Feedback, Sound, and Anticipation
Although I am not a mom, I somehow have an image of a small overnight bag, standing by the door. I don’t know if it is an actual memory of when my mother was getting ready to have my beloved little sister. I was only two and a half. Back then, women stayed in the hospital for a week when giving birth, so my mother was getting ready to be gone for a while. Mrs. Sheba would be staying with my older sister and me. She was an old German lady, who smelled much like our great Aunt Lottie and Great Aunt Gertrud, also old German ladies. Mrs. Sheba used to say “You vant to go to bett?” which of course we never did, what a silly question. We had no choice. I don’t know why she asked.
I remember the stories of how the nurses all buzzed around my dad, who felt queasy and sick in the delivery room, while my mother was as ever, quietly neglected. I can’t imagine her crying out or even complaining. I remember when the beautiful little baby, as yet un-named, came home. When they opened, she would become known for her big eyes. She looked like our dad, and I was in love, and so jealous. Anyway, as we approach my pub date, I feel rather like the expectant mom, waiting for the water. I guess this blog is my little bag.
“Is There Anybody Alive Out There?”
I remember from a Bruce Springsteen concert download, a lively call and response between Bruce and the audience. Bruce in his inimitable way, bellows “Is there anybody alive out there?!” The crowd roars. And the exchange is repeated enough times with building fervor, for the show to start with a loud twang, the starting shot for Born to Run. I guess I feel that kind of excitement. So here’s my call and refrain. I would be delighted to hear from you!
Being a writer is strange. I spend months holed up in my little home office, all the more blurred by the unreality of Pandemic year, banging on the computer. I churn out my ideas, shared only perhaps with a handful of editors or consultants, stumble through editors’ comments and somehow a finished book reaches the world, or does it? Perhaps it flies out into a mysterious and empty black hole of oblivion, much like the vast empty landscape of the neglect survivor’s world. It is truly unclear if there is anybody alive out there, or if all of this just a backdrop for my own solitary movie, and none of the rest is real. I used to wonder about that when I was young and so alone.
A writer’s world can replicate that, if we don’t proactively make it different. So, in my overnight bag, is an invitation: Let me hear from you! I’d love to know your thoughts. What is interesting and helpful? What is drivel or psychobabble? Is it enough about me already?! Is it too much or not enough science? One reader of my first book told me my citation of the Talmud was erroneous! Oy vey! I so rarely invoke the Talmud or anything like it. Of course, it was too late to change it. But I was humbled and gratified to learn. My dad would have noticed. Fortunately, although that book was showcased on his coffee table from 2010 when it appeared, until he died in 2020, I am sure he never cracked it open, except maybe to read the inscription.
I recently got an email from a blog reader named Julie. She said she enjoyed reading my weekly blogs, and wanted to keep reading them, but now the pandemic was permitting her to go back to work. She wondered if we could offer an audio version so she could listen to the blogs on her way to work. She said a friend of hers had a feature on her podcast site where you push a button and get an audio version. I thought, what a spectacular idea. We are looking into that. What was most striking to me, was “wow, a live one!” All this to say, talk to me! I may not always be able to respond, but I will certainly try! Thanks Julie!
Continuing with the theme of audio, my sister who is a devoted mom to her dogs, loves to listen to books out on the trail. She said, “what about an Audible version of the book?” I love audio books too, especially during those long stirs of the cheese vat. I have also heard this from people whose vision makes it hard for them to read print as much as they would like. I asked my publisher, and she said if there is sufficient demand, they will consider that. I don’t know what sort of numbers constitute sufficient demand, but I would ask, if an audible version would be of interest, include that in your Amazon review, or let us know by email. My friend and colleague Deirdre Fay, along with her husband read her new and bestselling Becoming Embodied themselves. Apparently, my publisher still owns the rights, so at this stage, I am just asking you to let us know you might want that.
Of course, not much need be said about reviews. Especially Amazon reviews, and especially on or around the pub date, are a great help to getting the word out. Taking that moment to review for Amazon, even if you have not finished the book yet, is a great help. If you have access to some sort of publication which reviews books, even better. Thanks!
It is interesting to me, that once I bumped over the hill of Sixty, I became much more aware of age. Oy vey! I never had really thought much about that. I would look at other people and look at myself, and wonder how old I look or how young in relation to them, much as I used to do about weight, where I would look around a room and think about who was thinner and who was fatter than me.
As an aside, I must add this little anecdote about neurofeedback. When I was in my fifties, my hair started to have salt and pepper sprinkles of gray. Most of my family were already graying by those ages, and I was beginning to follow the family path. In 2009 when I started practicing neurofeedback, I was that graying 54, and mysteriously through avid neurofeedback training, all the gray disappeared! I never targeted that, but it was an unexpected surprise of neurofeedback. It has never returned. At 66 I have never colored my hair and all the gray is gone! Go figure!
That was a digression however. Now when I go to conferences, or when I used to go in person and now virtually, I would feel powerfully moved to see the new generation of young therapists coming up, studying and training to help this complicated and troubled world they are inheriting. I remember 25 years ago when Ruth Lanius was a young medical student I first saw and heard at a conference of a trauma organization, that may not even exist anymore. I remember how the crowd gasped when we saw the early brain scans of this new-on-the-scene young person. Now she is the best in the world. I am getting ready to step aside while new young people pick up the reins. It is my greatest hope to help the invisible population of neglect to be seen and heard, to finally get recognition and help, and to have a chance, to matter as they never have. I used to care about things like selling books, making a name for myself, getting my dad to notice me. Now I just want therapists to learn this work, so the child of neglect can be known, helped, and part of the world.
Finally, I plan to write a lay people’s book about neglect, once I recover from finishing this one. My early readers have commented that this clinical book is somewhat accessible to “lay” audiences, which I have always thought of as kind of a mixed blessing. Perhaps it dilutes my impact in either direction. I am not so sure. I hope this book will be of use to as wide a readership as possible. And of course, as I embark on the next project, I’d like to know what is helpful, unhelpful or lacking, to make sure to include it in the next tome. So input is invited and welcome. Thanks!
Well, I did not expect to pack this much into my little overnight bag. I guess I am ready to deliver. Hope I won’t shriek. But I don’t know!
My book “Working with the Developmental Trauma of Childhood Neglect: Using Psychotherapy and Attachment Theory Techniques in Clinical Practice” was published on August 31st. It provides psychotherapists with a multidimensional view of childhood neglect and a practical roadmap for facilitating survivors’ healing.