Thinking About Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar

A brilliant writer/Ph.D/published author/professional editor called me yesterday. One I deeply respect. She told me she’d just read Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar, and wanted to know why I was not promoting it. She loved it (to put it mildly, it’s almost embarrassing the gushing things she said about it). She thinks I should be getting it out there, trying to sell it more. She said she hated the back cover, it’s all caps and looks unprofessional, and she said there are five typos, but she loved it anyway. She’s the type of super detailed, super editor and writerly writer I feel most intimidated by. I’m still absorbing the things she said and am flabbergasted she took time out of her busy day to call me.

I don’t know what to do with this information. I’d kind of given up on my book. I was convinced it was amateur, and that maybe I wasn’t a real writer.

Initial reactions to the book from many people in my life were curious. Some were plain afraid to read it and didn’t. Some of the people closest to me read it and then didn’t mention it. So of course I took that to mean it sucked. Others who did read it said things like, “Oh it was so difficult to read,” or “Oh it was so painful to read,” or “I don’t usually read that kind of book,” and it filled me with shame. I felt guilty to have burdened them with my story.

The woman I spoke with yesterday said just because something might be difficult to read, doesn’t mean people shouldn’t read it. She said she wants everyone to read it. She thinks it has the potential to help a lot of people, particularly kids growing up in alcoholic homes. She freaking compared it to Angela’s Ashes. And then I fainted.

In Janurary 2012 I wrote a guest post for Lisa Romeo’s blog (which I regretted one second after submitting to her…because it was whiney and cowardly and passive aggressive). In it I discussed how disappointed I was that many writers I know didn’t take up the cause for my book.  I wondered if it was a bias against self-publishing.

My gramma used to say, “When you point your finger at someone else you have three pointing back at yourself.”

The true thing is I didn’t take up the cause for my book. IT WAS ME. I was fearful of asking for help. I was afraid of being rejected.

And I as much as I said the book was about releasing shame, I had a long way to go, because I was still ashamed, still scared of burdening people with my story.

We talked for an hour. She gave me so much to think about.

What a generous gift.

Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar Goes on Vacation?

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My friend Betsy went to France and during her trip she read my book. She thoughtfully decided to leave it in the library of the boutique hotel she stayed at, knowing it would find its way to just the person who would benefit from reading its message.

What’s its message you ask? Its message is: kids in your life may be going through all kinds of struggles you don’t know about and they could really use some understanding and compassion. Its message is: don’t write off a kid, or think you know what’s inside of them, based on what might be happening in their family. Its message is: one seemingly small action on your part could change the trajectory of a child’s life forever. Its message is: be kind. There is a story you don’t know behind each person you meet. Its message is: kids are way more resilient than you think.

I like the idea of someone in France picking up Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar and finding a connection with a little girl doing her best to grow up under trying circumstances in upstate NY, U. S. of A.

I like it a lot.

I have this idea of following Betsy’s lead and asking you, if you are going on vacation, to leave a copy of Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar in the perfect place, for the perfect person to happen upon it. I like the idea of “Janie,” traveling the world.

If you’re in, I’ll send you a copy for free, (until I run out). I’d love it if you’d take a picture and send it to me, wherever the book lands.

Email me. Lifeorileyo @ gmail. com

Have a great vacation, and happy travels!

Taboo Topics

*(image from Women on Writing).

I’ve had the honor of being featured at Women on Writing today.

I have not been writing about Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar much, because I’d been grappling with a lot of emotions around it since my first reading. I guess I still had some guilt about publishing it, seeing my father as having an illness. I had some angst about forgiveness. Was I a bad person for writing it? Was I trying to punish him? Every time I think I’ve put those questions to rest they circle around again.

Enter Bill Macy as Frank Gallagher in Showtime’s Shameless series.

