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Original Publish Date: 
Feb.01.2002

Blumenthal, a poet and director of Harvard's creative writing program, has written the touching story of his search for his true identity.

Excerpt text: 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0060933925/ref=sib_dp_ptu#reader-link

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

Publishing Notes: 
Published in hardcover in 2002, paperback 2003, currently out of print but can be bought on line
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ALL MY MOTHERS AND FATHERS

By Michael C Blumenthal
Original Publish Date: 
May.01.2008

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Excerpt text: 

COME WALK WITH ME

 

Walking one night from an open mic poetry reading on Liberty Street in downtown Savannah, I was with my friend Z.T. Thompson when he stopped to comment on the beauty of the surrounding buildings. Like me at that time, Z.T. was in his mid-thirties. Unlike me, he is white and originally from the Midwest. I am black, and was born and raised in Savannah before leaving to live in different places for some twelve years, then moving back.

Looking around at the buildings that had mesmerized Z.T., I was unaware at the time that many of them were still standing primarily for only two reasons. The first was because Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman during the U.S. Civil War had decided not to wreak upon Savannah the same fiery havoc that he had upon Atlanta. The second was because a century later, various sons and daughters of the city realized the downtown area resting babe-like next to the Savannah River was virtually a living museum of classic architectural style and beauty. They also realized they should follow Sherman's example: preserve the buildings as opposed to allow their destruction in the face of increasing urbanization, a word that to some was synonymous was progress.

One of the buildings they had not preserved was the old Desoto Hotel, where my mother had worked when I was a child. It had been replaced by the newer Desoto Hilton Hotel, standing 15 stories tall just across the street from where we stood.

The preservationists nevertheless obviously had done an exceptional job overall because in March, 1960, the great Italian writer Italo Calvino found himself surprised when he came to the city, more attracted by its name than by any commanding reputation at the time, just to "have a look at it." He was stunned by what he saw and wrote in his journal: "IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY IN THE UNITED STATES." (The caps are his.) Among the charms that moved him the most was the fact that "at every second intersection there is a small tree-lined square, all identical, but always different, because of the pleasantness of the buildings which range from the colonial period to that of the Civil War."

Thanks to the preservationists, my friend and I enjoyed the distinction of continuing our walk through an area where Calvino may very well have made his observations and which, in fact, was now one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States. For Z.T., the surrounding history was cultural and intellectual. For me, it was personal and often painful. He pointed out that a new magazine on American homes featured two houses in Savannah among the best in the country; then added that the city's architecture had been one of his primary reasons for moving to it. At the time, his statement struck me as an odd one because even though I was a bookseller who had sold numerous books about the city, such as Classic Savannah and Savannah Spectres, I had not studied any of them.

Only after performing research for a novel would I develop a deeper appreciation for the Federalist, Greek Revival, Gothic, Italian, West Indian, and other styles that comprised the city's multiple architectural identity. Only after learning that ancestors brought from West Africa had constructed many of the historic buildings would I more fully understand and come to treasure the legacy they represented. None of that was the case while I walked with my friend. My response to his--as well as Calvino's too I suppose--observations about the city's beauty surprised both of us.

I stated very calmly that I had never realized how beautiful my hometown was while growing up in it during the 1960s and 1970s because it had been my tendency to hold my head down whenever journeying through the downtown area with my mother or older siblings. This tendency, obviously, was one left over from more oppressive times. I don't recall my mother conducting herself in such a manner--she generally looked straight ahead like a soldier marching toward a mission--and I never went to public places with my father so would not have mimicked whatever his behavior in those circumstances might have been. My guess would be that I must have picked it up from other Blacks around me and that the behavior was reinforced by the annihilating gaze sometimes encountered in the anxious eyes of Whites when I did look up. That may very well have been the same reason that later on I did notice the extraordinary elegance of Painted Ladies in San Francisco, the modern sculpture that adorned public spaces in Philadelphia, palatial structures in Berlin, and the royal splendor of London.

I thought what I said about missing out on the marvels of landscape due to racial conditioning was profound enough to elicit some kind of validating or challenging response from my friend. Instead, he continued with, "Anyways, I'm surprised you've never noticed how exceptional the architecture here is."

I didn't have to look long in his eyes to see that he really was surprised.

by Aberjhani

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

It seems strange for a person to travel 4,483 miles to learn something particularly significant about his own hometown. But that’s exactly what happened to me when I was stationed as a U.S. Air Force journalist at Eielson AFB in Alaska years ago. It was there that I discovered in an old copy of National Geographic that my hometown of Savannah, Georgia, was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Having grown up there in a project called Hitch Village and in other parts of the city, I could not understand why.

Then I returned years later amidst all the fanfare surrounding Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (the movie as well as the book), the phenomenal growth of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and the election of the city’s first African-American mayor. I learned a lot about the Historic District’s celebrated architecture and how fortunate Savannah had been that General Sherman had refrained from burning the city down during the Civil War.

Once out of the Air Force, it was my intention to visit family and friends only for a few weeks. Fate, however, had different plans for my life and a few weeks turned into a full year with one piling up after another. As I gained some notice as a writer, friends and readers sometimes asked when I planned to write my “Savannah book” since everyone else, including many who were not native to the city, seemed to have done so. Without realizing that I in fact had already started writing my Savannah book I usually answered that I didn’t believe I ever would because I usually thought and wrote more in world literary terms than regional. But then guess what?

Remaining in Savannah led me to do two things: 1) I spent a decade as my mother’s caregiver prior to her passing and therefore came to interact with my family on levels I never had before. 2) I met some of my hometown’s most extraordinary citizens and enjoyed the great honor of writing about them. Some, like celebrated photographer Jack Leigh, have since passed. Others, like Dr. Abigail Jordan, founder of Savannah’s African-American Monument and the national Consortium of Doctors, are still blessedly with us.

Suddenly, with a unique combination of stories examining my personal journey as a caregiver and writer, set in contrast to profiles of remarkable individuals and families, The American Poet Who Went Home Again seemed to breathe itself to life. Adding even more depth and substance to that life were several writers with whom I’d connected on AuthorsDen and who allowed me to include writings by them that further defined my ongoing journey. All lent their voices to the creation of my “Savannah book” and astonished this author by making its pages sing with a literary harmony uniquely its own.

