If anyone ever told you that you were anything less than wonderful—they lied.
—ALL STORMS PASS: RAIN AND FIRE
This book offers ways to soothe the suffering and liberate them, if they are willing to face their demons.
As with the first book, Benoit presents verses he calls “anti-meditations” (which are the same as meditations, only different). RAIN AND FIRE continues to riff on therapeutic themes of recovery, addiction, self-help, and personal spirituality. A former psychotherapist with extensive 12-Step Recovery knowhow, Benoit proposes that these anti-meditations may occasionally serve as puzzles—jumping off places for discussion, self-assessment, or prayer.
As a philosopher and poet, Benoit strikes a balance between his own truths and universal truths. Yes, he went through the Valley of the Shadow, but he points out that his experiences are not unique. The question ultimately is not necessarily how can we avoid trauma, but how can we flourish in spite of it?
RAIN AND FIRE’S hybrid of searing poetry, confessional naked rage and heartfelt love is tempered with popup humor that keeps the reader smiling through tears while turning pages. Instead of titles, the meditations have subject-oriented headlines such as:
“When will it be success and how will I know it when it gets here?”
“Today, I will admit that sometimes BEING STUCK IS A CHOICE”
“Today, I will accept that LIFE is not an ALFRED HITCHCOCK MOVIE”
“There comes a time when no matter where you've been and no matter what you've been through, you have to MOVE FORWARD anyway”
And my personal favorite:
I will WALK MY DOG -
no matter what else is
Even Benoit’s Dedication starts out with a smile:
For my Auntie Cia,In a poignant, highly personal passage, the author reveals that after writing the first book, he suffered a physical and mental breakdown that was eventually diagnosed as severe vertigo—a health crisis that ended his progress for a time, except in the arena of healing, which eventually did happen.
my Mom and Dad
and the Tall Dark Stranger
I thought might bury me
in the basement.
Benoit does not attempt to offer readers magical solutions received from On High, but supplies aid as a fellow traveler who has come many times to a crossroads that asks him to choose between Light and Darkness, and he continues to choose Light.
I highly recommend this book to advocates of 12-Step Recovery and those who wish to learn more about it; seekers of recovery from trauma or life itself; spiritual seekers; and poetry lovers.
Author: Luke Benoit
Publisher: Luke Benoit
Publication Date: May 27, 2021
Paperback: 346 pages $17.95
Available on Amazon
On Friday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. Sherry Glaser will read/sign her new book, “The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People: Making the Best of Mental Illness” (co-written with her late mother, Shelly Glaser) at Gallery Bookshop, 319 Kasten Street, Mendocino, Calif. 95460.
|Authors Shelly Glaser (L) and Sherry Glaser (R)|
On Friday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m., the Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, Calif. will host author and award-winning performance artist Sherry Glaser’s book launch of "The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]," which was co-written with her late mother, Shelly Glaser.
Sherry will be on hand to read and sign the book; and discuss related topics, including her mother’s determination to transcend her severe mental illness diagnosis; the impact of parental mental illness on children who may fear inheriting "craziness;" and what it’s like to co-write a book with a parent who is deceased.
Mother's Milk Publications released the book in paperback on Sept. 6. The handbook came out in Kindle e-book format last month, and garnered stellar reader reviews. Radio journalist Christina Aanestad called it “a unique testament to the human spirit and a touching memoir to Sherry's late mother, who lived a full life with a mental illness, gaining a law degree, managing a company, and raising a family—all while going crazy.”
“Years after my mother died, I came across this manuscript she’d written entitled ‘The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People,’” said Sherry Glaser in a phone interview with journalist Marlan Warren. “I was struck by how honest she was in sharing her own journey and her down-to-earth tips for others who may also be struggling.”
In 2015, Sherry decided to pick up where her mother left off—polishing Shelly Glaser’s manuscript, while adding her own harrowing ‘herstory.’ In the book’s section, “Sherry: The Sequel,” Sherry recounts her rollercoaster life which has run the gamut from celebrated performance artist (her award-winning Off-Broadway show “Family Secrets” still holds the title of “The Longest Running One-Woman Show in Off-Broadway History”) to the mysterious disappearance of her husband to pot advocacy (and SWAT arrest) to lesbian marriage and divorce. Like her mother, Sherry shares the tools she uses to keep straitjackets at bay.
Clinical psychologist Lauren J. Oliver commented in an Amazon review: “It is inspiring to experience a clear-voiced woman who is committed to self-healing and being well, and who uses many practical and valuable tools to do so.”
