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.


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!

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

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 @