Tag: dysfunctional families

  • Art and Madness

    Art and Madness

    There are studies on the connection between the artistic impulse and mental illness. The best are books written by Kay Redfield Jamison, especially her “Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.” In that book, she charts hundreds of writers, from George Gordon Lord Byron to Virginia Woolf, and reveals how the mental illness […]

  • The Art of Reading

    The Art of Reading

    As much as there is an art to creative writing, I also believe there is an art to reading. Most everyone can read. But most of us read only for information. Our eyes run across the Facebook page, taking in the news feeds and other people’s lives. Then our eyes move on. But, real reading–that is, reading […]

  • Escaping the Monolingual Cage of America

    Escaping the Monolingual Cage of America

    According to the above photo, I’d been out drinking the night before. I don’t know what my first Spanish word was, but I do recall an image, ever so slight, of me on the toilet, yelling, “Mamá, I just finished caca-ing!” My mother has assured me that I could say much more than caca, that […]

  • To Read, Perchance, to Survive.

    To Read, Perchance, to Survive.

    There were always books in the house. My father, a mechanic and coal miner, loved history and science. Mom read historical novels and mysteries. Somewhere around fifth grade, I got into the James Bond series. We didn’t own any of these books; Mom and I visited the local library in Rogersville, Tennessee (population 4,802) once […]

  • How To Tell Your Kid There’s No Santa Clause

    How To Tell Your Kid There’s No Santa Clause

    One Christmas long ago my Appalachian father, Ralph, took his revolver, climbed on the roof, shot once into the woods, came back in and said, “Sorry folks, but looks like old Santa just committed suicide.” It was a real hoot. The whole family got it. I was a kid, but didn’t believe in Santa Claus […]