Here is a sampling of students’ and clients’ work that has reached publication and is available to the public:
We’ll Be The Last Ones To Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter, by Rachael Hanel. University of Minnesota Press, 2013.
For a kid who learned to read and do math by reading gravestones, real loss comes as a shock. Hanel’s quirky and poignant memoir explores the humor, silence, and denial one midwest family uses to confront death.
Choice passages of Hanel’s story so affected me that my throat went sore swallowing grief. All the while, I had the sense of watching a determined child fall down, scrape her knee, and stand up, lip quivering, eyes glistening but resolute. —Nicole Helget, author of Summer of Ordinary Ways and The Turtle Catcher.
For Love of Lakes, by Darby Nelson. Michigan State University Press, 2012.
For Love of Lakes weaves a delightful tapestry of history, science, emotion, and poetry for all who love lakes or enjoy nature writing. For Love of Lakes is an affectionate account documenting our species’ long relationship with lakes — their glacial origins, Thoreau and his environmental message, and the major perceptual shifts and advances in our understanding of lake ecology. This is a necessary and thoughtful book that addresses the stewardship void while providing improved understanding of our most treasured natural feature. A finalist for a Minnesota Book Award, 2012.
Thorns & Roses: Lawyers Tell Their Pro Bono Stories, by Deborah Schmedemann. Carolina Academic Press, 2010.
In Thorns and Roses, over a dozen lawyers tell their pro bono stories. The stories take place in children’s court in the inner city, a prison in rural Alabama, a committee room on Capitol Hill, a transitional housing facility, and other places where American lawyers seek to aid those least favored in our society. The legal issues reside in a wide range of courses in the law school curriculum, including torts, property, criminal law, family law, employment law, immigration law, and Indian law. Rich issues of professional responsibility arise throughout the book. Each story is followed by discussion questions drawing on the images in the story, its lessons about the law, and the always present question at a story’s end—is this a happy ending?
Butterfly Song, by Evelyn Dahlke. Plain View Press, 2007.
In this captivating account of her escape from more than 20 years of domestic abuse, Evelyn Dahlke captures the intricacies of how a woman can be induced into a world of abuse . . . how she can lose herself and so identify with her abuser that she colludes with him to protect the secret of the abuse. …In this deeply personal and moving book Evelyn Dahlke has woven her current thoughts, her journal entries from years ago, her own poetry and the poetry of others into a seamless tapestry of pain and growth.
Sunlight on My Shadow, by Judy Liautaud.
Judy writes a heart-wrenching but eerily common story of her teenage pregnancy, birth at a home for unwed mothers, and reconnection with her daughter. She does a lovely job of portraying how secrecy and silence inflict deep wounds, and how open relationships heal.
On Island Time: Wildlife, Windsleds, and a Wedding on Madeline Island, by Patricia Spaulding.
On Island Time is a wry and funny account of an apprenticeship in island living. Think Under the Tuscan Sun set in the north woods where survival depends on learning how to fend off a charging bear, riding in an ingenious Madeline-made contraption called a windsled, and where the island hot spot is an open-air tent bar whose slogan is: “We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you.”
Still a Minstrel, by Larry Suess.
Compellingly honest, entertaining, and inspiring, Still A Minstrel is Suess’ account of key events that led him to become a psychologist and music therapist, as well as a musician and songwriter. Suess explores the power of music to forge connections by reminiscing about the escapades of his traveling rock band, his years as a jazz pianist presiding over a lively piano bar, and using music therapy as a psychologist to connect with a variety of hard-to-reach clients. He insightfully illustrates how science, culture, technology, and religion affect our response to music. Equally appealing to music fans, musicians and health professionals, Still A Minstrel is the joyous story of a musician and healer using his own gifts to help others find their paths in an often confusing world.
After the Murder of My Son, by Mary Rondeau Westra.
“It takes more than time to heal a broken heart.” This chronicle of grief and healing, struggle and salvation…questions everything parents cherish—achievement, hopes for the future, forgiveness, faith, friendship— yet reinforces total and unending love. Readers will learn how a couple endures, how a family is threatened but grows tighter, and how friends can help. The book itself heralds the triumph of the power of the human heart over tragedy.
Out of Denial: Piecing Together a Fractured Life, by Robert K. Anderson.
Out of Denial is the memoir of a closeted gay married man who grew up in the conformist Fifties and got stuck in a maze of denial. It shows the toll this takes on him and those he loves, his struggle to break free and his eventual recovery of a lost boy and submerged self. With frankness, humor and hope, this story celebrates the odyssey of coming out and the release of new energy for love, friendship, spirituality and creativity. From the Foreword: “Some people talk of the need to save their souls. My soul saved me. This book is the story of that rescue.”
Love’s Sacrifice and the Ordeal to Become Human: 30 Years with my Spiritual Master, Adi Da, by Dennis Leroy Stilwell.
Love’s Sacrifice and the Ordeal to Become Human is the extraordinary story of the relationship between Master and devotee; of the Master’s instruction in the highest Spiritual Teaching of non-dualism and the devotee’s struggle to bring that instruction into life. It is a story about the breaking down of religious idealism and the rise of the Spiritual reality; and about human loss and human growth.
Vigilante, by Jane Feely. I coached Jane through the development of this book when she was fourteen! She went on to self-publish through Amazon.
April Stone, a high-school junior, gets attacked by a bird. Except it wasn’t a bird, it was a daemon. Or so say the crazy people who kidnapped her. They inform April that daemons are entering Earth through a rift between our world and theirs, and now, the only thing standing between humans and daemons are the Vigilantes: humans who have been infected with daemon magic. It quickly becomes apparent to April that the Vigilantes are a bunch of argumentative nutcases who like to blow stuff up and basically have no idea what the hell they’re doing. But when it’s clear her life is at stake, April has no choice but to become a Vigilante. As she works past her own fear and the layers of secrets that surround both the Vigilantes and the daemons, it starts to get difficult to tell who the good guys really are. If there even are any.
“We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down,” by Rachael Hanel, published in The Bellingham Review, spring 2007.
Forgotten Roads, The Talking Stick Volume 19, published by the Jackpine Writer’s Bloc.
Other work I’ve helped develop:
- An oncologist’s story
- A Unitarian’s journey to Christianity
- A Zen Buddhist priest’s story
- Recovering addicts’ memoirs
- A child of a Holocaust survivor’s story
- Clergy narratives
- A journey from Christian fundamentalism to Judaism to Hellenic paganism
- A classic scholar’s life story