Saturday, January 30, 2010

So I finished my novel, what else is new?

I always remember what David Robertson of the Pennypack Trust told me when I asked him how he felt after he and his staff wrote the grant that would eventually get them the exquisitely beautiful meadow called Raytharn Farm. Frankly, my dear, he said, we were so exhausted and worn out from all the effort it was an anticlimax.

Same with me when I finished my book at 10:58 a.m. yesterday. I looked at the clock on the lower right of my putt-putt, as my former b/f Simon called the computer. Simon was the prototype for the main character, a lovable eccentric, who holds the fictional Sherman A. Scott Chair of Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania.

The characters did indeed come alive and like real children began doing things without my permission. They walked off the page. I never knew this happens until I wrote the damn thing. When I'd sit at the computer I'd enter the world of my characters and blank out real life.

And you wouldn't believe what I was going thru in real life! New Directions! My god, the crises I was involved in with our members. I was in touch with the Abington cops, Building 50 at MCES, Horsham Clinic.

Drama in real life. Drama on the page.

I love it!

All along I didn't know how the book would end. Certainly I was a bit worried. Jog jog jog - I tried to nudge my imagination but it wouldn't budge. Finally I came up with a plan. I visualized it carefully and thought it would work.

But typing away my fingers refused to cooperate. There we were, three characters in the blue office of the Professor's Bensalem house, when - aha! - it suddenly became clear what must happen.

It suddenly became clear.

Where did IT come from?

God only knows. I told Scott about the sudden turn of events and he loved the idea. Had he not, I still would've gone with it. I am solely responsible for the story, no one else.

It's now in the hands of A Reader who will advise me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ruth Deming, Funeral Orator ( ! )

Wore my floor-length purple velvet gown w/hidden PJ bottoms to keep me warm on this crisp cold but sunny morning to officiate at Lester's funeral. Who's Lester? Dunno. Never met the man but I did meet his widow, Rose, who hired me to conduct the funeral.

Rose, a retired schoolteacher and librarian, selected nearly two dozen poems for me to read. She also hired Jack Enea, singer/songwriter to perform favorite standards on his guitar.

"How long have you and Jack worked together?" people asked us.

"Today was the first time," we said. Jack is not only a fabulously talented performer but he's instantly likable, a warm, courtly young man with a beautiful smile.

When Rose told me after the funeral that our dual performance exceeded her expectations, I said the driving force for me was that I didn't want to disappoint her or the audience. Stayed up last night and made the difficult choices of:

- The order of the poems

- What poems to omit due to the 50-minute time frame

- When to add Jack's songs

I did massive Internet research on the poets and learned a lot. Did you know that "Boston marriage" refers to two women who are committed to one another and live together in an intimate but non-sexual relationship?

Poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe, author of the lines "Come live me with me and be my love," was a contemporary of Shakespeare who was stabbed to death at a tavern at the age of 29?

My opening statement began something like this: Rose and Lester loved the simple things of life, the pleasures that are available to all of us. I'm gonna read some poems Rose selected that reflect some themes she and Lester care deeply about:

Animals and the kind care of animals
The Seashore
The Love among people that sustains us all

And Jack Enea (uh-NAY-uh) will enhance our program with some favorite songs you're sure to enjoy.

I told Rose I learned to speak in front of people at my support group where we sit in a horseshoe and I walk back and forth, maintaining eye contact with everyone.

Wetzel and Son Funeral Home was packed with Lester's friends and family. His beautiful granite urn sat on a table. Afterwards, I asked Elena, the funeral director if I could lift it up. It was surprisingly heavy. I have a fascination w/death.

Elena, the young and beautiful funeral director, was even more fascinated w/death than me. As a child, she buried her Barbie dolls. I asked if she and Matt, the other director, were Wetzels or related to them and she said No.

Here are some lines of poetry I read this morning, again all the poems were selected by Rose w/the help of her older sister Anna, a darling 85-year-old and former language teacher in Bristol:

For oft, when on my couch I lie,
in vacant or in pensive mood,
They [daffodils] flash upon that INWARD EYE
which is the bliss of solitude;
and then my heart with pleasure fills,
and dances with the daffodils.