The book also features Shelly Glaser’s “Companion Questionnaire,” which serves as an interactive workbook to help readers “avoid making uninformed choices.”
Sherry Glaser created “The First Practical Blog for Crazy People” and on Aug. 22, posted:
“We don't know what's next, but if we know where we're coming from, and that there are practical tools ready and available, we can learn to crawl and walk and run and eventually...fly.”
Book Launch Location:
319 Kasten Street
Mendocino, CA 95460
Phone: (707) 937-2665
Gallery Bookshop Website:
Media Kit: http://sherryglasermediakit.blogspot.com/
Title: The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]
Authors: Shelly Glaser with Sherry Glaser
Genre: Psychology & Counseling Mental Illness/Self-Help
Publisher: Mother's Milk Publications
Paperback: Pub. Sept. 6, 2016 Kindle E-Book: Pub. Aug. 4, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-692-76460-2 (90 pages) ASIN: B01JTMPELO (File Size: 308 KB)
Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Glaser/e/B001KE31AG
Book Blog: http://www.thefirstpracticalblogsforcrazypeople.com/
As a Clinical Psychologist, I am deeply impressed with the wisdom and determination emergent in The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People. Rare and inspiring to meet and experience a clear-voiced woman who is committed to self-healing and being well, and uses many practical and valuable tools to do so. This is what psychology should be: tools and knowledge for Every Person to inquire, investigate, experiment, understand and so heal herself and the world around her.
Sherry Glaser, brilliant comedic playwright, activist, world lover, and a “chip off the matriarch” has coauthored with her mom Shelly this practical booklet to guide the everyday search for greater consciousness and inner peace. Shelly shares cultivated practices for dealing with “the Crazy” that will serve anyone in our society. The gratitude, joy and revelry in self-love inspired in the reader is phenomenal. Read it! You’ll use it!
As a teacher & practitioner of clinical psychology, I have not seen a better set/compendium of tools to understand and deal with the emotional roller coaster resulting from abuse suffered in childhood that has a “fracturing effect on your being”. Find herein tried-and-true practices for mental health and conscious awareness, to help you and me deal with “the Crazy” world we live in. I admire this courageous writer who, up against grave and forgotten trauma, determined to live her life with joy.
It is my experience after working with some of the most diagnostically mentally ill people on the planet during the last 40 years that in some fundamental way they may be the healthiest amongst us. Consider, if we can live in denial or in upset, who is closest to the truth? — Lauren J. Oliver, Clinical Psychologist
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
By Marlan Warren:
The Mother-Daughter Continuum
Continuum: noun (kƒn-tin'yoo- ƒm): A continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct, e.g., at the fast end of the fast-slow continuum.
--The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]
In the self-help tradition of Louise Hay’s New Thought books (“Heal Your Life”), comes The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]. It not only features tips from mental patient, Shelly Glaser, but the twist is that this handbook was not only posthumously published, but co-written with her daughter—award-winning performance artist and author, Sherry Glaser—after Shelly died.
Years after her mother’s death (hastened by the side effects of anti-psychotic medications), Sherry Glaser came across the manuscript in rough draft (with this title) and felt inspired to finish it, adding her own story—which included deep fear of inheriting mental illness— and delineating the tools she uses to transcend that dread and keep herself sane.T
True to its title, this book offers practical step-by-step tools made so simple that anyone could try them and not feel overwhelmed by the prospect. They include meditation, the mind-body connection and the “exotic” (for the more adventurous).
Each Glaser has walked through her own mental hell. Each tells her hair-raising story (in the elder Glaser’s case, literally, as she endured numerous electroshock treatments) with eloquence and wry humor.
The book opens with Mama Glaser’s life story. Along the way, she stops to explain what worked for her, what didn’t work for her, and encourages all seekers to make their own decisions as they explore options for recovery. How do you choose a therapist? Should you get electroshock treatments? Shelly lays out the choices without pushing. She does not try to sell herself as an expert on anything but her own experiences. Her direct honesty and plain talk give an insider look into how mental illness can be bravely borne with a strong will to heal whatever can be healed. Shelly Glaser could be your mother, your sister, your daughter…your peer. And her resilience inspires.
Then “The Mother-Daughter Continuum” swings into focus as Sherry tells her side, creating a link between their “herstories” that resonates beyond the grave.
