More lessons from my writing life


Last night, I gave a talk at Bookworks in Albuquerque, NM.  I learned three (3) things: 1) That it’s exciting to see my name on a marquis; 2) That there’s at least one other person who understands the clinical importance of culture; and, 3) Perhaps people like having a blind eye towards Depression and would prefer to remain blind.


Seeing my name on the marquis was a rush.  I realize that I’ll never be famous in this lifetime, but I think seeing my name in big, black letter cast against a lit backdrop provided me with one brief glance into a life where my writing and work matters.  Editors have told me that, since I’m a “nobody,” no one is going to care about how I overcame Depression.  Maybe those editors were right, but in that moment of seeing my name cast for everyone to see made me feel like a real author.


In spite of the marquis, or perhaps because of Mardi Gras, only one person showed up to hear me read and discuss Depression.  It was cool, though.  He was an older gentleman who had worked on Indian Reservations in North Dakota for several years.  He went to the reading because he wanted to hear how I use the “Aztlan” consciousness to treat substance abuse disorders.  I talked with him and a Bookworks employee for about an hour.  Mostly we talked about alcoholism and suicide and how it appears that they become a genetically-coded manifestations within a group of people.  We also agreed that treating these heinous social and health issues requires a cultural approach.  That is, in order to reach people, we must do so from within their meaning systems and language and not from an externally-prescribed approach.   I was glad that there’s at least one clinician who truly understands the clinical significance of culture.


As we wrapped things up for the night, my audience-of-one said, “You know, I’m actually really surprised that no one else showed up.  It was good information.”

I said, “Me too.  You know, it’s confusing to me why more people aren’t interested.  This book can really help people learn the importance of their own narrative in living a healthier life.  The topics about which I talk, Depression and Addiction, are two of the most important social ills we face.  I figured people would want to learn more about them.”

He chuckled and then said, “I think maybe people really don’t want to know.  They like keeping their heads buried.” We said good bye on that note.  But, I’m afraid he may be right: Unless people have had to face Addiction/Depression/Anxiety, I believe that ehy want to keep those things as far away from their life as possible.  They don’t want to hear that these pathologies are real and need resources.  But, I warn those who won’t listen: Unless we all come together, Addiction/Depression/Anxiety will impact everyone.  No one has to come to my talks or buy and read my books; however, those who suffer from Addiction/Depression/Anxiety are real people who are suffering and could use at least a friendly smile.  Ignore me if you choose.  But things will worsen if we don’t begin to see that we are each other’s keeper.

At any rate, last night was fun and, as usual, I learned more than I taught.  Not sure how many more readings/talks I’ll give, but I do appreciate any and all opportunities.  Thank to the good people at Bookworks in Albuquerque, NM.