Have you ever written a personal essay on the same subject as a creative book you’ve published? My upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly, is about my experiences with my partner who died of Alzheimer’s Disease. I learned a lot about Alzheimer’s when my partner had it. I also did quite a bit of research on it for the collection of poems that I wrote.
I’d like to write an essay about Alzheimer’s. It’s a terrible disease that needs to be highlighted. It affects more Americans than prostate and breast cancer combined. I’m also donating part for the proceeds from the sale of my book to the Alzheimer’s Association for research for a cure.
Do you have any experience with writing a personal essay on a topic related to your novel or poetry? Would anyone like to guest blog a post in exchange on this topic for a guest blog here on a topic related to your book?
My upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly is due out in early 2021;
I don’t know how writing this year has been for you, but I know that writing has sustained me through this difficult year. I have a new collection of poetry coming out in early 2021 by Finishing Line Press about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s. With so many issues affecting us this year, such as the pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, the struggle for racial justice, I wonder how relevant my poems about Alzheimer’s Disease are in the world. I am donating part of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the Alzheimer’s Association to try to create a positive effect from the publishing of the collection. I am also trying to reflect on what I learned about myself in these trying times.
It’s always nice to have your work appreciated so I thought I’d share some reviews I’ve received in the last week for my upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly, on Goodreads. , Thank you to everyone who continues to support my writing and I hope to share more positive reviews in the weeks ahead. Have a great day wherever in the world you are.
“In Touch My Head Softly. Eileen P. Kennedy has written an extraordinarily book about the death of a male lover taken in middle age with Alzheimer’s Disease.” —Preston M. Browning, Jr., Director, Wellspring House Writer’s Retreat.
“Many people are now trying to become less helpless, both personally and politically, trying to claim more control over their own lives. One of the ways people most lack control of their own lives is through lacking control over words. Especially written words.” – Peter Elbow
So how do we gain control over our written words? I think it requires work, but it’s rewarding when the result is good. So many problems in the world incapacitate us: the pandemic, pollution, poverty. But learning to use writing as an empowerment tool can be liberating.
I have a new book of poems coming out with Finishing Line Press. Check it out:
Set in the Santa Clara Valley during the turbulent sixties and seventies, REAL ESTATE, is the story of how a bucolic agricultural valley is transformed into the iconic Silicon Valley.
As acres of apricot orchards are converted into suburban subdivisions, families flock to the area. Air Force pilot Joe Jackson moves his family to Sunnyvale soon after the Hopkins build their dream house. Harriet Jackson, her father’s eyes and ears, finds herself living next door to Bobby Hopkins, aspiring circus performer and math whiz. They share a side-yard fence, but the worlds they live in differ radically. A shared love of the Beatles and the loss of the inspiring young President Kennedy bring them together in an unlikely friendship, but their family’s differences soon tear them apart. While Harriet struggles to fulfill her family obligations, Bobby builds a computer in his garage.
They meet again as adults, but by then everything has changed. In the electric valley, both Harriet and Bobby learn that family is not always destiny and houses are sometimes more than a home.
What writing releases for me is multifaceted. It gives me permission and justification for my sorrow, frustration, anger. I can put it onto the page, and it may stay there, in my ongoing journal, but even if I am the only one to see it, it’s still a release.
It’s a spiritual path, practiced through writing. I’m not talking about God necessarily. I’m a recovering Catholic who is currently agnostic, letting in the possibility, but not really knowing.
Creativity is a natural process and blocks to it are unnatural. Writing unblocks those pathways and gives us access to our true selves.
I took a spiritual journey in writing my latest book of poems, “Touch My Head Softly.”
I released my pain and frustration about having a partner who was stricken by Alzheimer’s Disease and eventually died, leaving me devastated. Releasing those feelings in the vessels of those poems has been healing for me.
“Touch My Head Softly” is in pre– sales at Finishing Line Press:
“Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does.” William James
Can a book make a difference? We are told our actions make a difference, but can a book, with diminishing print sales, lack of readership, and confusion about meaning, make a difference. This topic has been on my mind ever since I decided to donate part of the proceeds of my book of poetry about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s to the Alzheimer’s Association.
When I approached my publisher about it, she didn’t respond. When I approached the Alzheimer’s Association, they had never heard of such a thing and thanked me for the donation. When I told my friends, they asked if I thought I would sell enough copies to even form a decent donation.
So why do it? Some five million people are living with Alzheimer’s, and the number is growing. I never had it, but the disease killed my partner and wrecked my life ten years ago. It’s strange to write, publish and then read about this experience. I thought if I contributed something to the research, it might ameliorate this whole process.
I also found it hard to talk to people about the donation, because they may see it as some strange hero thing. On the other hand, it can also be viewed as self-serving as people may buy the book because part of the proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association, but as Adele, when she was asked if she was nervous hosting Saturday Night Live, recently said, “But if there was ever a time for any of us to jump head first into the deep end with our eyes closed and hope for the best it’s 2020 right?”