MENTAL ILLNESS – a mother speaks

I’m crying as I write this.
This past Easter Sunday – visiting hours at Peachford Hospital. I am alone.
My son, 26, unshaven, shaking, in flip-flops and torn clothes he slept in, sits alone at a table, peeling a tangerine. He doesn’t eat it. He’s looking for poison. He doesn’t look up when I come in.
I brought an Easter basket. The front desk searched and transferred it to a brown paper bag. They searched me too, with a wand, made me leave all my possessions outside.

He looks in the bag. Little jokey things –  Super-Hero socks, origami paper, a journal with an ancient map with half-discovered territories and a book of word games.
He will lose or misplace it all, but I wanted him to have something. He smiles a little. Likes the Batman socks and the journal best. I try to talk. It is harder, MUCH harder, than communicating with him as a two-year-old. I call every night. Get a different attendant who never heard of him. Give his number&^*^x4. “He’s fine, just fine” they say.
Below: See how “just fine” he really is

HIM: I’ve been calculating the numbers of our birthdays, got a formula for exact date of my death: it will be next Tuesday. I’m working on yours.
Explain why I saw you on ADULT FRIEND FINDER – (sex site) I saw Dad’s girlfriend and xxxx’s mother too. I know what I saw and I’ll never trust you again.
Our cat, Gracie, is evil. She has bad juju.  Put her down immediately. Kill her
The government is a prostitution ring. My ex-girlfriend’s father is pimping her out.
Dad runs a girlfriend experience web site business
Breaks. Looks down. My grand daddy used to take me to the park,…bursts to baby tears, then jumps up, runs to refrigerator for a carton of milk.
Back again.
I want to stay here, not in the world that’s trying to kill everybody. I see those cameras over there. I want to be homeless. No. I want to die. I want to die. I want to die.

ME: You don’t want to die, you’re going to get better. Too many people love you. How would your sister and I feel? What would your grandmother, (who died two years ago) think?
She’d be glad to see me. I want to go to my heavenly home. He cries. He has never said “heavenly home.”

ME: Can I hold your hand? Please? Suspicious, he lets me. I’m here. I’ll always be here. You’re not going to die. You’re going to feel better. Please just take the medicine the dr. wants you to take, and you’ll see.
I haven’t seen any doctor. I’m not taking anything. He’s trying to kill me.

No he’s trying to help you. Jerks hand away. Slaps at me.  GET OUT OF HERE, NOW – NOW!!!
VISITING HOURS ARE OVER, MAM – Behind the desk – a 300 pound woman yells at me.
It tears my soul to leave. Yellow doors clang behind me, solid as the prison that this is.  I stand with my face against the cold metal.
“Help me!, God, please, somebody help me. I’m dying. Help Me.”
It’s him. Screaming. Behind the steel doors. And nobody helps.
I’m his mother and I can only stand, locked out. Then I’m gasping for air. Heart. Bursting. Crying. Lost in the winding halls. Can’t find anyone. I need help. I stagger into doors no idea how to get out, and no way to get back in.
I stop the first person I see. I need help I say.
“I’m in the middle of something. I’m late.”
I stand there, crying. “I can’t drive home like this.”
“I’ll find somebody. Stand right there.” Shuts a door.
I stand there for 45 minutes. Look at each of the 12 paintings of the 12 steps. one by one. on the wall. that’s just fine. yessir just peachy. i could recite all the steps and a dozen books on these. So what now? which step will get us out of here?
I slide down the wall, put my head in my hands. Not one person helps me or even seems to notice me. I’m invisible. good. that’s best. Excellent.
I run through the halls to find a red exit sign. I tear off my sticky VISITOR badge throw it away. Get in the car.
I fought years of my own depression. If I thought this place would help me, I’d check right in.
But they wouldn’t take me. They only stabilize people. I’m not suicidal or homocidal, haven’t committed a crime, so I don’t qualify.