Now, every reader fears her tongue will trip over words, or mis-read them. The few mistakes I made I covered over by inventing a word or two without missing a beat. Hopefully no one noticed.

I read O Captain My Captain, about the death of President Lincoln (the only Republican I ever voted for other than Tom Murt) in a most dramatic way, walking back and forth on the deck. Oops, I mean the carpeted floor, just in front of Lester's ashes.

But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

My research on In Flanders Fields taught me this famous patriotic war poem was written by a Canadian physician after his comrade fell in a WWI battle. The poet, unhappy w/the poem, threw it out, but it was rescued by another soldier.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

You'll recognize some of these lines from R L Stevenson's Requiem:

Here he lies where he longs to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Did you know a poem can be a bit of philosophy, I said. Listen to this one by Edwin Markham from Oregon City, Oregon:

He drew a circle that shut me out -
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!


After I read Marlow's The Passionate Shepherd to His Love which begins and ends with Come live with me and be my love, I said, if anyone wrote me a poem like this, I'd come live with them and be their love.

And here's one by British poet John Masefield which I hadn't read since high school, like many folks in the audience. Here's the third & last stanza. Pay particular attention to the way he describes Death:

I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

My reading concluded with the lovely anthem-like Twenty-Third Psalm credited to King David and selected in memory of Juanita, Lester's mother:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod
and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine
enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my
life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I certainly don't mean to be immodest, but I feel that for some time now, perhaps even always, I have dwelt in the House of the Lord. Another way of saying this might be that I'm "in the flow."

Afterward, we were all invited to a sumptuous Italian meal at Moonstruck restaurant just down the street. Rose, an utterly gracious woman, and her huge Italian family, many of whom are tall like Rose is, sat at white linen-covered tables for the three-course meal. Every single morsel was delicious.

When I got home I told Scott about it, suggesting we take his parents there. We looked it up online and saw they have a Valentine Day special at $75 prix fixe, a little too pricey for us.

"Where do you wanna go for Valentine's Day?" he asked.

I thought a moment and suggested we try a new place called Gerard Cafe by the Belgium-trained chef Gerard. Mediterranean food at its finest.

When you talk to an Italian or you talk to a Jew (moi), food is our favorite subject.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Steeped in poetry

This morning while bicycling I was talking to my boss, Rose, who hired me to read poetry at her husband's funeral. I googled Wetzel and Sons Funeral Home and looked at photos of their 3 locations.

Wait a minute, I said. I'll put the funeral home in my novel. Perfect! And so my Julius Pulaski was buried thru Wetzel and Sons just down the street from the authoress Ruth Z Deming. Daresay I won't give away the plot,

As I told Ada and Rich on our whirlwind trip to The Big Apple on Wednesday to see the 2 pm matinee of the superb musical Fela, the characters did indeed take on a life of their own. Just like it's supposed to happen. It only took two years for them to finally come alive on the page and dosey-do together without my interfering.

I apprised my editor, the novelist Nicole Bokat, that I finished the first draft and will revise it within 10 days. Then I email it to her in 17 chapters and await her response.

Meanwhile I've gotta get ready for my funeral tomro. Rose picked out the poems she and her deceased husband loved. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to sit on my living room rug this morning and read thru the poems, whispering aloud so I wouldn't awaken the ghosts of Sarah and Dan when they lived here, the cats Xena and green-eyed Chaz (who appears in the novel), and also of Simon, when he lived here, he's reincarnated in my novel as Pulaski, I think he'd be very pleased by what I've written.

Hold on a minute and I'll summon the ole fellow, Simon, are you there? Ah, he's sitting in the kitchen, pulling out a Marlboro Lite - uh-uh, Simon, no you don't, remember that's what killed you - he's wearing his light blue denim shirt and dungarees. You should see his huge feet. He was a big man, six-four.

What's that, Si? Homemade bread? Sure, help yourself, it's on top of the fridge. The butter's softening on the table. Everyone thinks I'm nuts for keeping the butter out on the table. I learned it from the Turnocks who lived next door to us in Shaker Heights plus a woman from Peru who lived in Married Student Housing in TX.