Aberjhani

The American Poet Who Went Home Again

The American Poet Who Went Home Again

By Aberjhani
Original Publish Date: 
Aug.18.2009

A family saga set in the green heartlands of Ohio's Appalachia.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

This is a book based on my family's story, but fictionalized and set in the heart of Appalachia.

The Long River Home: A Novel by Larry Smith

The Long River Home: A Novel

By Larry R. Smith
Original Publish Date: 
Jan.04.2010

Memoir of Jeanette Feldman, who overcame poverty and family struggles in the South Bronx during the Great Depression to become a fine artist, enjoy a loving family, and travel the world.

Excerpt text: 

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

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Patchwork and Ornament: A Woman's Journey of Life, Love, and Art

By Nadine Galinsky Feldman
Original Publish Date: 
Apr.10.2006

There are times when a book will capture your heart; it can happen in many ways, but each time it is fresh and new.

Excerpt text: 

Once you catch the bullfrog you can hold it by one hand or two.Don’t hold it by the legs becauseit can hurt the frogRemember, frogs belong to the lake.  It is fun to catch them, but be gentle.  Make sure that your hands are always wet when you hold a frog.  Its skin is very sensitive and you can damage it.   Hold him for only a few minutes.  You can take this time to make sure that he is healthy and is not injured in any way, then return him to his home...which is the lake.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

Christopher Bullfrog Catcher

Christopher Bullfrog Catcher

By Debra Shiveley Welch
Original Publish Date: 
Oct.19.2009

"'I should have been at the tree farm, fighting with my sister over the perfect tree. I missed out on the big game and the most recent school dance. Why?

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

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Game, Set, Life: My Match With Crohn's and Cancer

By Wayne J Street

Young Fleet Street reporter arrives in New York. Interviews Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

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Manhattan Memories (Kindle Edition)

By John Wilcock
Original Publish Date: 
Jan.09.2002

From Publishers Weekly The daughter of famed African American writer Alice Walker and liberal Jewish lawyer Mel Leventhal brings a frank, spare style and detail-rich memories the this comp

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

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Black, White & Jewish

By Rebecca Walker
Original Publish Date: 
Nov.29.2009

This is a true story.  This is not a story for

Excerpt text: 

When I was young, my father’s best friend was a farmhand.  He lived on a big farm located on the far side of Griggstown in what I believe to be Belle Mead.  Walter was a nice man and he was no coward.  Walter had a nice dog and she was no coward, either.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Sherrie Theriault, writer and outsider artist lives in northwest New Jersey where she writes villain-free fiction for children, creates coloring books for all ages, writes daily inspiration books for the recovery community and has other works of collected poetry.

Books available on Amazon.com include the following:

Cala Mae
The Deep Dark Day In
The Congenial Chronicles
The Holland’s Adventure
Fill Me In
Fill Me In, Too
Filled In
Sober on the Way to Sane
More Sober on the Way to Sane
Line from My Life
More Lines from My Life
On- Liners to Live By
My Sponsor Said…
Elissa: Queen of Carthage
Was Love Lost
Order of Protection
The Story Precedes the Question
Can You See?
What the Birdies Told Me About You
The Enchanting Dog

Sherrie’s books are available at Blue Stockings, Manhattan, NY, The Clinton Book Shoppe, Clinton, New Jersey, Giovanni’s Room, Philadelphia, PA, Easy Does It in Long Beach, CA and The Latest Thing in Costa Mesa, Ca. You can find Sherrie’s art work at Hang-Ups Gallery in Allentown, PA or online at: SerendipitousGallery.com
Please feel free to contact her there if you have any questions.

Publishing Notes: 
I’m not looking for an answer; it’s just that I have a question I would like to ask. I have a story that illuminates this question; would you like to hear it? You are under no obligation to answer me. No obligation to listen to me either, but if you’re game, turn the page. Asking the question has changed me; possibly trying to answer this question will change you.
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The Story Precedes the Question

By Sherrie Theriault

"Life's Spices From Seasoned Sistahs" A Collection of Life Stories From Mature Women of Color These are true stories and poems from the voices of women of color.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

When I insisted my son David Scott take Algebra, it was with the expectation that he would go to college and stretch himself a little, prove he could do more than he thought. He fought me every step of the way and it wasn't until I visited him in jail he told me I had succeeded better than I knew. It took a few years and facing his drug addiction and prison to realize I had helped him find something he could use. "Algebra You Can Use" is the story of that moment.

Life's Spices

Life's Spices From Seasoned Sistahs

By JM Cornwell
Original Publish Date: 
Jan.22.2008

Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul will touch your heart with stories of finding and creating families.

Excerpt text: 

My favorite story was one I didn’t completely understand and one that made me feel special. “We chose you out of all the babies in the world,” my mother told me from as far back as I could remember. It wasn’t until I was ten years old that I finally understood what she meant; I was adopted.  I was nearly thirty years old when I understood how my biological mother felt because I faced the same choice.

I wasn’t supposed to see the baby after he was born, but somehow the nursery slipped up and brought him to me. The moment they put him in my arms I was lost. The attorney said he’d break the news to the prospective parents’ attorney. “No, it’s my choice. I’ll tell him,” I said. The prospective parents' attorney was angry. There’s no doubt the parents were hurt, but they sent me flowers; so did the attorney they hired for me. He thought I had done the right thing, so did my doctor.

I changed my mind when Jaime was born because I believed love was enough. The attorney the adoptive parents hired to protect my rights and the doctor who delivered my son and kept me alive in spite of the dangers talked me into keeping him. It wasn’t a hard sell; I wanted to keep him, but wasn’t sure how I could since I was barely making it without a child. Jaime and I went home.

 Jaime Bohdan was a laughing child with strawberry blond curls, eyes the color of a clear blue sea, and an inquisitive nature. He refused to sleep in a crib past the age of ten months; he kept looking for ways to climb out and crying, beating the bars with anything within reach, until I relented and either put him in bed with me or put him on the hide-a-bed with chairs ringing him in. He didn’t mind the bars of the chair; he just didn’t like the bars on the crib, so I took it down.

He wasn’t really mischievous, just curious. As he got older he climbed bookcases and furniture and cabinets to look inside and drag out whatever he found.