Once these patients are “stabilized,” they will be dump them out on the sidewalk with all  their belongings and no where to go.
Treatment, real treatment, would cost mulitiple thousands, (we’ve been there, spent that) out of pocket. Treatment is a for-profit racket too. Insurance doesn’t call this an illness worth paying for. Neither does our government. The richest country in the world. But hey, you sure can get Viagra or Cialis.
If you find this appalling,  Go to
HOPEGeorgia Lee


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At Rest, Soldier Sergeant Emmett Lee – B. 2/16/25 D. 7/1/2014

By Georgia Lee Note: My father, Emmett Lee, died July 1, 2014, a month following this original Memorial Day letter to President Obama, in May 2014, only days before the rapid decline that ended his life. As a Memorial Day celebration of my father’s pride in service and love of country,  I’ve reposted here.  He leaves a dwindling league of  WWII Veterans, now forever free from the tyranny of suffering, illness and old age. By  his deathbed as he lay unresponsive,  I repeated the mantra “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The words were a calming prayer, for an only child losing her last parent, and I trust, an encouragement for him, to unleash his gentle spirit from his battered physical body. And to rest at last, in eternal peace.   An update to my previous post: Reluctant Hero

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Reluctant Hero

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Editors and agents on impossible odds, and writers who ignore them – Atlanta Writers Conference 2015

clockwise from top: writers Crystal Rast: Daisy Ottoman: Editor/agents panel: writer Mat Hudson. Center: Agent Andy Ross

clockwise from top: writers Crystal Rast: Daisy Ottoman: Editor/agents panel: writer Mat Hudson. Center: Agent Andy Ross

A writers life is tough. Getting published can be maddening.

The odds of an unknown writer landing a lucrative contract may beat the 1 in 175 million chance of winning the lottery, but not the 1 in 3000 odds of being struck by lightning over a lifetime.

“Maybe 10 out of 10,000 queries a month are accepted,” said one editor at the Atlanta Writers Conference, held May 8-9 at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel.

Six editors and four agents stressed the increasingly fierce, competitive landscape of today’s publishing industry. Below, see tidbits and advice from those insiders, along with equally fierce writers, (over 100) who pitched their work.

* “All I want to know is ‘can I sell it?’ I don’t need to be your friend or know your life’s story.”

* “Submissions need to be stellar before we try to sell it.”

* “Don’t over-prepare for a pitch. Don’t recite the plot.”

* “A self-published author is a hard sell to publishers. 97 percent of self-published books sell less than 100 copies.”

* “Don’t chase trends, like dystopian zombies, etc. By the time you finish your book, those trends will be long gone.”

* “Stop focusing on the f-ing New Yorker. If you like it, start sleeping with someone there and get your work published.”

* “Social media platforms is a Zen paradox – necessary, but they don’t sell the book. Good writing is more important.”

The consensus? Luck, connections, the perfect “platform” or query letters won’t sell a bad book.

Above all, write the best book possible. Good writing sells.

Attendees, from all over the region, were undeterred by the odds. With everything from thrillers, fantasy, suspense, how-to books and genre-bending combinations of all, they believed in their visions. Each had 15 minutes to pitch a query letter or a previously-submitted portion of a manuscript.

“I write every day from 4:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. before work and 10 hours a day on weekends,” said Crystal Rast, author of ‘Sundown,’ an historical fiction novel and one of several “best pitch” winners. “I’m a perfectionist – spent five years on a book then threw it out, wrote seven other books. Six were terrible. I never considered self-publishing.”

Daisy Ottomann, author of “Sienna to Rome,” a travelogue based on a 2013 trip with 13 older adults, believes her audience – adults over 50, is underserved, gold mine market.

Mat Hudson, author of “In Silence Reaped: a thriller with a drinking problem,” described his book as “a protagonist devolves into the bottle, in a string of murders and mysteries. Fused with a sub-genre of pure, perfect ancient beings.”

Hudson, like others who have made a living as journalists, technical or academic writers was challenged by shifting to fiction.

“Going from dry, meticulous academic papers to fiction, with its two word sentences and abbreviated dialogue was difficult,” he said.

While social media, critique groups, workshops and self-promotion may be helpful and necessary, it is always the writing that sells.

Hours staring at an empty page or screen, the arduous process of executing an idea that may or may not work, revisiting, ditching, multiple drafts, revisions, polishing and inevitable rejections, is something we all endure, for the love of writing.

The process can be excruciating, but events, such as the AWC can be rewarding, as many have landed contracts from pitches at the event. See testimonials:

Said one writer, who has labored for years on a project. “The best advice, and a quote that I keep on my writing desk at all times is from Winston Churchill:

“Never, never, never give up.”