Watching the series has been helpful for me. Frank is over the top, to be sure. He’s very different from my father in some ways (my dad held a job and did very hard physical labor, Frank is a “disability” junkie, looking for any way to scam the system) but there is enough of my father in him.  The part of every active addict that cares more about the substance, than about anyone he loves. The part where people are only useful for you if they feed your addiction or your ego. If not, to hell with them. Even your own children.

Thinking about my previous post on Project Forgive, I had a revelation. The man whose family was killed by a drunk driver? The one who forgave the guy who did it? He was never asked to act like it didn’t happen. He was never asked to sweep the violation under the rug. No one questions his true “forgiveness.”

I can hold deep compassion and forgiveness for my father AND I can talk about my own experience and write about it. One does not cancel out the other.

Some statistics report that one in every 12 adults in the U.S. is an alcoholic. Others show that one in three girls is sexually abused and one in 5-7 boys is sexually abused.

And you know why it continues?

Because it’s taboo. Because people are too ashamed to talk about it. Because society makes people like me feel guilty for even mentioning it.

But you know what? I am a good person. I am a loving person. I am a compassionate person. I am a forgiving person.

I am also the Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar.

And there are millions of me.

IT’S READ AN EBOOK WEEK!

Do you read books in ebook form yet? I have to admit, I didn’t until I was putting my own book up on Smashwords. I was a book-in-hand kind of girl. I didn’t want to change. But I had to see what my own book was looking like, so I ordered the ebook and read it on-line on my computer screen.

Then, in November we went to Mexico and HT got me a Kindle for the occasion. I fell in love hard and fast. No sore shoulder from carrying a bag of books during my travels. I got the cheapo Kindle, and I love it. It’s all I need. It’s a miracle. You can want a book, then “one-click” and twenty seconds later, you are reading it.

I’ve since read lots of ebooks on my Kindle. I have a nice little library building.

Anyway, in honor of READ AN EBOOK WEEK, the ebook version of Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar is on sale on Smashwords for just $1.50. Coupon code is YA74A.

Also, I want to tell you about another ebook I’ve been enjoying. It’s Awesome Your Life, by Carolyn Elliott and it is along the lines of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” I have not finished it yet, so far I am finding it to be filled with lots of inspiring exercises. One is called “Joy Gifting” where you take three people in your life. One you are ambivalent about, one you love, and one you can’t stand. What you do is envision each of these people living at their very highest and happiest. It’s a very powerful visualization.

The everyday price for Awesome Your Life is just $0.99 but it looks like the author is offering it for free here. I say, throw her the buck and buy it on Amazon, but that’s just me.

If you have not dabbled in ebooks yet, maybe try it once on your computer and see what you think. It’s really easy. Think about all the trees you’ll save. But don’t forget about your local Indie book stores. They need love too.

*Belcastro Agency

Wishing you many, many books!

Yoga Releases Trauma

When Riley was about eight months old, I signed up for a 12 week session of yoga. We were living in Illinois, I knew no one. I needed to get out of the house. I wanted to get back in shape. I had not taken yoga in a couple of years.

One night, a guy named Paul was teaching. He had very gentle energy. The class went well. It was just challenging enough. I was pushed, but not too far. The last several moments of yoga class are usually spent in Savasana, lying flat on your back, arms to your sides, palms up, eyes closed. Total relaxation and surrender. Paul played some music during that night’s Savasana and I’ve been trying to find it ever since. It was acoustic guitar. It sounded almost Native American, but maybe not. The voice was that of a gentle father, filled with love for his child. It was like balm on my soul. Maybe my father never loved me like that, but some fathers do. Fathers can treat their babies as precious. In that moment, I felt paternally loved. I wish I could find that music. I don’t even know what the name of the yoga place was to track Paul down and ask him.

Another night, I was in class. The teacher was a woman, who was very no nonsense. She wasn’t gentle like Paul. She was good though. Just different. During the class as I went into downward dog pose, I was surprised as emotions came bubbling up. I held the pose in silence as tears started to hit my mat. I gulped and managed to keep going. During Savasana this “all business” instructor knelt at my head and with strong gentle hands rubbed China Gel (kind of like Ben-Gay) into the back of my neck. I hadn’t asked her to do so, and did not expect it, but it felt okay.