One morning before six, he woke me up. Through sleep-blurred eyes, Jaime looked odd. Blinking and rubbing away the sand and grit, I looked again. He smiled a lopsided smile, his teeth white in a mask of smeared makeup. His chubby hands pulled at my arm. “Look, Mommy.” Little hand prints in mingled shades of green and blue and violet and pink covered my arms. I got out of bed and followed him into the bathroom, every surface a smeared Jackson Pollack in every shade of eye shadow, blush, and lipstick I owned. Variegated body parts decorated the inside of the claw foot porcelain tub and Jaime looked up at me, his eyes bright with excitement, and giggled. I couldn’t help myself. In spite of how much work it would take to set everything right, I laughed, swung him up into my arms, and kissed his painted cheek.

“Look funny, Mommy,” he said.

 I kissed him again. “You look funny, too.”

Each day was a struggle, working two full time jobs and seeing my son before work and on alternate weekends when I had a day off. I felt like I was cheating him, and myself, but I was trapped. I couldn’t quit one of my jobs because I couldn’t afford the babysitter and a place to live. We had nowhere else to go and no one to help. So when Jaime was nearly two years old, just two weeks before Christmas, I made a decision.

Sitting in the judge’s chambers the morning I met with him and Jaime’s new parents, I swallowed back the tears around the lump in my throat as I answered the judge’s questions.

“Yes, I understand what I’m doing. Yes, I am giving up my son of my own free will. No, the parents have not paid me or given me any money. No one is coercing me. No one is threatening me. No one has made me any promises of financial gain or any kind. Yes, I want to give up my son.”

No, I didn’t want to give up my son. I still don’t want to give him up even though I haven’t seen him since he was nearly two years old two weeks before Christmas. No, I don’t want to surrender the memory of his laughter the morning he woke me covered in eye shadow, blush, and lipstick or the way he looked when he led me to the bathroom and showed me he was a rare and special artist.

No one forced me to give up my son. But the voice inside me said love was not enough and I had to choose between working eighteen hours a day for enough food and clothing (and makeup) and seeing the mischief and laughter in my son’s eyes every morning.

Jaime has a different name now and he is twenty-five years old. I don’t know where he is or what he does, if he went to college or got married and has children of his own. I have no idea how to find him or if he would welcome me if I did. He belongs to someone else now. All I kept are the memories of a little boy who didn’t want to sleep in a crib and woke up laughing every morning.

It has taken me a long time to understand the meaning behind the words I loved to hear as a child. “We chose you out of all the babies in the world.” My parents told me I was adopted when I was ten years old; I was their daughter two days after I was born. I met my biological mother when I was eleven years old. She was a nice woman who seemed a little sad. When she talked to me, she wouldn’t look me in the eyes. She talked about my biological father and showed me a small picture from a high school yearbook. He played basketball and he wasn’t very tall, neither was she. I wanted to know where I came from, why I’m so much taller than my parents. Why was my hair brown when she had strawberry blonde curls and my father’s hair was blond? Why wasn’t I thin? Where did my grey eyes come from?

“Why did you give me up?” I asked.

“I didn’t finish high school and I didn’t have a good job. I couldn’t give you what you needed or what you deserved.”

“Didn’t you love me?” Afraid of the answer, I still needed to know.

She finally looked me in the eyes. Her eyes were blue and clear as the sea, the same blue as Jaime's eyes. “Yes, I love you. Your parents could give you everything I couldn’t.”

“Even love?”

“No one loves you more than I do. Love isn't always enough.”

I can still hear the words, but I didn’t believe them then. How could someone love their child and give her up to strangers? Isn't love all anyone needs? I was a child. I didn’t understand. Love is not always enough, not if you have to see your child hungry or forced to live in a shelter or small apartment in a bad part of town because it’s all you can afford.

Working two jobs was not enough. Love was not enough. Love was all I had to hold onto the day I answered the judge’s questions and signed the papers that made another woman Jaime’s mommy. I signed the papers for my son. Now, love and memories of Jaime Bohdan are all I have.

I know now how my mother felt, but she was wrong. Love is enough.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

My first published story was about being adopted and the editor sent it back to me. She said it was well written and descriptive and she wanted to know where I was in the story, how I felt. I rewrote the story and I've kept her questions uppermost in mind whatever I write. Where am I? How do I -- or the characters -- feel? It has made a big difference in my writing and in how I relate to the world. "Love is Enough" is the answer to those questions.

Adopted Soul

Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul

By JM Cornwell
Original Publish Date: 
Apr.01.2008

Chauffeur. Chef. Referee. Confidante. Provider. As a single mother, you balance these roles and dozens more every day-so take a break with A Cup of Comfort for Single Mothers.

Excerpt text: 

When the boys and I got home, after picking them up at the sitter’s, they knew not to talk to me for at least 30 minutes. I wanted to hear about their day, how they were, and their complaints about the sitter, their teachers, or other kids, but after working twelve hours, I needed some quiet before discussing all of that and fixing dinner, checking homework, overseeing baths, and getting my boys into bed. All three of them were pretty good about giving me that first few minutes. They played quietly, holding off on bickering and their next mischievous adventure. As soon as the kitchen timer dinged, they descended en masse in full and glorious surround sound.

Weekdays were exhausting, and most weekends weren’t much better. Saturday mornings we did laundry, cleaned the apartment, and ran errands. There were groceries to buy for three ravenous, growing boys, bills to pay, and other little chores that didn’t get done during the long work week. It was difficult explaining why I couldn’t buy whatever they wanted if I had plenty of blank checks in the checkbook. Every time I had to tell them they couldn’t have a toy or cool jersey or shoes or candy or whatever they had their hearts set on, we discussed our finances. They knew the spiel by heart, but they still asked. It was their job.

When my boys were growing up, before the days of VCRs and DVDs, going to the dollar movie was a treat, especially when I broke down and bought movie popcorn instead of sneaking in homemade popcorn in my shoulder bag. Sometimes the boys wouldn’t take no for an answer. They wanted large sodas and boxes of candy from the concession stand we couldn’t afford. “Never mind then. Let’s go home,” I’d say as I walked toward the door. The boys quit begging and pleading and went inside, certain I’d follow. I did. I wanted to see the movie, too.