It’s no surprise that Sherry Glaser puts “Creativity” at the top of her list of mental health lifesavers. She came to New York fame with her one-woman show, Family Secrets, which still holds the title of the Longest-Running One-Woman Show in Off-Broadway History. In 2015, her Oh My Goddess!: A Comedy of Biblical Proportions won the Best Avant-Garde award at New York's United Solo Festival.
In the section entitled Sherry: The Sequel, she recounts her rollercoaster life without a trace of self-pity or morbid self-reflection. Sherry reveals herself to be a dedicated activist against war and for cannabis legalization, who was devastated by the sudden disappearance of her husband, which remains an unsolved mystery to this day. Add to that lesbian marriage/divorce and arrest by a SWAT team, and it seems a wonder she is not in a straitjacket.
And speaking of straitjackets…
The cover features a black man smiling beatifically…in a straitjacket. How did this cover come to grace the Mother-Daughter Continuum’s first handbook? Sherry explains before she even gets to page 1. Hint: Her mother was behind it.
No alternative tool is left unturned. Mother and daughter offer two different viewpoints on the topic of electroshock therapy vs. medical cannabis. Actually, one left something out of her story in this regard, and the other one put it back in. Hint: Sherry Glaser is a founding member of the Love In It Co-op, a medical marijuana dispensary in Mendocino, California.
With its Companion Questionnaire that is designed to be used in a Clinical Psychology classroom as a workbook, but is user-friendly enough for a more casual setting, The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People serves as a useful, calming addition to anyone’s mental health library.
And for those of us whose parents struggled with the horrors of mental illness, this book does its best to empower us by removing the stigma of “crazy,” and replacing it with the hope that we can move through healing and serenity, no matter whose genes we inherited.
The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People is a wonderful resource for
everyone who is ready to let go of of labeling themselves as “mentally ill.” This creative, mother/daughter, duo speaks to the truth in all of our lives--We’ve all been wounded and we’re all recovering. The old model of separating sick from healthy, crazy from sane, no longer works. We are all on this earth to love and accept ourselves. This book is the perfect gift for anyone who is on the path of healing and is ready for the support and guidance of two “crazy ladies” who speak the truth.
--Jed Diamond, PhD, author of
The Practical Handbook for Crazy People will make you laugh and cry with personal narratives about going crazy, coming back and lessons learned. Shelly and Sherry Glaser, a mother-daughter duo, share their insights and tips on how to successfully manage mental illness and stress in every day life. It's a testament to the human spirit and a touching memoir to Sherry's late mother, Shelly, who lived a full life with a mental illness, gaining a law degree, managing a company, and raising a family-all while going crazy. Here, they offer their secrets to success in a sweet and simple book of advice that crazy and not-so-crazy people can utilize. It is a reminder and how-to guide to find the silver lining in life's everyday struggles and experiences.
—Christina Aanestad, Radio Journalist (KPFA)
Sherry and Shelly Glaser team up to bring an amazing work on living with mental illness. In her lifetime the elder Ms. Glaser compiled a wealth of strategies and tools that allowed her to live her best life. She offer them all to you, so that you can also live your best life.--Lasara Firefox Allen, author of Jailbreaking the Goddess: A Radical Revisioning of Feminist Spirituality [Teacher and Coach living with bipolar disorder]
My mother, Rochelle (Shelly) Lillian Hassan Glaser, was born on September 6, 1939, in the Bronx. Her mother and father were mentally incompetent. Her father had suffered brain damage as a child, and her mother had some kind of a delusional disorder that made her vulnerable to sick perversions. My mother was subjected to horrors that no human being, let alone a four year old, should ever experience. After appearing in court and testifying against her mother (who consequently was committed to a mental hospital for the rest of her life) my mother became a ward of the New York City foster care system until she was sixteen years old.
Finally reunited with her sister in the Bronx, Shelly found some solace from strangers, yet still had to navigate the unpredictable eruptions of a cruel grandmother. Despite all these insurmountable obstacles, my mother found JOY. Whether on the rooftops of Bronx high rises singing Fiddler on the Roof with her sister or falling in love with my father at a friend’s engagement party in Brooklyn in 1959, my mother had a gift. She could always look on the bright side.
She did, however, have a “nervous breakdown” in 1964, and began her journey through the revolving doors of mental hospitals. Still, she raised her children, was gainfully employed and stayed married to my father until he died in 1997.
Even though her mental instability scared me, I also found her to be mystical and magical, and in touch with invisible forces. She had insights and the ability to distill her suffering into poetry and playwrighting, while channeling love and compassion. All this made her a brilliant being. My mother was illuminated. It comes as no surprise to me that genius and crazy are so close to each other on the spectrum.