While driving home that night, I had a complete emotional meltdown. Tears just ripped their way out of me and I had to pull over the car on a dark rural road because I could not drive. When I finally could move, I got back onto the road and crept home, sobbing as I clutched the steering wheel. Letting myself into the apartment, Todd was there on the couch, watching TV. Our eyes met and the tears came again. I could not talk. He feared I’d been in an accident. He didn’t know what was wrong. I climbed onto his lap on the couch and began to sob. Began to wail. It wasn’t even my voice anymore. It was young. It was tiny. I cried harder than I have ever cried before or since. He held me and he let me, and he didn’t even know what was wrong. I didn’t know what was wrong either. I still am not sure what it was all about.

I’d suffered incredible trauma just eight months prior during Riley’s arrival, and was sent home 24 hours later to care for a baby with no follow up, after enduring what anyone would consider torture(epidural didn’t take on one side, felt the surgery). Or maybe it was a lifetime of being Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar.

All I know is I released something huge that night. And maybe that’s why I have only taken yoga sporadically over the years. Maybe I’ve been afraid of emotions that big.

Maybe it’s finally time.

Maybe it’s finally safe.

I’ve had a couple of teary moments at yoga lately. I just keep moving through it. It’s okay. I’m just crying. I can cry and do yoga at the same time. And it’s not always like that. Sometimes yoga is pure joy.

The other night, during our final child’s pose, I heard someone a couple of mats over, quietly weeping.

I said a prayer for her, that she be healed.

May we all be healed.

Reading follow up

This evening, I had the most wonderful follow up phone chat with Terre (my fellow reader the other night). She’s done lots of readings before and said she’s never seen one with as much warmth as the folks that turned out for us on Saturday showed.

She said I was held by that warmth during the reading (and after at the restaurant), and it made sense that when the tide went out, and I was alone, for me to feel super exposed and vulnerable. I’m doing much better tonight. I made brownies and watched a movie with my family this evening. Bit by bit I’m feeling less wigged out.

The good news is the warmth. What amazing people I know here in Cleveland.  I am left feeling truly, so blessed.

The Reading

There is a scene in my book, where I bought this really sexy dress to impress my boyfriend on New Year’s Eve. I was 17. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Then, on the big day,  I was so uncomfortable with the attention the sexy dress garnered, I wore a coat all night to cover it up, and wound up leaving the party early.

The scene kept coming to me as my reading drew closer. There is the idea of “attention” and it’s great, and then the reality of it is really uncomfortable. I felt sick with nervous energy prior to the reading. It’s one thing to write behind the safety of your computer screen. It’s another to be vulnerable sharing your work face to face.

But then people started coming and there were so many friendly faces. If you are an author and you want people to come to your readings, join a women’s chorus. They will come. My Windsong sisters were there in large numbers to support me. Many who could not make it sent emails of congratulations and encouragement. Thank you Windsong!

 

So many friends from so many different areas of my life were there. People from our public school days, lots of homeschool friends. Neighbors. Friends I have not seen in months and didn’t think would be able to make it showed up. My heart was very full of appreciation and I do think it is time to give up the tired old belief that I do not have a support system, because it sure felt like I had a community there.

The woman who read with me is a poet named Terre Maher. She went first and the audience listened raptly as she read a prose piece about a family dinner she and her siblings experienced with her hostile father, all while her mother lay dying of cancer in an upstairs bedroom. It was very moving, the way her child-self disassociated from the drama at the table, and then the tenderness between she and her mother as she answered her mom’s call bell, her escape from the dinner table.

I mentioned in an earlier post how Terre and I had a lot in common. One in particular of course is we grew up with severely wounded fathers. What we found out in our phone conversation earlier in the week is we are from the same hometown! Her family is from Binghamton, NY. They moved when she was little but returned every summer to visit her vast extended family. Of all the people in all the world who would be reading together, what are the odds? I wish I had thought to get a picture of us together, but I didn’t have on my thinking cap for such details at that point in the night! (Most of the pics in this post are from after the reading).

