Showing posts from 2011


I've had some wonderful opportunities lately to spread the word about The History of My Body, appearing on Connie Martinson Talks Books and being interviewed the past few days on radio talk shows, among them WKNY-AM with Warren Lawrence, WXBR-AM with Ron Van Dam, and KCAA-AM with Erin, Paul, and John. Each of my interviewers generously suggested that my book would make a wonderful holiday gift, which brought to mind a few words I wrote as a guest author for Just the Right Book about one of my all-time favorite holiday gift books.

In the spirit of the season - in the bath of the winter solstice, the second night of Hanukkah, and Christmas nearly upon us - I encourage you to think of books when you're facing down the crowds for your last minute gifts...not just my book, but any book that promises to light up the darkness as much as this one did mine, as I described it for Just the Right Book:

What a wonderful coupling ~ the winter holidays can open our hearts; a terrific book oft…

Ring the Sleigh Bells That Still Can Ring

Today I’m thrilled to participate in the first annual Sleigh Bells and Ink Wells Blog Hop organized by authors Smoky Trudeau Zeidel and Patricia Damery. If you scroll to the bottom of this post, you’ll find directions to the blogs of eleven fascinating writers I know you’re going to want to discover. And before you hop to the next blog, you’re warmly invited to leave a comment below, subscribe to this blog, and explore previous posts on this site…it’ll definitely ring my bell if you do!

I love the sleigh bell imagery. I’m a total Christmas nut. What else would the child of a Russian-born, Jewish atheist father and a mother raised on the outskirts of a Sioux reservation be? Actually, it’s my mom who deserves most of the credit. She grew up in the only Jewish family residing in the small town of Selfridge, North Dakota, and feeling utterly deprived of having a Christmas tree like her friends, swore to herself she’d make up for it when she left home.
Make up for it, she did. To my father’s…

Coming Soon: First Annual Sleigh Bells and Ink Wells Blog Hop!

This just in from author Smoky Zeidel: "This Friday, December 16, launches the First Annual Sleigh Bells and Ink Wells Blog Hop, created by yours truly and my dear friend Patricia Damery, author of Snakes and Farming Soul (Fisher King Press). A dozen authors will be writing inspirational posts and talking a bit about their books. The participants in this cozy hop are T. K. Thorne, Patricia Damery, Debra Brenegan, Anne K. Albert, Elizabeth Clark-Stern, Collin Kelley, Sharon Heath, Melinda Clayton, Ramey Channell, Leah Shelleda, Malcolm R. Campbell, and myself." Stay tuned, folks...and do come visit us all on December 16. I think you'll be delighted by the variety of juicy blog posts from this potpourri of talented authors!

And for those of you who missed Connie Martinson interviewing me about my novel The History of My Body on her nationally syndicated TV show Connie Martinson Talks Books this week, here’s the three-part You Tube version (SPOILER ALERT: Connie likes to disc…

The Bird’s the Word

It’s the crows again. I might as well rename this blog Corvine Central.

Not on my roof this time, knocking tins of cat food against my skylights or – scarier still - pecking to get in. Not dragging their slick black tail feathers against grass and pavement in their fledging state. Not even several murders of them, gliding across the pages of my novel The History of My Body, teaching my young protagonist Fleur what she couldn’t learn from her own parents - that we have to be mired on the ground awhile before we can actually fly.
No, this time the crows have proven themselves to be smarter than a child of four, able to strategically drop stones or other heavy objects into a container of water in order to raise the water level high enough to drink. Not to mention using twigs or even self-fashioned hooks made of wire to extract worms from crevices – a kind of tool-making anthropologists once credited solely to humans.
Nicky Clayton, the Cambridge researcher who reported all this speculates t…

You Wear It Well

No way to feign being blasé about this one: this past Sunday I had the joyous experience of launching The History of My Body, my first published novel after twenty-six years of writing fiction. The event was a rousing success – there was a gratifyingly packed house at the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles as I spoke about my writing process and read from…my book!  Imagine my delight when copies of the book flew off the shelves of the Institute Bookstore to be inscribed by my beginner's trembling hand.

All of that – and my hopelessly broad grin - would be visible from the outside.

Less visible, but even more significant, is how poignant it feels to have stretched way beyond the opportunities afforded my parents - who worked their tails off as a plumber and waitress just to survive - and considerably farther into engagement with the world than ever imagined by the lonely outsider I was as a child.
That experience of loneliness undoubtedly played no small part in the genesis of Fleur R…

The History of My Body is Launching!


Cats Behaving Badly and Badly Behaving Humans: Fiddling while Home Burns

On a routine Saturday morning earlier this year, I opened my L.A. Timesand began my ritual of absorbing the news along with my breakfast. Most of what I read was far less digestible than my eggs and toast: Egypt’s Mubarak was refusing to step down; a suicide bomber had killed a deputy governor in Kandahar; desperate Haitians were storming food distribution sites, and – this just in! (don’t forget I live in L.A.)  - Chris Brown had decided not to attend the Grammys, having assaulted Rhianna on the eve of the previous year’s awards show.
But it was page A12 that finally wrecked my appetite, making my food taste more like bile. The acid-churner was a story about a female bear who’d had to swim for nine days across the Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe. She’d lost her young cub on the journey, as well as 22% of her own body weight. There was little food available for her on the other end when she arrived.