This handbook is a distillation of my mother’s quest for sanity. Her biggest fear was being crazy. So she spent over forty years devising a system to not only exist, but thrive, be joyful and creative and avoid the “Crazy.”
Eventually, she found creative outlets for her more “exotic” side. She even found a niche talking to the dead and delivering comforting messages to their living loved ones. Lots of friends and neighbors relied on her special talents and accepted her unusual ways.
My mother died in February 2010 of kidney failure, but she had sworn an oath to finish this book before she died. In helping her complete her goal, I was able to spend time with my mom as I edited this handbook, and combine our wisdom and experience.
Although it was my hereditary predisposition to go “crazy” like my mother and her mother before her, the chain was broken with me as I took myself into a journey of selfdiscovery and creative expression that has helped me stay sane against all odds.
I hope this book will help anyone who struggles with the notion of “crazy” to find peace of mind and creative outlets that can relieve the pressures of living life.
Author: Gail Noble-Sanderson
Publisher: Green Darner Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: October 2015
Author Website | http://gailnoblesanderson.com
Contact | Publicist | Marlan Warren | firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Facebook | gailnoblesandersonauthor
Goodreads Author Page | Gail Noble Sanderson
Seattle, WA—Kari Hock, Managing Editor of Seattle’s Green Darner Press, has announced plans to release Gail Noble-Sanderson’s “The Lavender House in Meuse” in October of this year. The novel charts the post-war course of healing taken by a young nurse traumatized by her tragic experiences at the Front during World War I.
“This book will fill an important niche often overlooked in fiction and non-fiction: how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affected nurses in our First World War,” said Hock. “Military nurses still suffer this syndrome, making the topic more relevant than ever.”
“Freedom seldom takes us where we thought we were going.”
—The Lavender House in Meuse
Set in France, “The Lavender House in Meuse” traces the journey of Marie Durant Chagall from girlhood to adulthood; from her comfortable home in Marseille with her father and sister to the Front where she pursues her need for independence and service as a young woman; and finally to an inherited, rather isolated, country home by the Meuse River (surrounded by soothing lavender fields) where she seeks to heal, through solitude and nature, from trauma suffered in a bomb attack on her medical facility at The Front. She is not alone for long and soon finds herself caring for recovering soldiers in her new home while trying to process their pain and her own in this post-war setting.
Although the novel will be categorized as “Historical Fiction,” Noble-Sanderson has reason to believe the events actually happened, and the characters portrayed once lived. During a recent interview with book news blogger Marlan Warren (Roadmap Girl’s Book Buzz), Noble-Sanderson stated: “I believe all the characters, settings, dialogue and details are memories.”
Noble-Sanderson went on to explain that she can be in the middle of traffic, watering her garden, doing laundry or fishing on a lake, and “I will remember events, clearly ‘hear’ dialogue, and see the setting vividly in my mind.”
The Seattle-based author added: “I take advantage of those times when the flow of the story—the memories—are most vivid. Then I edit and hone the writing.”
When asked if she intended the story to be “anti-war,” Noble-Sanderson replied that acts of wartime atrocities always result in “wounds and deaths of many sorts, and scars that continue to fester and alter the character of our lives in countless ways.”
“Ultimately I hope readers will come away with an expanded understanding of what life was like for nurses in World War I,” said Noble-Sanderson. “And what the trauma of war can do to an individual, and to a nation, both culturally and emotionally.”
For more info and the full interview:
Sanderson-Noble will present and sign “The Lavender House in Meuse” at Village Books in Bellingham, Wash. in early November. An October launch event is also being planned at a location to be announced.
Author Event Info:
1200 11th Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
Green Darner Press
9600 Stone Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98103
THE LAVENDER HOUSE IN MEUSE
In great pain, I sat up and looked round in the complete darkness. Overcast and extremely cold, no stars illuminated the space around me. The darkness was a gift for which I cried grateful tears. I knew I was in shock. I felt no discomfort in my legs and thinking I might attempt to stand, I found them not willing to assist in any manner as pain ripped through my body. My arms worked and helped me to a sitting position but that lasted only a minute or so. Dizzy from the effort, I laid down on my back and turned my head from side to side in an attempt to see what was left of us all and our makeshift hospital. I could see nothing. Even as my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw no tents, no equipment, no one about to come and help. No one. The sound of my own weeping joined the chorus of the wounded I knew were all around me. Some of us had survived.