A Pat on the Back from Ms Lab Rat

On June 23, I finally realized I shouldn’t reduce my blog to being just about me as a person with MS. I’ve got a lot more going on than a chronic disease. When I’m not telling my own stories, I’m working to help others tell their stories. And often enough, my students have successes that ought to be shared. I vowed on this post,  ” From now on, when one of my students deserve a pat on the back, I’m going to go ahead and pat.”

Guess what?

A long time member of  The Clifton Writer’s Workshop, a group I facilitate, just had a fine editorial published in The Cincinnati Enquirer.

I do hope you follow this link and read Andrea Rotterman’s nuanced piece about a her dual roles as gun owner and gun violence survivor. She labored over this essay, because she wanted to get the details right. All too often, the press presents gun ownership as an issue that is black and white. I love that her editorial ends with questions, not answers.

Does a link to an editorial on gun violence belong on a blog about multiple sclerosis? Gun violence is a more pervasive health problem in this country than multiple sclerosis. There’s only about 10,000 new MS cases diagnosed a year. The CDC published data showing 38,658 gun deaths for 2016, including suicides. It seems to me it should be easier to eradicate gun deaths than it’s been to eradicate MS.  But as Andrea’s editorial shows, nothing is as easy as it looks.

I’m so proud of Andrea for joining in our national conversation. It takes a lot of guts!Head Shot

If you like what I do, please endorse me on the WEGOHealth page to amplify my voice and the voices of the chronically ill.  Thanks for reading!

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In Celebration of My Students

About ten years ago, I met a very nice woman with my last name who said she was working on a historical fiction. At the time, I was not a big fan of  historical fiction. She mentioned her historical fiction was also a romance. I was not at all into romance. (At least, not as a literary genre.) She confessed that her historical romance was nearly 900 pages long. And unfinished. I guess I must have thought she was a very nice woman indeed, because I volunteered to read her 900 page unfinished  manuscript of romantic historical fiction. On our second meeting, she looked more than a little apologetic when she handed over a very heavy sack of papers. At this point I may have warned her that there could be a problem with this arrangement: I am not a very nice woman. If I didn’t like her book, I would tell her so.

What was I getting into? Perhaps this would be the beginning of a very short relationship. When I handed her manuscript back a few days later, Maria McKenzie scanned through and saw my semi-legible scrawl wending through just about every page. I told her she did not have a novel. She had three novels. I have been scrawling over her manuscripts on weekly basis ever since.

The three books of Maria McKenzie’s Unchained Trilogy, Escape, Masquerade and Revelation, have gone on to become bestsellers on Amazon’s African American Historical Fiction list. And today Audible released the first of the trilogy on audiobook. 

When you are done reading Maria’s trilogy, you will jump to her gripping historical fiction from a more recent era, The Governor’s Sons. If you are in the mood for comedy,  you will laugh out loud reading her foray into mystery, From Cad to Cadaver: A Black Ops Detective Story. She’s got another African American Historical Fiction in the works now, and it is shaping up to be her most ambitious and controversial yet.

When my MS has acted up, this prolific author and unwavering friend has prayed over me, has baked my family delicious pans of lasagna. I am so grateful for the many students I have had who have turned into friends. Each and every one of them has shared their complex inner lives with me, widening my scope of interest.

Here is an incomplete list of links to my students’ works. It is incomplete, in part, because many of the talented writers from The Clifton Cultural Arts Center, The Art Academy of Cincinnati, The Kenwood Senior Living Center, The University of Iowa and my long ago workshop in CT have produced works of great literary merit but have not yet published.

Phone Scams by Lee German

A Winter Break by Elaine Olund

Letter Bomb by Elaine Olund

A Double Life by Elaine Olund

Sea Change by Elaine Oland 

You Are Unique by Maria Ramos

Something Sweet by Andrea Rotterman

Introducing the Eradicator by Edith Samuels

Jigsaw by Edith Samuels

A Circle of Gratitude by Joan D. Sattler

Thoughts and Attitudes by Joan D. Sattler

Two Visitors by Win Swormstedt

Put it on the Tab, Mr. Joe by Ida Zinam2012-04-03 CCAC _4039649