be invited by Catherine McCall, international best-selling author of the memoir, “Never Tell,” to participate in the #mywritingprocess blog tour. The following four questions have been asked of everyone who has and will participate in this community of writers.

1) What am I working on?

I am currently marketing my book, “Reckless: A Memoir,” that was published May 1, 2014. For more information, visit http://www.recklessamemoir.net. The writing took 17 years and the shock and delight of it being in the world is mixed with the rigor of finding ways to market it with fresh ideas. I do have my next book planned, but when I sat down to start my first draft, I learned my brain isn’t refreshed from the “Reckless” journey. My papers, outline, various notes are splayed across my desk where I will put my bum in the chair and write. For now random thoughts flit around and feed the future.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My first craft was acting, and that informs my writing from a specific sensory and psychological point of view. Often, this point of view is not appropriate in the final drafts, but it helps me develop place, internal monologues and hidden agendas people cover up with contrary behavior.

3) Why do I write what I do?

If I picked one behavior that I believe is the most destructive, I would pick keeping secrets. I’ve lived the nightmare of keeping secrets and the peace of releasing them into the world. My first book, “Reckless,” is a deeply personal one that pulled the covers off a lifetime of secrets. My next book is a more public one. My goal is to shed light on people who are often condemned based on a lack of awareness. These are not secrets, per se, but they are truths often hidden from public view. Real life is plenty fascinating for me so non-fiction is my genre.

4) How does my writing process work?

I prefer to jot ideas, quotes, cut out articles that inspire or inform my subject. Then I create a draft of tumbled out words without judgement. In the past it took me decades to figure out what the story was so that I could shape and discard hundreds and hundreds of unnecessary pages. Now I aim to define the story much earlier. This is probably an exercise in futility, but hope springs eternal!

Who is up next?

I am honored to present the following writers who will be posting next week.

Judy Alter

Judy Alter’s first published book was the 1978 y/a title, After Pa Was Shot. For almost twenty years she wrote primarily about women of the American West, for both y/a readers and adults. Several of those books are now available online—Mattie, Libby, Sundance, Butch and Me, Cherokee Rose, along with many written for school libraries on everything from surgery and vaccines to passenger ships and state histories.

In 2006 Judy turned her attention to cozy mysteries set in Texas, and she now has six (almost seven) published in the Kelly O’Connell and Blue Plate Café series. Coming in July is Deception in Strange Places, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery.

Judy is the single parent of four and grandmother of seven. She lives in Fort Worth, TX with her Bordoodle, Sophie.

http://www.judyalter.comhttp://www.judys-stew.blogspot.comhttp://potluckwith judy.blogspot.com

 

Laura Schoefer

Laura Schofer is a journalist who has worked for two Long Island community newspapers for the last 18 years. She has won journalism awards from the National Newspaper Association and the Press Club of Long Island. She has also written several plays including “Silent History” that was produced at The Spiegel Theatre at Hofstra University as part of a conference on Long Island Women and “Cleaning Lessons,” a play produced in conjunction with the “Women and Work Performance Project” by NEAR Theatre in Huntington as well as at Pen & Brush, a women’s arts organization in New York, New York. “The Fingerprint of Destiny” is her first novel published by Hope’s Point Press.

Hope’s Point Press was founded in 2012 by Laura Schofer. This electronic publisher press is dedicated to publishing creative works that take place on Long Island. “The Fingerprint of Destiny” is the first novel to be published by this press.

To review this book, interview its author or learn more about Hope’s Point Press go to www.hopespointpress.com.

“RECKLESS: A Memoir,” Reading & Signing, June 5, 2014, 6:30 p.m. Free admission.

Location: Amphibian Stage Productions, 120 South Main Street, Fort Worth, TX 76104

Image

Reading & Signing

Free Admission

Lobby opens at 6:00 p.m.

                                         “MOST OF US NEVER GET THIS CLOSE TO THE FLAME”

Why would a middle class white woman fall in love with a convicted felon from Harlem?

 Rebecca Allard, Author of Reckless: A Memoir, shares her story of addiction to danger and the journey she took to reclaim her heart, mind and soul.

 “Reckless reads like a psychologically-nuanced thriller, and is all the more riveting because of Rebecca Allard’s insistence on discovering her own responsibility in her near destruction. The intense push-pull of attraction to danger is beautifully rendered and devastating. Most of us never get this close to the flame.” – Philip Gerson is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and television writer, whose credits include Murder, She Wrote and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

 “Reckless is an intimate articulated psychological treatise of a woman who, in the vulnerability of her youth, fell in love with and married a psychopath.” –  Catherine McCall, LMFT, and international bestselling author of Never Tell, A True Story of Overcoming a Terrifying Childhood.

Rebecca Allard began her professional acting career in 1971 and later became director of technology implementation for a Fortune 500 accounting and auditing firm. Her story begins in her Texas birthplace and unfolds in New York City in the ’70s and ’80s. Read more at www.recklessamemoir.net.

***

Visit www.recklessamemoir.net/press-kit/ for contact details, review copies, photos, and an author bio.

 

 

 

First review of RECKLESS: A Memoir!

5.0 out of 5 stars 
A strong memoir of contemporary significance May 11, 2014

By Catherine McCall, author of UK bestseller, “Never Tell”
Format:Paperback
“RECKLESS is an intimately articulated, superbly crafted story of an emotionally vulnerable young woman’s journey, as she falls in love with a psychopath, struggles through the gut-wrenching complexities of marriage to him, and ultimately discovers her path toward healing, liberation, and strength. As a therapist and teacher, I kept thinking it could be an apt companion to WOMEN WHO LOVE PSYCHOPATHS by Sandra Brown. But RECKLESS also includes other themes of contemporary importance as well: mental illness, interracial marriage, drug addiction, sex addiction, psychotherapy, the arts. As a native New Yorker I enjoyed that most of Rebecca’s story takes place in New York. But I don’t mean to imply that RECKLESS is an enjoyable read. It’s dense; it’s intense; it will make you work; and the strength of the writing will guide you through to a deeper understanding of marriage and family dynamics, child development, psychological process, and wisdom.”