A debut author shares her journey from despair to optimism through a series of essays and poetry that explore her experience with mental illness.
In Walsh’s first essay, she tells of sitting alone at home after a stay in a Tennessee hospital’s psychiatric ward. “The last day I was alone,” she recalls, “I was sitting on the living room floor with a knife to my arm trying to etch out my exit strategy.” Over the course of the book, she refers to several other stays in hospitals and rehabilitation programs after self-destructive behavior, including suicide attempts, cutting, and an eating disorder. With one exception (“4.15.15”), the essays are undated and don’t appear in a clear chronological sequence, which readers may find confusing. They focus on specific moments, during which Walsh came to understand some aspect of her mental illness. In “The Victories,” for instance, she offers a glimpse of the exhausting, all-consuming nature of bulimia: “Every single day was dedicated to numbers (weights, scales, calories consumed and burned), writing those numbers down, adding and subtracting.” Other numbers included the hours she spent exercising and the quantity of diet pills that she consumed. Recovery from bulimia, she writes, is a process of learning how to appreciate one’s own value, step by step, day by day: “It is about finding a new purpose in life away from the eating disorder, it is about learning to love your new body.” In “The Miracle,” she writes poignantly of another progress point: “Tonight instead of picking up the razor to cut, I picked up lotion to put on my body. Instead of heading to the bathroom to purge, I lit a candle.” Overall, this is a journal of affirmation, and a passionate call to others who are battling similar mental illnesses, to whom she offers encouragement and understanding. Her eloquent prose is sometimes heartbreaking, but at other times, it’s joyous in tone. At the close of the book, for instance, she tells of how she’s looking forward to the future: “I deserve to be happy. I deserve all the things everyone else does. I am not too much work.”
An important, hopeful conversation about insidious and dangerous behaviors.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)