Ain't our memories something? When they work. I tried to quote Dover Beach to Rose but unbeknownst to her I was quoting both Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold and John Keats' Upon First Looking into Chapman's Homer.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

She put the bad pen in the drawer

At the NAMI meeting in Glenside, PA, I sat on the aisle and used the free pen that awaited each person on their seat. I scribbled some notes with the pen. The pen faltered. I pressed harder. Now it obeyed. Nice smooth writing. Good pen. Ooops. It happens again. Where's the ink? It's not working. What kind of a goddamn pen is this anyway? I looked for a wastebasket. Ah, three feet away, lined in plastic. Could I toss it in?

She saw me aiming. She put out her hand. She would help me throw it out. I give it to her.

What? She's putting it in the frigging drawer.

It's bad, Stephenie, the pen doesn't work. Throw it out.

She puts the pen in the drawer.


Peggela picked me up and we drove over in her huge white SUV that was like mounting a horse to get inside. I remember riding in the same car when I had bad sciatica and wished there were a coachman to lift me into the seat.

The reason I went to the meeting was to network. I wanted to plead my case to the speaker who's in a position, I thought wrongly, to give my support group more money. Actually the person responsible for giving us money, Nancy, paid a surprise visit to the meeting. For sure I would speak to her at the end.

I didn't. She came over to me as soon as I walked in, stood real close to me, so that I looked into her sea-blue eyes, and she said, Ruth, I'm working on getting you more money. I haven't forgotten about it.

Exciting! The money will be used to run my Connexions Group for people in our group who have difficultly socializing. I refuse to do it for free. On a sheet of paper at home I write down ideas for the group. It WILL happen.

I'd sent out an email to group members inviting them to the NAMI meeting. As meetings go, it was not among the most helpful for us, so I was pleasantly surprised to find Arnie there and Judy.

At least if the goddamn pen worked I could've gotten a free pen out of it. Oh, well, I'll have to rely on the dozens of pens I have all over the house. You can be sure if any of them fail me, I don't tell Stephanie.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I pretended I knew what I was doing!

Before I explain the title, lemme just mention the first thing that popped into mind when I began writing this post.

I pretended I knew what I was doing when I....and you can fill in your own blank.

I worked as a psychotherapist at The Atrium in Bensalem, PA. Yes yes Ruthie I know you wanna tell the vast audience who are tripping all ourselves to read your blog that you used to visit a Buddhist monestery on your lunch hour but let's not get tangential.

As the only group therapist there I taught a class on - what? don't tell me! you don't mean bipolar disorder do you?

You got it, gang. So I'm up there writing on the huge white Eraser Board, I told my students that the only reason I wanted to teach the class was so I could write with a marker on the silky board, which was mostly true, and then I said, I've got a handout for all of you.

Oh how I loved that copy machine! But I was always in a rush and didn't have time to staple the papers together. So I began stapling the packets with an ELECTRIC STAPLE GUN that Linda gave me.

Don't you know that I stapled the fleshy part of my thumb with the gun. Man, did it hurt! But you know what? I kept right on talking. I just pretended that I was used to stapling the fleshy part of my thumb, la-dee-da, and laboriously painfully extracted it while I kept talking.

No, I was not in an altered state like the monks who burn themselves alive though that may've popped in my mind.

Tonite I was invited to host a funeral in Philadelphia. I pretended I knew what I was doing when I spoke to the widow. Guitar music and poetry will be presented and guess who will read the poetry? If you guessed Ruth Zali Deming, you are correct!

I will send a postcard of thanks to the man who nominated me for the position. His name would mean nothing to you, Dear Reader, but it means all the world to me. When he called me this afternoon from his workplace and I saw the Caller ID light up with his company name, I answered it thus: "Arthur, can I call you back, I'm on the other line."

Arthur got me the gig. It's called networking.

Okay, Ruthie, back to work on your novel. My goal is to finish it in January. Tick tick tick.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Talking to Cabbies/My Haitiian Connection

The problem with talking to taxi drivers when I travel to NY is I remember their stories. Anton, as I shall call him, has been here for 30 years. He is from Haiti, devastated yesterday by an earthquake. He told me the difference between his country and the neighboring Dominican Republic is like day and nite. You can stand on the border, he said, and see how one country is thriving and prosperous, while the other is sunk in the worst of poverty.