Next, it was my turn. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when I just flat out admitted I was nervous and said I was going to take a breath, and the whole audience spontaneously took a deep breath with me. It immediately put me at ease. Deliberate breathers are good people.

My neighbor Heidi gave me a reassuring wink. I felt a hug from Lidi halfway back to my left. Kirsten was in the front. Meg smiled. HT met my eyes. Cindy nodded.

Once I got rolling, I felt okay. Sure, in my head earlier in the day, I’d had all of these pithy little things I was going to interject (and they all went out the window), but I didn’t faint. I read three pieces, one about a huge fight I had with my father when I was about ten years old, over the TV show Laverne & Shirley, one on a transcendent moment I had as a child while on an inner tube on a lake, and a final piece about how I got to college against all odds, due to the generosity of a boyfriend’s parents.

Many people said I didn’t appear nervous. It seems I have a good poker face.

A whole bunch of us went out for dinner after.

HT worked ’til 11PM Friday, then got up and went to work at 6AM Saturday so he could have the evening off and come to the reading. He then worked at 6AM Sunday after going out the night before. Looking at this picture just fills me with love and gratitude for him. For being there, for dealing with all my neurosis leading up to the reading, and also in the aftermath of it Sunday. Because there was fallout. I seriously had a hard time with all the vulnerability the event drummed up in me and felt like crawling into a hole to hide on Sunday.

I wanted nothing more than to put a big thick coat over my sexy dress.

My ego got hold of me. I questioned myself. I wished I had not used certain words during the reading, (“balls,” I was quoting someone, “assholes,” all mine). I watched a few minutes of video HT took and noted my mouth looks strange when I talk. I questioned whether I am just damaged and starved for attention and is that why I felt compelled to write this book? Is it why I blog?  Am I mean or vindictive writing about my father when I know he is so very wounded and ill? I felt ripped open and raw and was so very hard on myself. And I had this strange feeling all day of needing my mom.

I have not allowed myself to “need” my mom in over twenty years.

Around 8PM, I called her.

She reassured me of the value of my writing. Even if it is painful for her or my father. She reassured me it is good for me to write and to share our experience. She said I have no idea who it might help. She reassured me I am good.

She mothered me.

I let her.

She shared more of her story than I had known. She shared her regrets.

She said to give all my worry and self-doubt to God.

It’s okay for me to write my truth. It’s okay for me to share it. I don’t even have to understand the whole picture.

It’s okay for me to shine.

Reading at Mac’s Backs

Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar

This Saturday at Mac’s Backs, I have my first reading ever. I’m trying not to over-think it. I’m trying not to under-think it. I want to be prepared. I sort of feel like I’ve gotten on a roller coaster ride and it’s edging up the mountain and I’m all… on second thought….can we stop this thing? I’m not so sure about this. But it will all be okay.

It will be fine. Fine.

I know plenty of writers who do readings all the time and act like it’s no big deal, but they must have had a first time. And I bet they were at least a little scared. And my book is really personal.

I’ll be reading with another writer, Terre Maher. We spoke on the phone the other day and she seems lovely. That helps. We discovered in our conversation that we have much in common. Weird Stuff. No accidents stuff. I’ll tell you about it after the reading, unless you live in Cleveland and want to come. Then you’ll find out on Saturday.

Wish me luck. Wish that my lip or eye doesn’t start to twitch. Wish that I don’t read too fast. Wish that people show up. Wish that I wasn’t such a nervous Nelly.

You know, it’s strange. I used to work in radio. I had a White House press pass. I interviewed “important” people and my pieces were played on radio stations all over the country. Outwardly, I was intimidated by no one. I was once chastised by my boss for “not being awestruck enough” about covering the President’s State of the Union address. My reply to him was,

“These Congressional Reps and Senators sit down on the can like everyone else.”

