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FBA Tshirts – Book Tour 2014!

Oh, look! It’s new Flawed but Authentic Tshirts, available for a limited time only, just in time for Heal Something Good‘s debut.

Look how cute and how many varieties there are! You can buy them directly from RedBubble.

Pre-Orders will get a Tshirt for *FREE!* (Choice of Floral or Plain design. See Details below.)

Flawed But Authentic Tshirts

We purchased some of Joe‘s design of the surfing bear California flag last Christmas and I can tell you that the Tshirts from RedBubble are well made and the screen-printing is stellar.

Details: The free Tshirts will be done in one bulk order, most likely in May/June. They will be grey Tshirts in either Male w/Plain design or Female w/Floral design sizes S to 2X. Pre-Order a copy of Heal Something Good here.

Pre-Order Heal Something Good

Heal Something Good BookYou guys. I’m oh-so-close to being done with Heal Something Good, the book I’ve been working on for the past three years.

This has been a labor of love. My last book, Not Otherwise Specified, was such a deep journey of mental discovery that I would never call it “Light” or “Nurturing.” I mean, the subject matter includes suicide attempts and graphic material. It’s an important book for what it is and I continue to get letters of appreciation from people who have found it helpful on their own journeys, which is why I leave it up and available.

But. But! Heal Something Good is light and nurturing and full of joy. It’s educational and fun. I’ve enjoyed every moment of writing and putting it together. Who knew learning about supporting our whole body in healing could be so fun?!

I was asked the other day if my new book was *just* for someone healing from chronic illness or *just* someone healing from mental illness and the answer is an emphatic no.

Show me someone who doesn’t have some physical, emotional or mental healing to attend to and I’ll show you someone who is an imaginary person. Life happens and during that “happens” we encounter all kinds of things that damage us. And surprise! It’s all connected inside us. Our emotions are connected to our body systems are connected to our mental well-being is connected to our emotions. (See what I did there?)

Heal Something Good hits on all that and more. If you have experienced life, I dare say you’ll find it helpful.

Pre-Orders get 25% off the book price plus a free hour of mentoring PLUS a book mark inked & water-colored by yours truly. Today is a great day to pre-order!

The image below was taken just the other day when the sun was out and tapping me on the shoulder and whispering in my ear and I was thinking about you, how happy I feel and how I want to tell you all about it.

Leah Peterson

Mend it Better Book Giveaway!

WE HAVE A WINNER

Thanks to everyone who entered!


Congrats, Jerusalem. I’m emailing you now.
xo









Want to win a copy? See below!

Kristin Roach has written this adorable book called Mend it Better. (Publisher, Storey Publishing) And I’m in it!

The book has full-page color photos and easy to read, step-by-step instructions:

I first met Kristin when I asked her to participate in a craft panel at Blogher in ’07 that I moderated. I wanted her to be a part of it because of her passion of reusing and finding new ways to look at waste and crafting.

Part of her creative journey, which she recounts in the book, is receiving many of her Grandmother’s sewing and craft supplies. It’s a beautiful story. I love how Kristin takes something like patching your clothing, which some people might find embarrassing, and turns it into something not only practical, but beautiful. Wear your patches with pride, indeed!

If you’re into sewing, great writing, inspiration and information, this book is for you.

Check out the Mend it Better website. Want to win your own copy? Leave a comment with your favorite color. Winner to be chose at random. Ends Friday the 16th at midnight, PST.

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbooks Giveaway

Time’s Up! The winners are Katie and Christine. Thank you to everyone for playing!

The good people from the Worst-Case Scenario series have sent me some books to give away. These books are pretty fun. They have useful information in them targeted to a certain group a well as lots of humor. The day I got them, my boys pulled out the Life book and read for about an hour over each others shoulders, chuckling and making guy noises. I think that means they enjoyed it. (Check out their website here.)

Today’s giveaway is for the Life book and the Junior Edition book.