Why? A history of corrupt politicians to this very day. We all remember Francois 'Papa-Doc' Duvalier. Things are no better today. The government, said Anton, is an oligarchy, I asked what that meant. "Government by an elite few," he said.

A small percent of the population are the elite, the haves, with money and the fine things of life while the vast majority scrabble out a living as best they can mostly on small unproductive farms. No wonder they throng to America.

That very week Anton and his nurse wife were flying back to Port-au-Prince to attend the graduation ceremony of Anton's brother who had passed the medical boards to become a physician.

Now if this same brother has survived the quake he is likely helping bloodied and crushed Haitians recover from this deadliest earthquake in 200 years in our hemisphere.

When I first heard about the quake, reading about it in the Times, various images flooded my brain. Screaming people, screaming children, and then people praying for mercy from a merciful God.

A merciful God.

And what have I done this morning to help my brothers and sisters in Haiti? Uh, er, well, I.... My friend Ann Gaugler went to Louisiana after Katrina and helped out. Said nuffin to nobody.

And here's what I did this morning while they're still reeling from the shocks and aftershocks....brushed my teeth w/my elec toothbrush, drank a glass of delicious freezing cold water from the water dispenser on my fridge, listened to Genesis' Musical Box, turned up my gas fireplace.

O what to do about all them dying Haitians.

Oftentimes after a New Directions meeting, our group drives over to the Jenkintown IHOP to process our emotions after a heavy-duty meeting. Several of the servers are from Haiti. I always order Hot Water in this frigid weather.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Happiest Day

Scott and I still talk about what we did on Sunday. His dad, also a movie buff, gave Scott a huge collection of his old movies. The two of us hungrily went through them, pulling aside the ones we want to see. Admittedly they were the selections of a man of different tastes than I have, though more congruent with Scott's likes.

I pulled aside two films and we agreed to choose between them. One was the Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers, thother was The Gene Krupa Story starring whatever happened to Sal Mineo.

Clint Eastwood won.

Before the film, we popped some popcorn in a huge pot. This is the first popcorn I've eaten since New Directions used to have our Monday Nite at the Movies and Tara used to bring in a huge bowl for everyone to share.

Neither of us could remember how to make popcorn. We read the directions on the package, spreading lots of olive oil at the bottom of the pot and then adding a layer of kernels.

It took several minutes before we heard the merry sound of pop-pop-POP.

Success! We poured the lot of em into a huge glass bowl and I said, The only thing missing is a great topping. My sister Ellen used to buy this yellow nutritional yeast and we'd put that on our popcorn.

Brewer's yeast, said Scott, opening his cupboard.

Sure enough, it was the same yeast as ole Ellie used to buy. I sampled it with my finger.

This is NOT brewer's yeast, I said. Brewer's yeast is different. It has a terrible taste and is used to supplement breads or cereal. This is totally different.

Scott's stubborn so I had to goggle Nutritional Yeast to prove I was right. I still think he doesn't believe me.

Anyway, we put a towel on his bed, and brought up our delicious snack and ate while watching the movie.

The movie was.....simply awful. You couldn't keep the characters straight, there was no plot, and you didn't know who was killing who.

C'mon, Clint, baby, you can do better than that.

But Scott and I were having a blast. We noted the different styles each other had as we hand-shoveled the popcorn into our awaiting mouths. That's part of the fun.

Simple pleasures, that's what we love most.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It IS about the journey and not the goal

The title is a platitude, certainly, but I realized how true it is only today when Marzina and I saw the Ashile Gorky exhibit at the Phila Museum of Art.

We spent the first 20 minutes at the Information Booth getting her eyeglasses fixed. A security guard plus two museum volunteers struggled to do minor surgery over her broken eyeglasses, finally finding the requisite tiny pin and scotch tape to hold her glasses together so she could see. What commendable service from the museum.

How would Gorky himself have painted the scene? I can visualize it now.