One of my young colleagues almost did a spit-take over that one. The kahunas of my younger self astound me. But the bravado I used to carry around in my twenties has long since burned off. That’s a good thing. Bravado is just masked insecurity afterall.

Now it’s just me, being more real, which means sometimes being afraid.

Reading aloud from my memoir in public is a little scary but so what?

It will be fine. Fine.

It totally will.

Mac’s Backs
7PM Jan. 28th
1820 Coventry Rd.
Cleveland Heights

White Elephants

Great review for Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar at Chynna Laird’s White Elephants blog! I thought writing a memoir would bring up a lot of stuff, and it did, but releasing it has excavated more layers and levels of insecurity in me than I ever knew I had. As I continue to work through it all, it’s nice to receive a positive review from someone I don’t know.

Chynna’s White Elephants blog covers lots of well, “white elephant” issues. She also has a child with sensory processing issues and writes about that journey here. I appreciate that she took the time to read and review my book, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

A Free Webinar with Author Jennifer Lauck

We’d been writing all day under a big tent in a meadow. As we walked the dusty dirt road back to the outdoor kitchen at the Buddhist retreat center in the Colorado mountains, Jennifer Lauck, (award winning, best selling author Jennifer Lauck) looked at me and said, “You’re the real deal. You’ve probably been writing for many, many lifetimes.”

It was my first writing workshop. It was the kind of moment you tuck into your heart and keep. The kind of thing you take out from time to time to look at, when you’re feeling doubt.

Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar would not have been written without Jennifer Lauck. I was changed forever by her memoir Blackbird. Therapists have used Blackbird as a tool to access the child voice of trauma in their clients. As soon as I finished it I had to read every other word Jennifer had written, and her subsequent memoirs were just as good. If this brilliant author thought I could write, maybe I could believe it too.

Jennifer’s latest memoir is Found, a story about finding her birth mother forty plus years after being given up for adoption. Beautifully written and poignant, it does not disappoint.

Jennifer graciously asked me to guest post on her blog and to take part in one of her Free Webinars this week, to discuss my decision to publish Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar independently.

I hope you’ll join us Thursday on the call, 11am PST, 2pmEST.

Inside This Memoir Writer’s Neurotic Head

My ego is on a freaking rampage and having a ball! Self-judgement abounds. Sometimes I don’t know if my skin is really thick enough to be a writer. No, I have not received a bad review (yet). No, I have not gotten critical feedback. People are saying nice things.

I just have this fear somewhere in the back of my mind that something is fundamentally wrong with me for being compelled to write about such personal things. Why do I do this? And why don’t many other people do it? Am I wrong for doing it? Do I have some sort of mental instability? Some sick need for attention? Am I bad? Shameful? Lacking healthy boundaries? A narcissist? Cruel?

My ego does a fist pump and cheers!

Why do I have to go back and explore things? Why can’t I let things stay buried? And why do I have to make it public? What if other people in my story are perfectly fine not to ever think about these matters again? Why do I, in my grandmother’s words, have to “open a can of worms?” Bad, bad, girl, talking about things that would be better left alone. I was the one in my family looking around saying, “Yo! This is messed up! Why can’t you see it?” Why does this seem to be my role in life? What’s wrong with me?

Sly, sly ego. If it can’t get me on that one, it searches for a different angle. Self-pub. What a joke. Thoroughly researched, and a viable way to get books out these days, especially with a traditional publishing industry that is limping along, but I can easily fall into that hole.

Or this….POD (print on demand) means I can make changes. My friend with an eagle eye found some things, like, I’m constantly capitalizing the word “Dad” in the book, when not referring to a dad by name. Interesting mistake, because I am not constantly capitalizing “mom.” She found some other small things, that if I change will make the book look more professional, and tighter, and nothing big, and easy to fix, but boy my ego is having a field day ripping me apart! How embarrassing for it not to be 100% perfect! How awful for the people who have purchased it already to have a book with mistakes! Shameful. I want to crawl into a hole.