Sundays we went to church and visited family, taking a short break before the whole round of school, work, sitters, and homework began again. Sometimes we topped up the gas tank, made sandwiches, wrapped up cold fried chicken or splurged on fast food, and went to a museum, park, or lake for the day. Other times we took our picnic and went for a drive in the country. Nothing stopped us on those days, not even the fragrance of fresh manure in the pastures or clouds of mosquitoes.

After months and months of what seemed like years and years of long hours and harried nights and weekends full of chores, one Friday night the boys were quieter than usual during the ride home. I was passed over for a much-needed raise because of budget cuts. I’d have to work more hours at my second job, and Saturdays. More hours meant less time with the boys and far fewer weekend movies and picnics. I’d have to pay the sitter more because she’d have to keep them longer, which meant working even more hours to cover the additional costs. Winter was coming. The heating and electric bills would go up; I could barely cover them now. The boys needed winter coats, boots, and warmer clothes.

At home, I dropped down onto the couch, my bag still hooked over my shoulder, tears welling in my eyes. Welfare and Social Service wouldn’t help me; I made too much money. The Air Force protected my ex-husband, who refused to pay child support. My parents wouldn’t help. I had nowhere else to turn.

I was so sunk in despair and disappearing options that I didn’t notice my boys clustering around me. Eddie, my middle son, climbed up on the couch and patted my shoulder with his chubby little hand. A.J., the youngest, climbed into my lap, and David Scott held my left hand. The tears I’d  held back for so long rained down my face. Struggling to get control of myself, I swallowed hard. A.J. reached up and wiped away the tears and cuddled against me. Eddie continued patting my shoulder, and my normally stoic eldest son, David Scott, looked pale and stricken.

“You need a man, Mom,” Eddie said.

A smile escaped me … and then I burst into laughter. I laughed until I was cried again. The boys laughed with me. We laughed so hard and long the neighbors pounded on the walls and ceiling, making us laugh that much harder.

When we could breathe without giggling, I went into the kitchen and turned off the crock pot. It was chili night. Picking up my bag from the couch, I went to the front door. “How about tacos for dinner?” I asked.

David Scott looked at his brothers for a moment; they nodded yes. [AU: Nodded yes or shook their heads no?] “We’d rather have chili,” David Scott said.

Suddenly I knew that however much my boys grumbled and complained about what we didn’t have, they appreciated what we did have: each other. Somehow, we’d find a way to get through whatever happened together.

“Eddie, get the crackers and milk. David Scott, get the bowls and glasses. A.J., set out the silverware and napkins. We’re having chili tonight.”

 

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Working two jobs and keeping up with three young boys is crazy making and sometimes it's as if the weight of all the responsibility is too much, but then, at the moment when it feels impossible to go another step, three selfish little boys offer a preview of the thoughtful and sensitive men they will become.

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A Cup of Comfort for Single Mothers

By JM Cornwell
Original Publish Date: 
Jul.01.2008

You know much joy your furry friend adds to your life and in this stunning new collection you'll find fifty more cats that will steal your heart-one meow at a time.

Excerpt text: 

“I can’t take him with me,” she said. “I can’t get him out of the closet.”

“He’s a cat not a wild mountain lion.”

“You try it.”

The closet wasn’t very big, just a garden variety recess in the wall with sliding doors that had a tendency to fall off the track and onto your head. I turned on the hall light to see into the back of the closet. Just as I caught sight of the furry shadow with glowing amber eyes in the far corner, the light went out. I jumped and screamed. Reflex.

“I told you so,” Marla said.

“Does that always happen?” I reached into a box and pulled out a light bulb. “This box is full of light bulbs.” I centered the step stool Marla brought me under the ceiling light, climbed up and replaced the bulb, dropping the burnt out bulb into Marla’s hands.

“Every single time.” She sighed. “It’s not scary really, just strange, and it’s only this light.” She slid the closet door shut. “Mr. Hyde came with the apartment and now he’s yours.”

“I wanted a pet, but I was thinking kitten.”

“You could still have a kitten, but Mr. Hyde stays.”

I glanced back at the closet. “Does he ever come out of there? How do you feed him?”

“Put the food out. He’ll eat.” Marla picked up the box of light bulbs and headed for the door. “He prefers Tender Vittles.” As if unable to make up her mind, Marla hesitated at the door, looked down at the box, and set it back down. “You’ll need these,” she said and left.

I had a cat. A black cat. I shook my head and smiled. Maybe he’d be like Shadow, who used to lie in front of the keyboard while I worked and sleep on the pillow next to me, when he wasn’t stretched out across my neck because he still thought he was a kitten that didn’t weigh half a ton.

After unpacking the dishes and putting them away, I checked the refrigerator. Empty. I needed food, so did Mr. Hyde. Right, Tender Vittles. Maybe they were on sale.

Over the next few days, the food disappeared, but Mr. Hyde made not a single appearance. Three bulbs burned out before I stopped looking at the corner where the shadows were darkest and two large yellow orbs blinked up at me. Clearly, he wasn’t starving, but I began to long for the feel of soft fur and the sound of contented purring. But Mr. Hyde evidently wasn’t the kind of cat that slept on desks or pillows. I gave up trying to coax him out and enjoyed my new apartment with the fireplace in the bedroom.

A week later, Mr. Hyde came out of the closet.

I had just stretched the kinks out of my back and was settling in for two more hours of work. Just as I put on the head phones and settled my fingers on the keyboard, I jumped straight up out of my chair—with Mr. Hyde’s claws firmly anchored to my backside. He dropped off and landed softly on the floor as I looked at the blood on my fingertips. He stared up at me, golden eyes all innocence, and meowed. He was coal black without a single white hair anywhere, and eyes a rich, clear amber. He was beautiful. As I bent down to pet him, Mr. Hyde meowed again, got up, walked to the door, and stopped to look over his shoulder. He wanted me to follow him.

I did.

Right into the kitchen.

 

His water bowl was empty, and there were two little pieces of kibble left in his bowl. He sat down and waited, silently and patiently looking up at me. I obliged and filled his dishes. Mr. Hyde put out a paw and tipped over the bowl. He looked up at me. I filled the bowl, and he tipped it over again. I mopped up the water. Before I put down another bowl of water for him to spill, on a hunch I washed out the bowl, filled it, and set it back down. Mr. Hyde drank delicately and then tucked into his food. I was dismissed.