I won't go too much into the amazing life story of Gorky, which is bracketed by his horrid childhood where his Armenian family was on a forced march during the Turk's genocide of the Armenians, and his beloved mother dying in his arms of starvation. A famous painting of the two of them is in the exhibition. Gorky's life in between the horrors was a very good one which included many teaching posts and friendships with the great artists of his time. A self-taught artist, he imitated the seminal contemporary artists such as Cezanne, Picasso, Leger,and then after satisfying himself with his education, became truly himself.

Gorky is a pseudonym after the great Russian writer who had also taken a pseudonym.

At the end of his life tragedy struck in many horrible ways. He ended up dying by his own hand at age 44 in the year 1948.

Here on my desk I have the purple clip-on pin from the Art Museum. I love souvenirs like this. I made two collages from my November trip to Europe so I could remember my experiences. Hung on the living room wall is the huge slate-gray shopping bag from La Pedrera, the apartment dwelling designed by Gaudi, plus lots of ticket stubs and cuttings from museum catalogs.

The gunpowder paintings of Cai Guo-Quiang hung in the corridor of a faraway gallery. Overhead hung his 99 Golden Boats radiating light. Here's a short video about Cai.

Being in the Presence of Greatness, whether in the form of artists in a museum, or outdoors in the greatness of nature, is something I think every human being should aspire to.

Our journey to the art museum concluded by walking to Marzina's car in the lower parking lot. Upon exiting the building, we were greeted by a vast panorama. The distant Schuylkill River was an inviting blue, a gazebo winked on our left, careful going down the steps, Ruthie, you don't wanna trip and go boom!, oh, so many steps, littered with salt, but then I must look up at the vista, I thank Marzina for taking me to the museum.

On the way home, I stopped off at Mom's. The woman is deluding herself that she's gonna move out. But so what? I always said, Stay in your house until you die. We all have certain delusions. Mine is that I'll actually finish my novel.

When I left, a man was walking his dog. He didn't look up to say hello. This is a hallmark in her neighborhood. Very unfriendly. Well, I was not in a hurry, so as I descended down the snow-covered grass to my car, I called out, "What a cute dog!"

Great conversation breaker. I'll teach that when I run my Connexions Group. It's sooo important to connect with other people.

I had a 15-minute conversation with Dmytro and stopped to pet Puccini every so often. Dmytro is a music teacher, among other things, and belongs to 4 different choruses. He's also webmaster at his Ukrainian church in Jenkintown. His dog was wearing a little black coat with a pocket in it.

What dyou suppose is in that pocket? A love letter?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reality vs The Image

Dig this! Only yesterday the snow surprised us when we woke up, then continued its gentle descent from the skies. I usually crack open my front door to watch the swirling flakes and smell the snowy skies. Then I mosey over to my computer and check the Times. They had a photo essay on snowiness in the Bklyn Botanical Gardens.

Here I was, sitting at my dining room computer, watching images of the snow on a flat nondimensional screen while the REAL THING was right outside my window just about the most glorious sight you can imagine.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Great people, food, music and conversation

These are a few of my favorite things from my New Years' weekend in NY:

- Dinner at Sarah's. One of the 9 guests was jazz critic Stanley Crouch who gave me an autographed copy of his novel Don't the Moon Look Lonesome.

He knows e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e!

- After a dinner which featured grilled sea bass, coconut rice, shaved brussels sprout salad, and truffle oiled honey toasts on my challah, the lights dimmed and Sarah came in singing Happy Birthday. Yep, it was my 64th, or in Biblical time, my 981st birthday. Stanley said he'd also turned 64 in December and I said, Gee, I've never met a 64-yo before.

- Since I don't drink, I had sips of everyone's wine and mixed drinks. I love booze! Does this count as drinking? I slept like Rip Van Winkle and sure enuf, my beard was fulsome when I woke up in the morning.

- Lying in bed and reading myself to sleep with Sarah and Ethan's books, such as essays by Jonathan Ames including Jesus Christ Doesn't Sound Like a Jewish Name, a laugh-outloud book. Some people use the expression "It's a hoot!" but I can't stand that expression.