Life

Bigfoot Sighting

Remain still. If you are carrying a camera, slowly retrieve it, use manual (not digital) zoom setting and take as many photos at the highest resolution possible. The creature will likely flee quickly once it is aware of your presence. Do not pursue – it may behave unpredictably if chased.

Hands Smell Garlicky

Rub your hands across a stainless-steel utensil under running tap water

Junior Edition

How to Survive a Bad Report Card

If your flattery before handing over the report card is too over-the-top your signer will smell something’s up. Find a medium-sized compliment and give it with a smile. “You look like you’ve lost weight.”

How to Deal with Poo on Your Shoe

Do the Scrap, Scrap, Twist

To win, just leave a comment and tell me which book you’d like and why. Winners will be announced on Monday!

Fan Mail

I rarely reply to or post email here from people that send me hate mail or very strongly worded You Suck mail or You are a Liar mail. I don’t post it because I don’t like to dwell on the negative and I feel like giving them any time on this blog gives it more life of its own and the negativity grows and there are so many other things to write about.

However, I’m making an exception for this one. I feel like it is born out of misunderstanding of what I’ve written or perhaps I didn’t do as good a job of explaining my process or how I navigated DID as I thought I did.

I’d love any feedback you might have on whether I need to go back and rewrite parts of my bio for a better explanation. Of course, if you’ve read my book, you’d know much more about what I did and how I did it, but if you haven’t read it, than maybe my bio doesn’t make sense.

Here is the email with my reply following.

Hello Leah,

I am a 39 year-old woman with D.I.D, and I am a psychiatric social worker who is very well educated on this topic. (Despite the knowledge base I do not treat those with dissociative disorders) I am responding to your biography which you have posted on your web site. I usually don’t comment about such things, but something your wrote leaves me feeling compelled to respond.

You wrote:

“In May, I’m released to the care of my sister and accept the terms of having to attend therapy. The hospital sets up my first appointment and I mistakenly go to see Dr. Clancy who has stopped seeing people with dissociative disorders. After speaking with me for an hour, he decides to make an exception and take me on as a client. He helps me see that my kids may have a use for me in their lives after all. In July, my divorce is final. I complete the integration process.”

You started therapy in May, and you finished the integration process in two months???????

I’m sorry, and I don’t mean any disrespect, but that is total bullshit and a great disservice to those of us who have been working years to overcome the trauma and torment which cased us to be dissociative. You write earlier that you were not aware of some things that you did (sex with strangers). If one is dissociative to the point of losing time, there is NO WAY that in 2 months integration is achieved. That defies explanation and is controverted by ALL of the clinical literature. If you are familiar with treatment of dissociative disorders then you know that this (lengthy and arduous )treatment is done in stages, the first of which often takes YEARS.

I mean no disrespect (although I appreciate that this might be hard to read and not feel disrespected) and I in no way mean to dismiss or downplay your struggles, but integration in 2 months? Am I missing something? How can someone who has been tormented (in an ongoing, severe and unrelenting way) to the point of a dissociative disorder integrate years of trauma and torture in 2 months? That’s ridiculous. Either you didn’t have a dissociative disorder or you are full of shit.

Wow. Pretty strong. I would have appreciated a more inquiring type of email as opposed to an accusatory one, but I don’t get to choose what kind of people are going to take issue with me, so there you go.

In my bio I write about how during 1990 thru 1995 I went through years of therapy and I worked towards integration during the times I (Leah) was aware of what was happening. Also, in the 2001 year I write about getting serious about getting well and journaling from all the personalities perspectives. That was all work towards integration as well. By the time I met Dr. Clancy, I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. And I did it because all my personalities were on the same page and wanted the same thing. I can give you Dr. Clancy’s info if you’d like to contact him regarding my process, although I can’t guarantee he would talk to you even though you say you are a psychiatric social worker. In the foreward to my book he tells how things happened with him and that is was highly unusual for us to reach integration so quickly.