Over the next few weeks, between sudden attacks of lancing claws in my backside and Mr. Hyde’s yowls when I forgot he was lying behind my chair and slid back, catching  his tail fur in the wheels,, which was beginning to look quite bald in places, we settled into a comfortable working relationship. He even ventured to sleep at the foot of the bed on the unoccupied side, but wouldn’t move any closer.

For a year we rubbed along very comfortably, or at least he did, since I couldn’t figure out how to sink my claws into his tender hide. But then he couldn’t roll his chair over my tail fur and leave me bald either. Our relationship worked, except when I had guests. A knock on the door sent Mr. Hyde skidding across the tile floor into the closet, passing through the closed doors as if by magic.

My friends thought I had lost my mind, leaving out food and water for an invisible cat. I could never coax Mr. Hyde out of the closet, and the bulbs kept blowing out when I opened the closet door to prove he was down in the corner behind a box of Christmas decorations. I suppose it was no weirder than some of my friends’ pets, or relationships—. Then the time came for me to move again.

“You’ll love Dallas,” my boyfriend said over the phone, “and I know you love me.”

“I don’t want to move to Texas,” I said, glancing out the window at the trees and the little green shoots showing between patches of melting snow. I’d planted crocuses and tulips the fall before, and soon the roses would be in full bloom. “It doesn’t snow down there, and it’s hot and dusty.”

“We get snow—occasionally.” He sighed. “Don’t you want to marry me?”

I did, but . . . “Yes.”

“All right then. How soon can you get here?”

“A month.”

“That’s too long. I miss you.”

“A month. I need to make arrangements, get some things into storage, pack and schedule a leave.” I looked around. There wouldn’t be a fireplace in the bedroom in Dallas. “A month.”

How would I get Mr. Hyde out of the closet? I didn’t want to leave him behind.

 

I handed the keys to Phillip. “Well, that’s it. You know how to work the propane heater, and the plumber will be by to fix the sink tomorrow. The truck should be here at about four o’clock to pick up the bookcases. . . . I think that’s it.” I picked up the box of bulbs and  handed them to Phillip. “You’ll need these, too.”

“Why would I need that many light bulbs?”

“For the hall light near the closet.”

Phillip chuckled. “Oh, the invisible cat.”

“He likes Tender Vittles, and make sure to wash his bowls every time you feed him.”

“No one has seen your cat.”

“And yet the food keeps disappearing.” I took his arm and led him to the closet, carrying the step stool with me. Opening the step stool and centering it under the ceiling light, I held out a bulb. “Go on. Open the door and look inside.”

Phillip reached for the door.

“Be careful or it will . . .”

The door fell on his head.

“It does that sometimes.”

Phillip rubbed his forehead. “Thanks for telling me. Anything else I should know?” He propped the door up against the wall.

“You’ll see.”

“Will it hurt?”

I gestured to the closet. “See for yourself.”

Phillip opened the door and looked where I pointed.

“Hey,” he said, “there’s something in there.” He’d spotted the glowing amber eyes in the darkest shadow in the corner. “It’s a cat.”

The hall light went out.

“That’s Mr. Hyde. He goes with the apartment.”

“I don’t want a cat.”

Placing the light bulb in his hand and urging him to climb the stool, I nodded. “He’ll get used to you.” He handed me the burnt-out bulb and I tossed it into the trash on my way out the door.

“One more thing, Phillip. Never sit with your back exposed.”

“Why?”

“You’ll figure it out.”

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

I've had a number of cats over the years, and a few dogs, but one cat stands out because he was never easy to spot -- even when he attacked. He was aptly named Mr. Hyde, and not because there was a Dr. Jekyll lurking inside. Mr. Hyde is the subject of "The Phantom of the Closet" and he could be a very elusive phantom when he wanted to be.

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A Cup of Comfort for Cat Lovers

By JM Cornwell
Original Publish Date: 
Oct.17.2008

Having a spouse, sibling, or parent with Alzheimer’s affects a family in every way possible—and can leave people feeling like they have nowhere to turn.

Excerpt text: 

Dad sponged down the rails, slats, and sides of the bed, carefully put them together, and tightened the nuts and bolts. He made sure the sides locked and secure so she wouldn’t fall out. He wiped the plastic-covered mattress with soapy water and placed it on the springs then smoothed the sheets into place. Flower-printed cases enclosed the plastic-covered pillows. Everything was ready. Great Aunt Ann would be comfortably safe

 In the two years since we saw her at her sister’s funeral, Ann had changed. She was no longer the elegant, six-foot-two Amazon full of energy and drive, deep hazel eyes sparkling with wit and intelligence. We barely knew her when she opened the door.

Greasy hair lay in disordered tangles on her shoulders; her mouth was crusted with glazed sugar icing from the crullers she crammed into her mouth with dirty fingers. The once solid, capable, neatly manicured hands, now knotted with arthritis, the nails chipped and broken, unraveled the loose cashmere threads of a stained cardigan. Her rumpled satin dress smelled of rooms shut away from sun and air for too long. The ripped, ragged hem of French lace straggled over bony knees protruding from wrinkled folds of once full flesh.

Gone was the woman of fashion and intelligence who had turned her personal style into a prosperous chain of beauty salons and who had glided effortlessly and gracefully through the world. Despite her unfashionably ample proportions, with her impeccable taste and sparkling smile, she had always looked like she belonged on the cover of a fashion magazine or at the head of an elegant banquet table where she had overseen each tiny detail. Only a bedraggled shadow of her former self remained. Her family dead and gone and her businesses closed, she was living alone in a dark, musty cave of faded elegance. We took her home with us and fit her into our lives. The house was full with my three young boys and me, Mom, Dad, and Tracy still living at home but we were family.

Ann’s rich contralto voice with its strength and cultured tones became a querulous nasal whine whenever she wanted something, especially the glazed crullers she preferred over home-cooked food. She wouldn’t eat anything else unless Dad gave it to her; she would mumble, grumble, and angrily shake her head whenever anyone else offered her food. Even though he was only her nephew by marriage, his presence calmed her. She trusted him as though he were her father.

