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My books are now available at the Alameda County Library!

So, my books have finally made it into the Alameda County Library system. I have to admit it was a pretty cool surprise to be browsing the new arrivals at my local branch and see my own book on the shelf!

Library Book

What was even neater, though, was checking the course catalog and finding that one of my books has been checked out already!

2017-09-14 (1)

Not bad for a random weekday, eh? :)

 

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On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened is now FREE with Amazon Prime Reading!

Now FREE with Amazon Prime Reading!

That’s right – my memoir has been selected for Amazon’s Prime Reading program, which means that the eBook will be available free to all Amazon Prime members for a limited time. The book can be read on a Kindle or any other device using one of Amazon’s free apps.

This newly expanded version is nearly twice the length of the original book and contains eight new chapters. Download your free copy today!

image

It was the spring of 1989. I was sixteen years old, a junior in high school and an honors student. I had what every teenager wants: a stable family, a nice home in the suburbs, a great group of friends, big plans for my future, and no reason to believe that any of that would ever change.

Then came my mother’s psychosis.

I experienced first-hand the terror of watching someone I loved transform into a monster, the terror of discovering that I was to be her primary victim. For years I’ve lived with the sadness of knowing that she, too, was a helpless victim – a victim of a terrible disease that consumed and destroyed the strong and caring woman I had once called Mom.

My mother’s illness took everything. My family, my home, my friends, my future. A year and a half later I would be living alone on the street on the other side of the country, wondering whether I could even survive on my own.

But I did. That was how my mother – my real mother – raised me. To survive.

She, too, was a survivor. It wasn’t until 2013 that I learned that she had died – in 2007. No one will ever know her side of the story now. But perhaps, at last, it’s time for me to tell mine.

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Brooke Shields on Dating George Michael

I am profiling actress Brooke Shields in my forthcoming book It’s the Iron: How My Iron Deficiency was Misdiagnosed as Arthritis, and Why Your Depression, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, and Chronic Pain and Fatigue Might Be Low Iron, Too. Ms. Shields, in her brave autobiographical account of her experience with postpartum depression, Down Came the Rain, was one of the first celebrities to speak out about this common condition. Based on my research and my recently obtained knowledge of Ms. Shields’ life, I have numerous reasons to believe that her postpartum depression was, in fact, caused by low iron. A number of studies have linked the development of PPD to iron deficiency, and there are certain facts of Ms. Shields’ case – including excessive bleeding during and after the delivery of her daughter Rowan – that indicate that this could have been the precipitating factor of her depression.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post! I have also been reading There Was a Little Girl, Ms. Shields’ account of her relationship with her hard-drinking but well-loved manager mother. In it, Ms. Shields recounts numerous details of her early and young adult life, including this charming story of dating a young George Michael! In light of his untimely recent passing, I thought you might get a kick out of reading this biographical tidbit, and I do hope you will “get” all of Ms. Shields’ lyrical references, which add significantly to the cuteness of the piece. But I’ll let her tell it:

“I had recently gone on The Tonight Show to promote On Your Own and Johnny had asked me with whom I would want to be stranded on a desert island. (Such an original question!) I said I had a crush on George Michael. Mom had decorated a denim shirt of mine with ‘WHAM’ in glitter paint and Bedazzles. She glued pins and little pictures of George and surprised me with it to wear to his concert. I almost wore it on Carson.

“As luck would have it, while in Chicago on the book tour, we discovered we were staying at the same boutique hotel as George. Mom was enamored of the fact that he was famous, and she loved his voice. Mom had contacted George’s publicist to say that I was staying in the same place and hoped to meet him if possible. He said he would love to take me to dinner but because of our being bothered by the press we should probably just arrange dinner at the hotel. I nearly fell on my face.

“George decided to get food delivered to the private dining room on the rooftop. I arrived at the meal in colored jeans and a blouse. The table was beautifully set and all the foods I liked had been ordered. George said he had read some place that I liked to be healthy so he picked accordingly. There were flowers and candles and we talked nonstop. He complimented me on my blouse. When dinner was over, George walked me to my hotel room and said he wanted to see me again. He left without even trying to kiss me. I was so touched by what a gentleman he was. (I wanted to yell, ‘Wait, please don’t ‘go-go’!’)

“Back in my hotel bedroom Gavin and my mom had put CAUTION: POLICE LINE. DO NOT CROSS tape all over my bed. There were signs that said THIS MEANS, YOU, GEORGE! I guess this was payback for my sign-hanging stunt down the hallway for Mom after her date with Woody Allen.

“George and I managed to go on a few more dates in New York City that involved shopping or meals. He held my hand and even bought me a mauve cashmere sweater from Charivari on the Upper West Side. I thought he was a remarkable, respectful, and patient gentleman who was obviously aware of my hesitance regarding sex. Mom was thrilled. She said he had good taste and was sweetly old-fashioned. Nobody had ever been willing to move so slowly. It must be love.