Looking at the suggested changes last night I was practically pulling out my hair, not crying, but teary and very overwhelmed. The kids came in the room, took one look at me and Riley said, “Does somebody need a hug?”

Somebody did.

I told the kids what was happening, and Riley reminded me we found typos in Little Women when we read it, and Seth insisted we also found one in Harry Potter. He even remembered the word.

Every single day as I was writing Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar, I did a meditation before writing, offering up the day’s efforts to serve the highest good for all involved. That was my intention. Being perfect was not my intention. Hurting people was never my intention.

I don’t fully understand why truth-telling is in my DNA, but today when I’m feeling small and scared, I’m going remember that “highest good” intention, and trust it. I don’t have to understand everything that is in motion right now.

Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar Video Trailer

When I think about my main audience for Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar it is, obviously, adult children of alcoholics. We’re everywhere. It is with this group in mind I made a video trailer for my book. (All the cool authors have video trailers). I did it by myself, with just a little emotional support from HT during moments of frustration as I learned how to use my trusty iMovie capabilities.

Please try not to let my fancy permed orange 80’s hair distract you from the poignancy of the video.

Please forward said video to anyone and everyone you know.

Please let it find the people who would benefit from reading my book.

Please know my blonde ponytails were once used as paint brushes, when a little neighbor boy and I happened upon a gallon of pink paint in the garage and painted everything within reach, including the Toyota. There was only one brush. What could I do?

Please know my sister got a real xylophone, and I got stuck with a “baby” Fischer Price piece of crap. Santa? I was not fooled, nor was I impressed.

Please know my little brothers are as handsome now, as they were cute back then.

Okay, enough dilly-dallying. Ready set go. I hope you like it.

Love.

Big Fun and Mac’s Backs After Tommy’s

We went to the Coventry area for dinner tonight. It was too hot to cook. Attached to the wonderful Tommy’s restaurant is the infamous Mac’s Backs. A local independent. A Cleveland establishment. I brought some of my bumper stickers and put them on the bulletin board, but when it came to talking to Suzanne, I totally chickened out. I can promote the daylights out of anyone else’s work, but for some reason, my own? Not so much.

It’s not that I don’t believe in the book. I do. I know it has an audience. Over and over I am hearing from readers, “I couldn’t put it down.” People are reading it in one or two days. I’m not saying Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar is a masterpiece, but’s it’s my own, and people (even those I don’t know) are e-mailing me unsolicited and saying good things. 

Back to Mac’s Backs. We walked out. I had lots of excuses. I needed to put more money in the parking meter. The kids were suddenly thirsty. So many reasons why I couldn’t talk to Suzanne. Not then. Maybe another day, when the kids aren’t with me. It’s too hard. I don’t want to bother her. Gotta run. 

So anyway…right near Mac’s Backs is a store called Big Fun. Seth’s favorite. A novelty store full of crazy toys, nostalgic things, gross things, FUN things. Some freaky things. Packed to the gills with “Big Fun.” Even the ceilings are painted in graffiti. Riley has never gone in. It has always been too, too much for her heightened sensory system. Merely peeping in the window has frightened her.  

Tonight as we were walking by I asked if she would like to go in. Predictably, she said no. We stood in front. Little brother perfectly willing not to push for it, not to upset her, totally wanting to go in. I said, “Riley, I think you are at the point where you could do this now. You are handling things so much better. You are really growing up.”

She is.

Seth looked hopeful but tried to act casual. He shrugged, hands in pockets, fedora on his head.

“I don’t know,” she said.

Gently I said, “Riley, I think your fear of this is worse than the actual reality of what’s inside. You can do this.”

We stood there, the three of us taking deep breaths, getting up her nerve. She clutched my hand tightly and at last, we went through the door. Once in, she was cautious for about sixty seconds, repeating to herself, “I can do this. I can do this.” Then, she wound up loving it. So many fascinating trinkets to look at. So many whoopie cushions.