- Going to the Brooklyn Museum with Ethan (Sarah was working out at the gym). We stuck together and saw the entire 350 watercolor paintings of the Frenchman James Tissot, the life and death of Jesus Christ. We were enraptured. We actually took a vote at Sarah's dinner party on whether or not we believed in God. We did it with thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Stanley thought it was childish and refused to p'pate. It was a hoot!

- The wind that tried to lift us into the air and smash us to the ground. Unbelievably cold and windy when we left the museum. It was actually a thrill to feel so buffeted by mother nature and feel her power.

- Hearing Ethan and The Bad Plus play at the Village Vanguard. Wa-hoo! Brilliant. Someone named them one of the Top Ten Jazz Bands. After they finished their set they came over to say hello. I felt Dave King's tattoos on his arms and asked about his kids Otis and Ella. These are nice people.

- Reunion with Scott after I got home. We always miss each other when I'm gone. You might say It's a Love Supreme, the album I just bought today by John Coltrane. I do love my jazz.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our Saturday Writers' Group / Poem: A Cold Bracing Swim over Death

Good turnout. We pull together tables at the Weinrich Bakery coffeeshop, order our drinks, and do our thing. Mary had a jelly doughnut. She has beautiful blue eyes that cannot see. She remembers huge parcels of our poetry and then comments on it.

I was a bit nervous cuz I was going to NY later in the day and had to leave at 3:30 exactimento. As moderator, I hurried things along but all 8 of us had a chance to read, including our newcomer Paddy Marie, a former English teacher.

Paddy mentioned that the Weinrich matriarch was on the premises. I'd met her son Stephen who runs the shop - bakery and coffeeshop - but I'd never met his mom. We called her over to our table, we all introduced ourselves. Catherine "Kippie" Weinrich is orig. from Atlantic City. She has 5 sons. She and our writer Judy, who also grew up in AC, were discussing people and places there, a veritable Monopoly game.

Today Mrs. Weinrich lives in a house in Wyncote, a famous house for a bad reason.

The prior owner was murdered in the house. Our Linda knew all about it. If I didn't have to make a train to NY, I would've learned all about the coldblooded murder.


always I remembered the pool
cold winds blew on deck
I drew my shawl close
glanced at the pool
not long
shy as a lover
I’d swim her by the end of the week
but not today
too cold
my flesh quailed

an aging fading beauty
my life mostly spent
must do one last swim
perhaps to die while breasting the waves

Beatles music blared from hidden speakers
the passengers must not be allowed to think
must be entertained and numbed for seven straight days
it took to create the earth or
the ship’s curriculum

I found freedom on the deck
away all servants! and waiters hovering!
let me feel frigid and alone
let me feel helpless and afraid
let me lay my own nightgown upon the coverlet

the pool, they said, was salty as
the silken mediterranean that flowed below
and kept us afloat
a thousand of us who
thought not of mutiny but
did the modern things
people on cruises do
I wrote in my diary some
thanked Medron, our bowlegged servant
kissed my grown daughter goodnight
and told her of my love
thinking all the while of
pool and my deathdefying swim

dropped my robe upon the deck
stood alone beneath the flags
I was all alone
beneath a cold blue sky
and if there was a moon
I never saw it
as I lowered myself down the ladder
trembling with cold and fear and need
my legs remembered what to do
as I kicked off from the pool
ears submerged
the cold wrapped me in the moon goddess’s embrace
white and shiny
a Grace Kelly glove
taking me across the pool
coming alive
and felt the pain and the sadness
the needles of being alive
in the salty salt water of life.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bipolar Notes

Did you know the great jazz pianist Thelonius Monk had bipolar disorder? Another luminary who shares our illness.

The NY Times published an obit yesterday of Ruth Lilly, great-granddaughter of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly (1838-1898). She died at age 94. Ironically Ruth suffered from intractable depression that was only lifted by the invention of Prozac by the Lilly Company. Read about Eli Lilly's fascinating life here. Eli Lilly fostered a tradition of tremendous philanthropic work.

Eli Lilly also manufactures one of the best drugs for schizophrenia - olanzepine or Zyprexa. Did you know that Einstein's son suffered from schizophrenia? Here's a list of famous people with schizophrenia.