Tag Archives: politics

You Might be Drawn to my Book If: A Quiz



Would you enjoy “The Reluctant Archivist?” Take the quiz and find out!’      

1. Seeing the phrases “mental illness,” “politics,” and “mystery” together makes you feel:  a) nothing in particular  b) intrigued  c) somewhat repelled.

2.  You would rather read:   a) a book set in the here and now     b) a book set in medieval  times      c) a book set in the 1970’s

3.  To read a book to its end, you need:   a) over a dozen quirky characters   b) the possibility that the main characters find no meaning in their experience         c) a main character who realizes his purpose

4.  Your usual attitude toward the Midwestern U.S. is:    a)  it’s a down-to-earth place   b)  seems kinda boring to me        c) never been there and don’t care to go

5. You think the main character should usually:   a) show flaws but also great resilience    b) never waver and be strong as iron     c) have the most weaknesses and limitations  of any character

6.  Your ideal fiction book has:  a) steamy romance and innuendo       b) mystery elements and twists       c) new technological gadgets

Chose most of these? 


* 1970’s setting

* intrigued by mental illness, politics, and mystery

* main character who finds his purpose

* the Midwest is a down-to-earth place

* flawed but resilient main character

* twists and mystery

You’ll enjoy “The Reluctant Archivist.” 




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Filed under activism, e-book, historical fiction, mental illness, politics, Uncategorized

What Would Jane Addams or (insert your hero here) Do?



It’s not that difficult to be an advocate. Even something as basic as pointing out your child’s strengths to their teacher is advocacy.  We all serve as advocates,  motivated by concern for our loved ones. The challenge lies in identifying the compelling issue(s) which will drive us beyond the needs of our families to those who have nothing to give us.  We can then make time to reflect on where to cultivate our patch of passion in the garden of justice. We can. Being intentionally goal-oriented and focused on a particular organization can be helpful in moving out of our private space and into the complex world of injustice and problems awaiting solutions.

For me, the challenge of more thoughtfully and consistently listening to local and national news was my starting point.  This week a variety of stories on National Public Radio captured my imagination: the U.S.-Iranian nuclear program talks, the mental health system that may have failed the Germanwings pilot. I’ll continue, in the next few months, to comment on my progress in becoming more aware of political issues. The goal is personal for me: to become a better writer and Christian citizen.

I admire my book character Mill for his natural bent toward political advocacy. He seems intuitively to know what issues should take priority and how to persuade others of their importance. Another gifted advocate you’ll want to know.

Quench Your Thirst for Meaning–Read.



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Part of JFK’s Vision for (Mental) Health Care?

Photo1297FYou value privacy in your health care, but if that privacy prevented your primary MD and a specialist or two from coordinating your various treatments, you might feel differently. And the state of Minnesota seems to be leading the charge in enabling MDs, paramedics, and ER clinicians to share information when needed.

I assert this is even more crucial for people with long-term mental illness. Family and friends,  strained by the person’s unpredictable or unpleasant behavior,  may be unavailable or unwilling to take the time to advocate for the patient. When docs can’t access the treatment and medication history needed to create a personalized treatment plan–look out!  People are misdiagnosed, prescribed duplicate or previously intolerable meds, and are at great risk for relapse or re-hospitalization.

Many of us remember the Community Mental Health Act, passed during JFK’s administration. The Act funded construction of outpatient community mental health centers, with the good intention of making the psych unit obsolete. Medical and treatment monitoring boosted patient autonomy and positive self-image. Unfortunately, the under-funded programs didn’t translate into enough centers to accommodate the many people who needed them.

Because of the push from government budget concerns, groups of hospitals, home care agencies, and physician practices are finally collaborating. Sharing information via integrated software networks is permitted as patients sign a release upon admission. Having sympathized at the bedside with hundreds of patients insisting “their doctors never talk to each other,” I know this is not an isolated problem.

Whether or not I am a JFK-admirer is not the point. I think JFK would be encouraged and pleased with Minnesota’s Community Health Network. Not to mention coalitions such as Rush University Medical Center’s Bridge Program, here in my good ‘ol Chicago.





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Taking More Than Just A (News)Bite


We’re living in a political world, but I’m not a political girl. Can I be reformed? Start to care? You’d think a writer whose main character, Mill Fairbairn, is running for mayor, would be politically aware and fascinated by the latest party wranglings. Not so much. I have a hard time concentrating during five minutes of radio news bites.

I’m aware of this shortcoming and ready to repent of it. So I’m going to launch another experiment: for the next two months I’m going to write a weekly post about what I’ve learned from at least one story concerning state or national politics. Obama? ISIS? Murder rates in Alaska? I’d welcome any suggestions of sources of reputable information: TV, websites, magazines–any and all.

Let my journey from uninformed to cutting edge begin. I think Mill would be proud.

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