I suppose I could make it more clear in my bio and make sure and use the phrases ‘towards integration’ and such, but I like it the way it reads now and don’t feel compelled to change it because someone I don’t know and have never corresponded with and have no way of knowing who they are tells me I’m full of bullshit.

One thing I’ve learned writing my new book and doing research for the work I do on Tara is that no two people’s experience of DID is the same. Everyone has their own sets of experiences that made them that way and their own sets of solutions they come up with to cope. Some people go to therapy their whole life, never to work through what happened. Some people become integrated. And some people go through things faster than others. I would not ever tell someone that their experience is bullshit because it is different than mine. I’ve met too many people with their own stories.

Thank you for sharing your perspective.
Have a nice day.

Interview, Josh Bazell, Beat the Reaper

Catch Josh at Book Soup this Thursday, 3/26/2009 at 7:00 pm!

Synopsis:
Hitman Pietro Brwna enters the Witness Protection Program and becomes Peter Brown, an emergency room doctor. A Mafia associate from his past ends up in the hospital on his shift and turns his entire protected life upside down. Packed with medical information and footnotes, the story of Peter’s past and the story of his present intersect beautifully during his last 8 hours at the hospital. Beat the Reaper is Josh Bazell’s first novel.

jb_self_port

First, I should tell you that I was completely surprised at how much I liked Beat the Reaper. I’m not much for thriller/action-type novels, but, seriously, from about page two I was completely hooked. And although the ending was one of the most disgusting and painful endings I’ve ever read, I enjoyed it and I will never forget it. That’s what you’re looking for in a good book, eh?

Josh Bazell has a unique writing voice that reminds you of an old, gritty 40s detective movie. Some scenes get to the point so quick with limited dialog that you are taken off guard (and maybe disappointed they didn’t linger longer…) and some have a twist and you can’t believe you just read what you read. But, in all cases, Josh made the right decision on how he worked the story and I’m eagerly looking forward to the second installment of Pietro Brwna’s story.

Josh Bazell came to San Francisco for the hospitals about three years ago. (Did I forget to mention he’s also a doctor?) He’s single (ahem) except for his Boston terrier, Lottie. On the average day you’ll find him sitting around in a Tshirt and doing all the usual human stuff like drink beer, speed race and herb window box gardening (I may have made those last two up) and listening to “America,” by Spinal Tap; a demo version of “Birthday,” by the Sugarcubes; “Wrecking Ball” by Emmylou Harris; and “Gypsy Eyes,” by Hendrix.

How much of you is in Pietro? What’s your favorite characteristic of his?

What I like most about Pietro is that he’s always looking for ways to be moral that don’t require innocence. I’d like to think I do that too, but I definitely don’t put as much energy into it as he does.

Sex can be a difficult thing for people to write well and not indulge into porno-land. Was it hard for you to write the sex scenes?

I didn’t really think about it. I grew up on books like Jaws, that had tons of sex in them. So to me it would feel unnatural to write an entire novel in which the characters don’t think about or have sex, or they do but I can’t be bothered to mention it. Granted, asexuality (or rather the confinement of sex in fiction to pornography) is the trend. Remember when young adult fiction meant Judy Blume and Lois Duncan, and was read by kids? Someone should write a young adult novel called I Am Disappointed In and Afraid Of Sex, so that adults who read young adult fiction in public won’t have to worry about people not getting the message.

Part of the book is set in Russia. Have you been to Russia? Is it in your family roots?

Some of my ancestors were from there. I’ve never been. Russian history reminds me of the alleged Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” I’m hoping to get a chance to visit when Beat the Reaper comes out there.

Who is your target audience with Beat the Reaper? What kind of response have you received?

I try to spend as little time as possible thinking along these lines, but I tend to feel that people’s responses to books are so personal and idiosyncratic that pretty much anyone who reads Beat the Reaper deserves my appreciation. If they’re entertained by it and/or can relate to it, obviously that’s a good thing, but if they loathe it that’s strangely entertaining as well. I don’t know why. It’s infantile.