 Glimmers of the past surfaced like bright, fragile bubbles during the year before Alzheimer’s made her too weak and fragile to get out of the bed. Ann’s voice gained strength and sureness as she talked of her life and she seemed to grow younger and younger as she lived her life in reverse. Her eyes, once so wise and intelligent, became more innocent and trusting, empty of cynicism and worldliness as she became a trusting child once again. Photographs and pictures in family albums and books from her library touched some part of her mind hidden in dusty, forgotten corners, and the indulgent smile that had so disarmed and enchanted everyone around her bloomed again. Bony fingers traced perfect, even stitches on embroidered handkerchiefs as though sewing them for the first time. Her movements swift and sure, she would explain the choice of colors and stitches until her eyes dimmed and her hands restlessly plucked at her clothes, lost in a misty fog where the sun didn’t reach. A black mink hat with ostrich feathers that curved gracefully down like an exotic veil transported her to the streets of Paris and a tiny bistro where she ate fragrant onion soup thick with crusty bread and cheese and sipped a glass of wine. She was there, and then suddenly she was back. Ann, always larger than life, became less imposing.

Slowly, the wise, knowing light flickered and died, leaving innocence and an artless and open smile. Wisdom gained through decades of work and hard-earned success slowly faltered, fractured, and broke. The layers of her life peeled away until the hard-wired experiences of youth and childhood—lullabies, friendships, nursery rhymes, and quicksilver bursts of laughter—were unearthed and laid bare.

We shared her memories and learned who she was and who she had been. The opening of her first beauty shop, falling in love, and the little moments of her life surprised and delighted. The confident and self-assured girl she had been whispered secrets once safely locked away or forgotten. We were with her when she left the small farm where she was born. Her senior dance came alive and faded quickly under a moonlit sky where she got her first kiss. We relived her first crush and her first hat, her first pair of gloves on an Easter morning when she was five.

Toys appeared from some cobwebbed corner in the attic of her mind alongside crushes on Saturday matinee idols, Christmas trees, Easter bonnets, and white patent leather shoes. Thanksgiving turkeys were fed, killed, cooked, and eaten. We gathered eggs warm from the nest, carried shiny pails of frothy milk, and ate freshly churned butter. Time flashed backward faster and faster until only glimmers of awareness and the sweet, trusting smile of a child remained.

When her body grew feeble, the side rails on her bed stayed up to keep her safe. Her laughter chimed like a silver bell when she saw Dad. When he fed and changed her, she smiled up at him with complete trust. When she no longer recognized Dad’s face, she instinctively turned toward the sound of his voice and the touch of his hands like a newborn baby.

Then came the day when Ann became too ill to keep at home, her once strong and sturdy body emaciated and shrunken, her smile and mind gone. She no longer needed the bed in the family room.

Dad dipped the sponge into the soapy bleach water and wiped down the plastic-covered mattress one last time. Carefully taking apart the bed, he washed the railed sides before placing them against the wall. He gathered the parts and carted them into the garage, where he stacked them in the storage area and then went quietly back into the house.

There was more space in the family room with the bed gone, and the room, once filled with the shared memories of a lifetime, echoed with empty silence.

When Ann came to live with us, we got to know her in a way few ever would. She took us on a journey through her life and showed us the sadness and the joy, the trials and the excitement that led her to the fancy house with expensive furnishings and the closets full of couture clothes, hats, gloves and accessories. The once formidable Amazon of fashion was a country girl who delighted in beauty and made it her life.

Most of all, she taught us patience and that in even the most devastating circumstances there is the joy. Had we not tucked her into our lives, we never would have known our great aunt and the world she lived in or experienced the wonder of childhood once again.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

I've seen several friends deal with the devastation of Alzheimer's in their family and I've been through it too many times with older members of my family. Aunt Ann, who had been a force of nature, was my first experience and I shared a glimpse of her dreams as her memories disappeared one by one under the weight of aluminum fibers collecting in her brain. The stories she told and the joys she shared remain with me and are part of "Bedside Stories."

The title that ended up in the book isn't the one I chose; that was simply "The Bed" and it was meant to be a reversal of the anticipation of a new baby as the disease is a reversal of memory, progressing from everything learned to the hard-wired memories first laid down in a child's mind.

Bedside Stories

A Cup of Comfort for Families Touched by Alzheimer's

By JM Cornwell

Divorce in the twenty-first century should come with an instruction manual, a release valve, and a support system.

Excerpt text: 

I knew it would not be easy; nothing ever is. But there was a moment, a single moment, when fear overwhelmed me. What was I about to do to my children, to my own life? How could I walk away from the man with whom I shared three sons? What could I promise them except uncertainty? Would it be better to stick it out and make sure our boys had two parents?

While Dave and I sat on the couch talking about splitting our belongings, the words were on the tip of my tongue: “Let’s think this over. Maybe there’s another way.” But I couldn’t say the words. Something held me back.

“You can have the furniture. I can’t take it with me,” I said.

“What about the piano? I can always send it to you.”

“It’s not practical. Sell it and send the money to me in Ohio.”

He didn’t put up a fight. After all, he really hadn’t wanted the piano in the first place. He couldn’t play it, and I would not be here long to play it. Or I could sell the piano and use the money to pay for the divorce.

It was all so cut and dried, so easy to divide up seven years worth of furnishings and mementos—and to leave behind seven years worth of travel and holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, love and companionship. The reason why suddenly didn’t seem so important. I had to think of the boys. None of us was happy, and no matter what we did, things were becoming increasingly more unstable.

Eddie’s screams startled us both.

Dave looked up. “I thought I told those boys to go to sleep.”

I raced to the boys’ bedroom. Eddie sat in the middle of his bed, his eyes closed and his head thrown back, screaming. I sat down and pulled him into my arms. He fought me. “It’s all right, honey. It was just a nightmare. Momma’s here.” He snuffled and calmed in my arms, sobs wracking his body. His shoulders shook. I pulled him onto my lap, his head against my chest, and rocked him slowly as I hummed. Eddie, the oldest of my sons, was getting too big for me to hold him. He was growing so quickly. So were his two brothers.

“I heard voices. Shouting,” he said.

It was the same dream over and over: a larger-than-life replay of the arguments between his father and I. Dave and I fought often in the middle of the night, whenever he finally came home, our voices barely hushed and intent on ripping each other apart. I thought we had been so quiet, but Eddie was a light sleeper.

“It’s all right, sweetie. No one’s shouting. It was all a dream,” I reassured Eddie now as I tucked him into bed. Then, I lay down next to him and began singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the boys’ favorite lullaby. He curled up against my side and sang some of the words before he fell back to sleep. The song had the same effect on my sons that it had on my baby sister when she was little.

