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Ken would have appreciated my ironic title of this posting on the anniversary of his death, April 25, as he was no fan of the IRS; Uncle Sam was, to him, the ultimate Scrooge.

As I write this, I am sitting in a friend’s apartment in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, where I am conducting research about Ken Rinciari.

Dawn, Ken’s surviving companion, has stories galore and I really enjoy her company in any case. We sit in her garden here in Alkmaar and talk, discussing world politics, recounting stories about Ken (Kenny, as she refers to him), gardening tips for my girlfriend back in Brooklyn, and all sorts of other topics.

Dawn had mentioned a handmade book Ken gave her about their trip to Hoboken (NJ) when I was here last year. It was to Alkmaar I did my first home exchange and it was with Ken, with whom I corresponded, and Dawn who came with him. It was in her old house, not far from here. Now she lives in a condo, also not far from here. Their friend Sonje visited as did Dawn’s son Jonathan.

The Hoboken book was missing last year, which was disappointing to me. But last week when I visited with Dawn, she presented the book for me to look at and it has re-inspired me about my writing about Ken and also gave me many ideas on framing, arc, and all those other writerly devises.

Following are the front and back covers of the “Hoboken book,” and the inside dedication from Ken to Dawn:

Hoboken and Beyond April 2006 Love You Dawn Ken Hoboken

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“A deeply personal account of the difficulties faced by people suffering from mental illness… Schroeder’s brutally honest memoir reveals the extraordinary effort required to take control of one’s mental and emotional health.” –Publishers Weekly

“A riveting and painfully honest account, Beautiful Wreck not only demonstrates the importance of humor and perseverance in the face of mental illness, but also affirms the power of self-reinvention.” -Kaitlin Bell Barnett, author of Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up

“I highly recommend this candid memoir, particularly for Schroeder’s strong voice that successfully balances life’s darkest moments with humor.” Persephone Magazine

“Brave and relentless, a courage to do it all that astounds one. To write it all down. But that is what I have come to expect from Stephanie Schroeder. I have known her some 25 years and watched what she has done with her life: journalism, law; wonderful what she has been through; to hell and back again. A survivor. Always with a sense of humor, a jauntiness that says to hell with ordinary opinion.”  -Kate Millett, author of Sexual Politics

Written with humor, insight, perception, courage–a much needed work from a talented writer.” -Joan Nestle, activist, archivist & author of A Restricted Country and A Fragile Union

The memoir is now de rigeur, a rite of passage for middle-aged writers. To make one’s story stand out, it must stand up—to scrutiny, to deconstruction, to other people’s revisionism. Beautiful Wreck stands up—it’s the raw, honest, balls out (ovaries out?), in-your-face lesbian version of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces without the lying and posturing. Schroeder takes us, in real time and retrospectively, on the trip through “comfort suicide”—the belief that death can be an answer to depression. She explicates how normative emotional pain so severe it makes you want to die can become. Fortunately, three attempts with no success were the charm; that dark round-trip down the river Styx brings Schroeder back irrevocably to life at its deepest, fullest and most inspirational. This is what survival is, and Schroeder lays it bare. -Victoria A. Brownworth, award-winning author, Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life and Coming Out of Cancer

HEADCASE: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Writers & Artists on Mental Illness

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. 

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The phenomenal animated feature “Rocks In My Pockets” is debuting on VOD & DVD January 29! Be the first among your family and friend to see this exceptional movie – check in here to http://ykr.be/lcl6hb8ls pre-order both rentals and purchases of the film.

Happy New Year!

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Boston area folks!

Wildlight productions“Kings Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution” will screen in Arlington at the Regent Theatre on the morning of Friday October 10th, at 9:30 am, at the Mad in America International Film Festival. Director Lucy winer will be there for a Q&A after the screening! Below is more info about the festival, a description of the film, as well as a link to the new trailer.

“King’s Park” trailer

imageof-bottle-of-pillsI had a really bad week: stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and really thick brain fog. I thought maybe I was getting the flu, but my symptoms didn’t mature into flu and I couldn’t understand why brain fog would be a part the deal.

I was looking at my situation trying to figure it out, and thought to myself, “Wow, this really feels like transitioning onto a new medication.” And then it occurred to me: I had been taking a different generic Lamictal than my usual Teva. Yeah, I know some folks hate Teva with a passion, but it’s what I started with a decade ago and remains very good to me.

I also know many doctors and pharmacists tell us all the time that all generics are equal – they are not. This is, I believe, a major reason so many of us who want to try to maintain a steady medication regime have horrible side-effects, adverse reactions, and generally bad experiences with various medications: the crummy generics and constant switching of brands every time we refill a script.

Thankfully found in my cupboard a partial bottle of Teva brand Lamotrigine. But, I was so sick from the shitty “Lamictal” I wasted an entire day sleeping off the horrid effects of the other stuff.

Feeling much better now.

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