How did you do research for the Hitman part of the story?

I read every memoir I could find by people who have been through the Federal Witness Relocation Program. There are a lot of them, and they’re difficult to read because they’re poorly written and often morally repellent. But if you’re looking for sordid, they’ll give you sordid.

lottie_kiss

Did you learn anything at Brown that has become invaluable in your writing?

My attitude toward my writing education at Brown varies. I read a lot of books there and got time to write, and I met people who took literature seriously. On the other hand, the writing workshops I took there never discussed structure, or any other concern beyond the “quality of prose” on the page. And there were no classes at all on long-form writing, which is what I’ve always been interested in. Since structural rules are easier to learn than style, and since the idea of structure has been so tarnished by bad screenwriting instruction, I understand not spending a lot of class time on it. But some would have been nice.

The business side of health care you describe is almost too hard to read and sickening. How much of that is the truth from your experience and how much has been fictionalized? If you were God, (I’m not saying you aren’t) what would you do to change things?

Clearly the U.S. healthcare system is in trouble, since it’s crazily expensive and primarily serves the interests of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and (to a smaller but real degree) personal industry industries.

Just as clearly, to fix it (and a lot of other things) we probably need for legislators to not take money from the industries they’re supposed to regulate. Tom Daschle was taking more money from for-profit “health care” corporations than he would have made working 60 hours a week as a general practitioner. And if he hadn’t cheated on his taxes he would now be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Is the part in the book about the Auschwitz connection to Aventis, Agfa, BASF, and Bayer actually true? If it is true, I feel so dirty.

It is true: check it out here.

What impresses me about these companies is their foresight in predicting how quickly world anti-Semitism would rebound after WWII, and how easily they could therefore sell an image of the Holocaust as exaggerated and excessively talked about. Worldwide, this is now the popular consensus, though it’s losing ground to feelings (and statements) that the Holocaust never happened at all, or else did but was justified.

I loved and hated the character Skinflint about equally. You’ve written him in a way that defies someone to not feel compassion for him. How do you feel about him?

It’s pretty much a hate the sin and love the sinner situation. How can you hate someone too weak to fight his instincts?

The theme of the book is about a person being able to change and getting redemption. Have you experienced that in your own life?

Most people I know spend a lot of time either wanting or trying to change themselves. So yeah — I think most of us like the idea of redemption, and don’t seem to mind the judgment it passes on the lives we’re living now. It’s the tension between satisfaction and ambition.

I was annoyed that the footnotes were there and then I was annoyed that I kept wanting to read what they were and I enjoyed every annoying minute of it. As a writer myself, it seemed like a tricky thing to get right, a kind of hook that you gambled on that paid back in a big way. Were you worried about using them?

Yeah, the footnotes. The idea for them came from formatting the novel almost as an “as told to” memoir. And they turned out to be surprisingly useful, since they represent a subtly different voice (and timeframe) from the central narrator. But they were never necessary. It would have been easy to put the information in them, such as it is, in the text, and I was prepared to do that if either my agent or my editor felt strongly that I should. But they both liked the footnotes, and now I’m stuck using them in my next book because so many people have complained about them. By the way, one of them is intentionally irritating so that you’ll remember the information in it later, and all of them are skippable. (Ed. Note: But, you won’t want to.)

Whose writing style to you love to read?josh

James Ellroy, Joyce Carol Oates, Denis Johnson, Thom Jones. Anybody whose work is really alive.

Any book(s) to recommend?

I almost never do that, because, like I say, books seem so personal. It’s like universally recommending a particular girlfriend or something. I did just read Winter World, by Bernd Heinrich, which is about how woodland animals survive winter, and I really liked it. It’s observational biology in the style of Konrad Lorenz. It’s beautiful, and it makes you feel like you just spent a weekend in the country.

If you are 80 and living your dream life, what is it?

I really need to nail that down. It’s probably really helpful.

What interview question(s) are you so tired of answering and how many did I ask you?