David Scott stirred in the upper bunk. “It’s all right, Eddie. It’s all right.”

I slipped carefully out of the bed and checked on David Scott. He patted the pillow, murmuring in his sleep. “Shhh, Eddie. It’s all right.” I kissed his cheek and tucked the covers around him. I don’t know how the boys did it, talking in their sleep to each other as though they were awake. It must be some family quirk, because, according to my mother, my sisters and I carried on whole conversations in our sleep. David Scott stopped patting his  pillow and was silent, his breathing even and deep.

No, I couldn’t back out now. My boys needed to be able to sleep without nightmares and terrors. I had to go.

Over the last two years, Dave and I had gone to three marriage counselors. We did everything they told us to do, but we couldn’t recapture the spark that had brought us together, and Dave didn’t seem to want to stop seeing other women. He didn’t want to change, and I couldn’t change enough. I could no longer ignore the truth. Counseling hadn’t worked. Talking hadn’t worked. Shouting certainly didn’t work. And lullabies didn’t soothe whatever it was that made my husband unsettled and uneasy. There was no way to sing my marriage better. The only choice was to leave and take the boys with me. We’d all be better off.

I picked the covers up off the floor and covered A.J. He slept through just about everything, but he was still young. It was only a matter of time before the tension between his father and I began to disturb his sleep, too. It was time for us to leave. I looked sadly but resignedly at my three young sons, then closed the door quietly behind me.

A few months later, I sat on the edge of the bed that Eddie, David Scott, and A.J. now shared, singing “Over the Rainbow” to ease them into sleep. The bed was unfamiliar, but they wouldn’t have to sleep there for long. We would move out of my parents’ house and into our own apartment at the end of the month. Thank goodness, they were still small enough to fit in one bed together.

“I can’t believe you still sing that song.” My youngest sister, Tracy, stood in the doorway. “You almost had me ready to fall asleep.”

“It’s their favorite song,” I said as I turned off the lamp and slipped out of the room.

“Mine, too,” she said.

Together, Tracy and I folded the laundry and talked over old times while the night wore on. Finally, finished with all the chores, I climbed the stairs and checked on the boys before turning in myself. A dim ray of light fell across their sleeping faces. A.J. kicked at the covers and turned over, one pudgy little hand dangling over the edge. Eddie mumbled something about rainbows and wishes, a smile tugging at his lips. David Scott patted Eddie’s shoulder, murmuring  a trickle of words—“… over the rainbow.”

At times I regret the divorce … but not in the middle of the night. There are no more nightmares of fighting and angry voices, no more crying and screams in the night. Now, the only sounds that drift through the night are of my boys talking, and sometimes even giggling, in their sleep about little boy things and rainbow wishes. That’s when I know that, no matter how hard it is being a single parent, it is all worth it.

I still sing my sons to sleep every night, after the hard days of school and play. But I no longer sing to chase away their nightmares and calm their fears. Instead, I sing a wistful lullaby about hope and better times, grateful we’ve finally found them.

 

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Music has always been a part of my life and there are songs that ground me in the moment. As a young girl and teenager, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was a favorite song and it was the lullaby I sang to my youngest sister most nights when she had trouble sleeping or when she awoke with nightmares. It's also the song I sang to my boys when I tucked them into bed or when they woke in the middle of the night with monsters chasing them. As my marriage disintegrated, my lullaby was needed more and more often and it is at the heart of "Lullaby and Goodbye."

Original Published Source (if Published Work is not a Book): 
12/17/2008
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A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women

By JM Cornwell
Original Publish Date: 
Jun.18.2008

It takes a loving and caring couple to bring an adopted child into their home. And every year, thousands of couples make room in their homes—and their hearts—for these special children.

Excerpt text: 

I know little about my background. I feel like parts of me are missing, because I don’t know where I come from or, at least, from where half of my heritage springs. I was adopted within a family, and only half my history is mine; the other half is silent.

Being adopted means being a stranger to yourself and to your family. They don’t understand the emptiness you feel every time they go through family photos. The family is yours by choice, their choice, and not by blood. You have as much connection to the faces and stories in a history book as you do to the faces in the family album. They’re interesting and familiar, but no matter how much time you spend looking and hoping, there is no connection. I am luckier than most; I see my face in a few of those tattered and faded pictures, the half of my heritage we seldom visit and of whom we have no records.

Like a stranger in a new country, I learned the language and speak with a good accent. However, I don’t think in the language I learned. I am always running up against entrenched customs and asking why. I can’t just accept. I want answers. They don’t understand the questions. I am a cuckoo in a barn swallow’s nest, a changeling.

I was surprised when my mother showed me a letter written by her great grandmother, the heritage that belongs to my brother and sisters. Their roots grew from those flowing lines of fading script. The letter was dated just after the turn of the century. Yellow and ragged with age, it was written to Amanda’s children—all ten of them.

“You’re the only one who would appreciate this,” my mother said when she gave it to me. “You’re a lot like Amanda.”

Amanda wrote of how her father came to America from Europe to build a better life for his family. He continued his family traditions, farming the dark rich soil of the Midwest. He grew vegetables unlike those found in his neighbors’ gardens. Among the staple crops of potatoes and carrots, beans and corn, he planted fruits and vegetables familiar to generations of his people.

As Amanda described her life, the colors and smells of her father’s fields sprang to life around me. She wrote about the Hungarian peppers her father grew; how they burned deliciously on her tongue when she sneaked a taste of their fiery liquor from the canning pot. Money was scarce, but Amanda explained there was always plenty to eat. She preserved each season’s harvest in  bottles and jars—and in words.

In each sentence and glowing verb, she painted her life in brilliant hues of hard work and the satisfaction of planning for the future. She outlined her dreams in shades of acceptance. She could never afford more education than she received at the local school and regretted she didn’t have enough talent to be a writer.

She was brought up to be a farmer’s wife. She would bear strong sons and daughters to continue the farming tradition. And she harbored the hope that one of her children would realize her ambitions and be a writer.