“On the night before I was to go back to Princeton for my sophomore year, George invited me to a party for Grace Jones. When we arrived at the club, Boy George ran up to us and started screaming about how he had heard the rumor but was happy to see us actually together. Before the evening got too late, my boyfriend George ‘carelessly’ whispered into my ear, ‘Why don’t we get out of here?’

“We got into the limo and headed back to my home in New Jersey. As we were nearing the house, George put up the partition and turned to me. I thought, Oh my God – I’m going to get to have my first time with George Michael in the back of the limo! Forget Catholicism and the book. Forget my mother. God would understand! I gazed at George with puckered lips. He looked deep into my eyes and said, ‘I think we need to take a break. I need to concentrate on my career.’ WHAM!

“I was devastated. Mom tried to comfort me and promised that I was going to be OK. She obviously didn’t see him as a threat at any stop of the way. Mom encouraged friendships with people like George Michael, Michael Jackson, and John Travolta, because I believe she was impressed by their genuinely sweet natures as well as their level of fame. These were the types of more gentle male friends who loved my mom and did not pose a threat to her.

“I went back to my new place just off campus and cried myself to sleep for weeks. But my sophomore year went by and I finally got over George.”

***

Sweet story, isn’t it? Shields has many other entertaining stories to tell, and I must say, her insights are often impressive – she is definitely much more than an exceptionally pretty face :)

Essays on Film

My eBook Essays on Film is now available for preorder on Amazon. Features the following:

“On Viewing Hans Richter’s Rhythmus 21″”: The search for cinematic meaning in one of the most famous early German avant-garde films.

The Perfect Filmic Appositiveness of Jack Smith”: Impressions of the films of one of cinema’s most eccentric auteurs.

Essays on Film will be available for just $0.99 up through the release date of September 27th.

Essays on Film

 

Happy Labor Day, Everyone!

Labor Day 2

ILGWU Local 62 marches in a Labor Day parade.

Photo courtesy of The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives

Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

San Francisco Shatters All-Time Heat Record at 106 Degrees

In a city where residential air conditioning is all but unheard of, San Franciscans spent Friday, September 1st sweltering in 106-degree heat, shattering the city’s all-time heat record. The Death Valley-like triple-digit temperatures have been recorded in many locales around the state, leading to excessive heat warnings and the opening of potentially life-saving “cooling centers” for those without air conditioning.

“It’s very hot,” one profound observer noted:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/san-francisco-hits-106-degrees-%e2%80%94-shatters-all-time-record/ar-AAr5v1f?li=BBnbfcL

 

Thermometer

Kangaroos on the Wing?

Giant inflatable kangaroo from the Aussie Pink Floyd show at the Fox Theater in Oakland on August 29, 2017. Is it just me, or does it seem significantly more evil than Pink Floyd’s inflatable pigs?

Aussie Pink Floyd Kangaroo.jpg

Houston Sports Retailer Becomes Home Base for First Responders

Found this touching story about Academy Sports + Outdoors, a sports retailer in Texas that has opened its stores and donated rescue equipment to first responders in the Houston area: read it here.

In the wake of stories about people like famed pastor Joel Osteen, who closed the doors of his Houston megachurch that seats 17,000 during Hurricane Harvey, it’s nice to see that some businesses have stepped up to assist the community in its time of need.

 

 

On Hearing of My Mother’s Death is now FREE to Amazon Prime members!

Now FREE with Amazon Prime Reading!

That’s right – my memoir has been selected for Amazon’s Prime Reading program, which means that the eBook will be available free to all Amazon Prime members for a limited time. The book can be read on a Kindle or any other device using one of Amazon’s free apps.

This newly expanded version is nearly twice the length of the original book and contains eight new chapters. Download your free copy today!

image

It was the spring of 1989. I was sixteen years old, a junior in high school and an honors student. I had what every teenager wants: a stable family, a nice home in the suburbs, a great group of friends, big plans for my future, and no reason to believe that any of that would ever change.

Then came my mother’s psychosis.

I experienced first-hand the terror of watching someone I loved transform into a monster, the terror of discovering that I was to be her primary victim. For years I’ve lived with the sadness of knowing that she, too, was a helpless victim – a victim of a terrible disease that consumed and destroyed the strong and caring woman I had once called Mom.

My mother’s illness took everything. My family, my home, my friends, my future. A year and a half later I would be living alone on the street on the other side of the country, wondering whether I could even survive on my own.

But I did. That was how my mother – my real mother – raised me. To survive.

She, too, was a survivor. It wasn’t until 2013 that I learned that she had died – in 2007. No one will ever know her side of the story now. But perhaps, at last, it’s time for me to tell mine.