The really bad ones only come from people who haven’t read the book. They’re all variations on “I haven’t read the book I’m interviewing you about. Please relieve my anxiety and embarrassment about that, and also entertain me.”

Thanks, Josh!

True Mom Confessions

I have an essay, a confessay, if you will, in the book True Mom Confessions coming in early April. It started as a website created by my friend Romi and grew from there. It’s nice to sometimes have an anonymous place to put your innermost secrets that you can’t tell anyone in real life.

I’m pretty proud of my contribution to this book. I think this essay is one of the best things I’ve ever written.

Sunday Sunday SUNDAY

This Sunday night is the premiere of The United States of Tara on Showtime. At 10pm, I will be surrounded by family and friends and watch as a series on television tries to bring awareness to the illness I’ve struggled with since the age of four. Writing that makes me want to jump up and scream in excitement and call everyone I know and cry in relief and crawl into the fetal position from anxiety and suck my thumb all at the same time.

Along with the voices of support, I’ve had emails and a few comments from people in the DID community that are angry at the writers of the series and angry and disappointed in me for being a part of it. To them, I say this:

I hear you. I really, really hear you. You would like it if the show was easier to watch and didn’t highlight the hyper-sexual teen alter or the cruelty of the male alter. You would like it better if they showed more about where Tara comes from and why she is the way she is. Me, too.

Stay tuned. Watch a few more episodes and see how the character of Tara is handled and how she evolves. There is both humor and drama, as it should be. My life has had its ups and downs and whether I like it or not, I had alters that were very sexual and took advantage of any man they could. I see in Tara’s kids some of the same things my kids had to deal with. I had a Molly-Homemaker alter and I now cringe at the thought of how hard she tried to make everything perfect and I feel sad that she was perpetually disappointed at the impossibility of perfection. And my husband at the time had to try and guess how to deal with me when I switched. I’m betting you have some of the same alter-types I did. And that the character Tara does. And yes, it’s hard to watch, being a person with DID. But for me, that’s because it’s accurate, not wrong. You call it sensationalized and maybe you are right. I don’t agree with you but I think that is a matter of personal opinion.

But what I love about the series is that it’s TALKING about mental illness and DID. It’s making people ask questions and have conversations and maybe, just maybe, creating an environment where people with DID aren’t thought of as freaks. Where they aren’t told to keep it all a secret and perpetuate the cycle of hiding and secrecy and lies. And that is what I’m excited to be a part of – moving forward. Removing the stigma attached to mental illness, or at least lessening the hold a bit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by someone I barely know and even people close to me to never talk about having a mental illness because it will hurt my chances at (fill in the blank). Just for telling people what I am. Just for owning what I am and how my brain works. The message is – if people really know you, they won’t think you are acceptable or good enough. They will think you are evil or weird and turn away from you. And that feels bad whether you are mentally ill, the ‘wrong’ color or sexual orientation or ethnic background or too fat or too small. No one should be discriminated against for being themselves.

I don’t feel the series is doing a disservice to DID or mental illness. I’m so THANKFUL that Steven Spielberg wanted to do a series about a woman with DID and I’m so THANKFUL that Diablo Cody read my book and asked me to be a part of it. And even though the character isn’t based on me, I identify with every personality that Tara has. In the same way I had to learn and accept that I was all the personalities that I was and own them and bring them together. And understand that everything I had ever done and everything that had ever happened had happened to ME. All of it.

So maybe you don’t identify with some of her personalities or the extent they are portrayed but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Let’s leave the door open for everyone with DID or any dissociative disorder to feel like they are being represented in some way. This is the maiden voyage. It’s just the beginning. If everything isn’t perfect, let’s not get too hasty and throw the whole thing out. Let’s wait a while and see the evolution. This is the first time this subject matter has been tackled on television. Let’s support their efforts and hope there is more to come.

For me, it’s a dream come true.

______________

If you are looking for my book, you can find it here.

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