I was transported to her world. I walked beside her as she picked multi-hued produce to eat and to preserve for the long cold winters when the fields were blanketed in soft white. We gathered eggs still warm from the nests. We milked the cows. Aiming the white streams into shining aluminum pails, the milk frothed and steamed in the cold morning air. I understood the yearning to capture life in all its hardships and bounty, just as Amanda had when she chronicled her life. Through her descriptions of her garden, she helped her children to see the life she had lived, and shared her hopes and dreams.

When I finished reading Amanda’s letter, I called my mother and asked her to tell me more about her grandmother. She told me that Amanda had written to each and every one of her children religiously, offering them glimpses of the world she knew and the world she was coming to understand as her children moved away from the farm and on to other lives. In each letter, Amanda sowed the seeds of the past, tended the fruits of the present, and harvested her hopes for the future. Every letter was full of the life that flourished in her garden.

I copied Amanda’s words onto my computer and marveled at what she had created in plain words and simple sentences. Her writing was never published, but there is no doubt she was a writer. Her gift was as beautiful and as rich as the vegetables she preserved like seeds in her letters.

Amanda’s children never wrote more than occasional letters to their mother, each other, and their children. None of them or their children realized their mother’s dream. Amanda’s blood does not flow through my veins, but her dreams are mine. We are related, not by blood but through the writing that I have tended and planted with the seeds of the past—Amanda’s seeds. She is my connection. I am heir to her dream.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

I submitted "Amanda's Seeds" to Colleen Sell in 2002 as a reprint. It was my first published story and I thought it would fit well in "A Cup of Comfort for Writers." Colleen evidently didn't agree because the story was rejected. Five years later, Colleen contacted me to ask if she could buy the story for "A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families." She had saved it for a future book, this book. And it all started with a letter, Amanda May Connell's letter to her children, a letter she hoped would spark a dormant writing gene. Amanda was brought up to be a wife and a mother. Becoming a writer was a pipe dream she didn't dare believe in.

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A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families

By JM Cornwell
Original Publish Date: 
Jan.10.2010

"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major ro

Excerpt text: 

WHEN ANDY BROUGHT HIS seven-member entourage out to L.A., I was an observer at two sharply contrasting interviews, the first with an NBC reporter who seemed out of his depth, asking such feeble questions as "Don't you think you've sold out by being successful?" and "How do you feel about taking film back 6o years?" Responding with his usual monosyllables, Andy wittily suggested that NBC run a silent interview.

Next came Richard Whitehall for Cinema magazine who proved to be a much more perceptive critic, acknowledging that only after attending a screening of Chelsea Girl had he begun to understand how Warhol was exploring the medium. The difference between the two interviews reaffirmed how people carry preconceived ideas to new situations and how interviewers found in Warhol exactly what they were looking for. (As a reporter I'd long ago learned the familiar trick of manipulating quotes to back up a story written in my head even before the interview).

Nearly all of Andy's earliest skeptics had convinced themselves that Andy was putting everybody on, playing some elaborate con game to make fun of his viewers, but you can't be conned unless you're willing to be. Almost every time I listened to people asking Andy questions I felt more and more convinced that he was the nearest thing to being totally neutral that is attainable by any human being: a seismograph that recorded the waves on which it bobbed, a mirror which reflected back whatever peered into it. Might one not conclude that his most pertinent comment on the state of society was the way he reflected it?

On the second day of the visit we all went over to the extravagant Beverly Hills home of Lou Irwin, post-hippy owner of a chain of 40 movie theaters. His house was memorable for campy wallpaper and indifferent art, but even more for rooms leading out of rooms in such repetitious symmetry that you could stand just about anywhere with a movie camera and shoot half a dozen different sets with barely a turn of the body.

After lox, bagels, coffee and some semi business-like plastic conversation, we were off (via a rented gray Lincoln) to a Teenage Fair next to the Coliseum. Here, amid a jumble of surfing movies, young models in 50c paper dresses, balloons,  posters and frozen bananas, half a dozen rock groups competed for attention. Andy seemed delighted to be at what was billed as "a psychedelic freak out"--light show, ancient newsreels shown backwards, synchronized strobes etc as well as the first performance by the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band whose leader confessed they'd ripped off most of their ideas from earlier exposure to a show Andy had staged with the Velvet Underground.

The day ended at the Daisy where Susan Bottomley, who preferred to be billed as International Velvet, met Blow-Up's David Bottomley who took her home and painted her body with his own version of a currently popular psychedelic poster.

One night I accepted Lenny Bruce's invitation to attend his performance at a small theatre that sadly was only half-filled.  The continued harassment by the law everywhere he went, was beginning to affect him, and his "act" was hardly an act at all by now, having becoming mainly a harangue about the way judges administered the law and how his words were constantly being misinterpreted. One amusing bit hinged on the way that police officers had stood at the back of the clubs where he played, taking down his words, which they later read out in a monotone in the very different ambiance of a crowded courtroom. It didn't seem fair, Lenny averred, for him to be penalized for somebody else's (inferior) performance.

Although a fundamentally religious man with a keen sense of morality he came over as something very different, especially when he philosophized on the difference between priest and rabbi ("both shit but only one fucks") and questioned the infallibility of the black-robed hypocrites who passed sentence on him. As a man who used a public forum to explore the human condition and fearlessly bared his own life in illustration, he deserved more understanding and respect.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

Manhattan Memories by John Wilcock

Manhattan Memories

By John Wilcock
Original Publish Date: 
May.01.1993

No Guarantees is an autobiographical account of addiction, beginning with being exposed to drugs and alcohol by adults as a child.

Excerpt text: 

“I want to change, I need help. I can’t do it alone. I’ve got to stop doing drugs. But I can’t do it. I’m so powerless. I’m not afraid to admit my problem. But I’m afraid of abstinence. My life is so complicated. I could easily write a book about it. I want to be successful so bad, yet I’m plagued by this disease. I don’t want to be like this anymore.”  –Journal entry, January 28, 1991.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 
No Guarantees

No Guarantees: A Young Woman's Fight to Overcome Drug and Alcohol Addiction

By Christiane Wells
Original Publish Date: 
Jun.04.2010

When I was 18, I looked like I was 13.

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

Canuck GI Cover

Canuck GI: The Peculiar Life of a Canadian Soldier

By Peter Brandt
Original Publish Date: 
Jul.12.2011

When butter is deadly and eggs can make your

Personal Note From You to Your Readers: 

Note from the author coming soon...

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Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life

By Sandra Beasley