Hello people on my website!
I've decided to start a section where I'll periodically post with the latest from me. This is the first such post!
This spring as you maybe know I was on the road with the book; I did 29 live events in 10 states. Traveling, speaking, getting the story out there was really cool but also really draining, and I needed some regeneration time.
I'm taking the summer mostly off, mostly at home. I've been continuing to bake a lot of sourdough bread. My big news is I planted a vegetable garden.
Finally got stuff in the ground June 1. I've got two kinds of tomatoes, three kinds of eggplants, hot peppers, tomatillos, arugula, kale, other greens, garlic my neighbor gave me, one sesame plant a lady at the farmer's market insisted I take, lots of herbs, endless radishes, various gourds and strawberries. I've never before done raised bed vegetable gardening. It's a lifelong dream and I'm having a blast.
I wanted to share a few awesome reviews of AKOMP that have published in recent weeks.
First was this lovely write-up, on ISPS-UK (The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis), by member Jessica Pons:
"Sandra allows Bob’s story to flow without neatly fitting into one model of thought around what it means to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Sandra shows a burgeoning critical mental health gaze. She begins to see past the lens of his diagnosis and through putting together his story, her beliefs regarding schizophrenia are challenged. She becomes more comfortable with having more questions than answers, more grey than black and white. This uncertainty is representative, I think, of where we’re up to when thinking about sensory experiences and strong beliefs."
That same day, I also read this rave review in The Psychiatric Times, by Howard L. Foreman, MD. I encourage you to check it out in full. It ends with:
"As a psychiatrist, I have sought to understand the minds of my patients who exist in both the “real” world and in the delusional world. Bob’s writing offers the reader an eloquent way of seeing the way these worlds flow seamlessly from one to another and back. My hope is that it will become a classic and universally read by all psychiatrists."
Those familiar with the discourse around mental health will note that here I've got two reviewers affiliated with organizations of very different orientations, each responding positively to this story. And that, I think, is the power of story, to break us out of the silos we're usually stuck inside. That's how I tried to write this story, anyway, so that a variety of people could really hear it.
Here are a few messages that have come in recently from AKOMP readers:
One wrote, "I've spent most of my 70 years trying to heal and understand the experience of having had a paranoid schizophrenic mother. Your book gave me another perspective on probably the biggest sorrow, but also biggest impetus to become who I am today."
Another: "I just finished your book. WOW - incredible writing and such a beautiful, loved filled story. I am a teacher and a mental health therapist who works with teachers who work in care and treatment settings.... I am going to suggest your book as a book for us all to read. Thank you for sharing Bob’s story."
Another, "I just wanted to write a quick note to thank you for the amazing book you wrote. It taught me so much about schizophrenia and the history of mental illness treatment in the United States. I know your book is a look into the life of one man but I think it is written so beautifully and is so accessible that it can be a great starting place for people trying to understand what it might feel like to live with a diagnosis such as schizophrenia. I really think everyone should read it and I will be telling anyone and everyone about it from now on. I am grateful that you were able to share your uncle's voice and his story with us. I think more voices like his should be heard and talked about. I learned about your book from the Minnesota Public Radio article. I am originally from Minnesota and grew up on a lake so the stories about your family's time at the lake were really touching and I could see how that would be a special place for you all. I was happy to know that your uncle, while he lived through a lot of difficult times, had the chance to experience the beauty of a Minnesota lake. Nothing quite compares in my opinion."
I pretty much agree about the beauty of Minnesotan lakes being unparalleled. (Though, I dunno, I grew up on the Pacific and am pretty partial to that too. And where I live in upstate New York I am fortunate to have a pretty excellent pond.)
If you want to send a note, feel free to write mirraculas at gmail dot com or if you're posting on Instagram or Twitter, we encourage you to use #AKOMP or #ishmallhadwon. If you don't already, follow Mirraculas Paradise on Instagram!
A former student wrote me letting me know she'd asked her local library to buy AKOMP and then sent this photo. (How cute is that!) If you love the book, check out whether your local library has a copy and request one if not. Remember there's an audiobook too!
Enjoy the rest of your summers everyone. I'll be traveling more in the fall and will post here when I've got my dates.
p.s. As you've maybe heard or noticed, I'm coming out lately as non-binary trans. I'm asking to be called Sandy and by they/them pronouns.
p.p.s. If you didn't get a glow-in-the-dark guitar pick and want one, you can send your mailing address to mirraculas at gmail dot com. I started out this January with 600 and this is how many I had when I got home in May. (Don't worry we ordered more.)