Now, I’m a sucker for living creatures. I’ve developed a fondness for much-mali…

Women Who Dance with the Wolves (or Cats, Dogs, Physics, Future Generations, Life!)

I lost a very dear friend a few weeks ago. Jungian analyst Elizabeth Strahan was a woman of uncommon grace and extraversive southern charm: warm, articulate, with an earthy laugh that could light up a room. A terrific teacher and writer, her essay Beyond Blood: Women of That Certain Age appeared in the book To Be a Woman: the Birth of the Conscious Feminine, and the video series she hosted, The Language of Dreams, made the nuts and bolts of Jungian psychology clear and accessible. Lizzie took great pleasure in offering her two cents worth with expressiveness and candor; she loved a beautiful garden, a fine restaurant, a terrific book… and she LOVED to dance. So do I. Anyone who has attended a Jungian conference knows how we normally serious and introversive odd ducks get down on the dance floor. Liz topped us all, moving with perfect rhythm and grinning from ear to ear as we danced the world’s sorrows away. Lizzie and I would look forward to conference dances for months, living for th…

Blowin' in the Wind

So it was like this: the camera caught us both unawares. I look wary, you harassed.  We were on a trip to San Francisco – I remember that much. How old would I have been? Six, seven? Something like that. You, mid-thirty-something, just as handsome as I recall, though this particular shot misses the Frank Sinatra, flirty-eyed charm. 

I had to dig through albums filled with thousands of incarnations of myself, my kids, extended family, friends still alive and some now dead, European vacations, graduations, cats, dogs, home remodeling projects to find this photo – just about the only one taken of the two of us together when I was a girl.
It wasn’t that you weren’t around. I wasn’t an abandoned daughter, nor an abused one. Just more invisible to you than I would have wished, especially given how much I adored you. Those were days before therapy was as common as a cold virus, before men dropped down from their high horses and diapered their babies, before daddies knew how much their attent…

Birds of a Feather, Part 2

I didn’t know why I felt a special affinity for the gardener who tended the house at the end of my block, and I didn’t know why he showed a particular warmth toward me. But once a week, we engaged in our own ritual shorthand for “How’s it going? I’m so happy to see you.” I’d approach at what I tried to convince myself was the requisite, cardio-beneficial “brisk pace.” He’d look up from his mower, squinting at the smoke rising from the cigarette he had clamped, Bogie-like, at the corner of his mouth. He’d inevitably shoot me a second look, as if he couldn’t believe he was seeing me again, though I walked the same route virtually every day. Our shy laughter would lead to a mutual grin-fest that, at least on my end, lasted long after I turned the corner. Sometimes, he’d get talky and shout out in a thick accent, “Nice day,” bowing his head as elegantly as an emperor. I’d incline my own head, politely ignoring the growling mower by his side spitting gasoline fumes. Here we were, two stran…

Birds of a Feather

I’m crazy about birds, so it’s no surprise they figure prominently in my novel
The History of My Body. No matter what kind of mood I’m in, I set out on my walk each morning knowing my spirits’ll soon soar at the trill of a mockingbird, the melancholy plaint of a dove, a cacophony of wild parrots sweeping by overhead, the surprisingly high-pitched call and response of the red-tailed hawk couple deigning to settle this year into my urban neighborhood.
Maybe it’s because they manage to escape the pull of gravity, or perhaps it’s down to my father teaching me every verse to Annabel Lee, but sometimes I think of birds as the spirits of our ancestors, here to have a laugh or two, but mostly to look out for us. I figure that if the birds ever go, we may as well call it a day. It’s one reason I hyperventilate when I hear about the critically endangered status of the whooping crane, the ivory-billed woodpecker, the ruby-throated hummingbird, our own California condor. “C’mon, people,” I find my…

Synchronicity and Shadows and Novels, Oh My!

People sometimes ask me, “What’s a Jungian Analyst doing on Facebook and Twitter? Or starting a blog? Or writing a novel?” More often, though, what I’m asked is, “What IS a Jungian analyst, anyway?”
Which isn’t surprising. There aren’t that many of us - less than a hundred even in this southern California mecca for shrink-goers, AKA people who’ve had the good sense to seek a healing of the soul (which, p.s., is the actual meaning of the word psychotherapy).
The short answer goes something like this: Jungian analysts are psychotherapists who’ve been certified to do depth work by an analytic training program informed by the vast vision of C.G. Jung. The longer – and more satisfying - version would be verrrrrrr-y long, but my own initial exposure to it felt like a homecoming after all sorts of mischief in my late teens and early twenties. Through his work with people whose ideas changed our world as well as those who lived the quiet dignity of a simple life, Jung discovered that we all di…