Watching my daughter explore the store, I admired her so much. She is so brave. I am such a chicken.

The kids had their big fun for a half hour. Stepping out of the store, it was my turn. If she could be that brave, I could too. Back to Mac’s Backs.

Suzanne was there, warm and lovely. Supportive. She bought a copy of Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar (which I had in my bag) and said she’d order more to sell in the store. Can you hear me exhale?

The Universe wants to support me, if only I’m brave enough to ask.

I can do this.

I can do this.

I learned it from my girl.

Bumper Stickers/Indie Publishing/Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar

One of the most challenging parts of publishing your book independently is self-promotion. You have to walk the fine line between getting it out there, and not tooting your own horn too much. Using social media to your advantage, but not annoying people.

I’m also fighting a different issue.

I went ahead and made these bumper stickers. I love them. I think they came out just perfect. They are intriguing. As an avid reader I’d look up the book for sure, if I saw the bumper sticker on the back of someone’s car.

The problem is actually putting it on my car. Now, we’re not generally bumper sticker people. Too worried about our cars’ finishes (which is funny because we don’t have fancy cars), but anyway…I bought some magnetic paper to stick to the back so that isn’t the issue.

The problem is the title. DAUGHTER OF THE DRUNK AT THE BAR.

There is still shame.

But what exactly do I have to be ashamed about?

My father spent more time in a bar, than he did at home. He didn’t take care of us. Little kids think it is their fault. If they were somehow more lovable, they could change it. In their minds, DAUGHTER OF THE DRUNK AT THE BAR = Not good enough. Not worth it.

The adult me knows this isn’t true. She knows it’s good business sense to advertise her book in any way she can.

The little kid me fears the person behind me at the traffic light will scoff.

So the grown up me takes the little girl’s hand, and together, for all the daughters, they slap that baby on both cars.

No shame little one. No shame.

* If you by any chance, would like to help me promote by slapping one on your own car, e-mail me your address and I’ll get one to you. Thanks so much for your support.

lifeorileyo @ gmail.com

Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar, in paperback

Today is the day.

My memoir Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar is out in paperback on Amazon.

Like it’s been for many of the momentous occasions in my life, it feels a bit hollow. Sure, I should be proud. I wrote a book! What many are calling a beautiful book. A book that is changing attitudes about children from troubled families. But in order for my book to be out there, doing its thing, helping anyone, I had to put my parents on the chopping block. And no matter how badly they screwed up. No matter how many times they let me down. No matter how compelled I felt by some inexplicable force to write it and release it, no matter how much they’ve hurt me, it feels unnatural to willfully hurt them. There is a sadness there. 

I wish there were a happy ending for my father. I wish he were healed. Unfortunately we who’ve done the co-dependent dance long enough learn you can’t “fix” anyone else. Wishing doesn’t make it happen. The best we can strive for is a healthy life for ourselves. The best we can do is stop the cycle. The best we can do is breathe, hopefully with compassion. And love ourselves even though our compassion sometimes waxes and wanes when situations continually arise.

For every child who ever had to break free in order to save themselves, I wrote this for you. I hope you love little *Janie, as much as I’ve come to love her, and in doing so, I hope you love yourself.

Thank you so much to my blog readers for your support.

I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

Love,

Michelle

Amazon link for the paperback.

Smashwords link for the ebook version.

*All of the names have been changed in this book.

Again, truly,

Love.

Today….we veg

On Wednesday and Thursday we got new windows. I spent the next two days cleaning up a layer of sawdust and dirt off of every surface of the house. R & S completed six weeks of day camp on Friday. HT’s brother and his family arrived that afternoon for a weekend visit. My sister and her son arrived Saturday. And we had a house concert on Sunday. And I was taking care of my neighbor’s dog all weekend. Oh…and there’s that book I released last week. The busyness has helped me not be entirely freaked out that people are actually reading it. Lots of wonderful response from readers so far. More on that another day soon. Today I’m doing nothing more than feed my children, and of course, laundry.

Love.