– Georgia Lee

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Leader of the Pack (Business Philosophy) – Be a Trailblazer

Never forget there was a time when it was shocking for anyone to express this kind of thought about women.

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I am green. I think it’s what I…wanna be

Video: From Van Morrison’s great “Hard Nose the Highway”

I associate “Bein Green,” with Van the Man Morrison, not Kermit the Frog. If you remember the somewhat obscure album “Hard Nose the Highway,” good. You may be as old as I am. It is not easy being green. It’s an under-rated shade.

Ask anyone: Best eye color? Blue. Once, I would’ve killed to be a blue-eyed blonde, but the gene genie gave me green eyes and dark hair. My favorite color, along with most of world’s population has always been blue. My children’s eyes are blue, like rock stars, great beauties, a thousand movie stars. Sky blue, Indigo, Royal…Blah Blah Blue. Frankly, I’m sick of it.

Psst…here’s a secret that I don’t know to be true: Within a few centuries, blue eyes will be phased out of the gene pool, completely. Then what will we do?  So, I’m embracing green. Spring, moving into summer. I can run outside again! In the South, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that I LOVE. The air so thick after a storm, I run through a rain forest, or the emerald-fields of Ireland.  Green’s the color of spring. And green can be cool and friendly-like. Green can big, like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree. And when green is as glorious as in May, it’ll do fine. It’s what I want to be.


Green’s the color of spring….


Green can be cool and friendly-like

Green can be tall like a tree

Green can be tall like a tree

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WordPress Meet and Greet – All Bloggers Welcome

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poem- try

Shawn L. Bird

You’ve been published in the Malahat Review?

Oh. That’s great.  Congratulations.

You’ve been published in the Fiddlehead?

Oh. That’s great.  Congratulations.

You’ve been published in the Queen’s Quarterly?

Oh. That’s great.  Congratulations.

You’ve been published in the New Yorker?

Oh. That’s great.  Congratulations.

You’ve been published in the Literary Review?

Oh. That’s great.  Congratulations.

I wish I could say that.

Well, no I’ve never submitted to any of them.



I should because I could?




Message of the moment.  Frequently, the only difference between you and the people who’ve reached the success you aim for is effort and persistence.

and talent.

and luck.


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Old age requires Money - Procure it immediately

Old age requires Money – Procure it immediately

IMG_2209 IMG_2169IMG_2203

“Since I gave up all hope, I feel so much better” – anonymous  

I write this on my 61st birthday. I chose to be alone, and fled to the wilderness.

Rather than dancing at a drunken Bacchanal or a romantic dinner that ends in bloodshed, I’m drinking Kava tea, resting and re-evaluating my life.

Continue reading

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MOTHER AT 42. 5’7″, 130 lbs     IMG_0078LADY MACBETH, (right) at 88, with  her UNDERSTUDY, the author       

At the end of life, the very old shrink into child-size imitations of the towering adults their children knew.

Not my parents, I would have thought as a child, if I’d ever imagined such a thing.

Not my parents. Those eagles who swooped me under wings mid-flight as I sputtered at the nest.

Not possible.

Here is my Mother: Forever 5 foot 7 to my 5 foot 6, though I claimed to be the taller one.

Here is my Mother: 35 years old, a shapely 130 pounds. Here am I, five years old, a gnome of an only child in her shadow.

Every day she teaches in high heels, rising to 5 foot 10 at the lectern. She evokes thunder and lightning and weird sisters, all in a bubbling cauldron to charm the most indolent jock at Forest Park High School. To them, she is Lady MacBeth.

After school, she directs plays – rehearsing again, and again and again. Too small to read the script in my lap, I memorize each line. Sunset fades to twilight, to dusk and to dark, before I notice the passing of time. Alone on the front row, I shrink into the wine velvet seat. Around, beside, behind and outside, is vast and dark as outer space.

The stage is all of life. Colors and costumes spin, dust hangs in the spotlight. “Project to the last row,” she says, her voice shooting fire, echoes into the empty cave. I am a minor moon orbiting her sun.

Here is my Mother: 43, a shapely 130 pounds, her dark hair “frosted” blonde. I am 13, an undiscovered planet. She and Dad chaperone proms. Wispy straps of turquoise never slip from her shoulders, so broad and tanned. Chiffon, like sea foam, flows around her legs. Dad is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, at his largest. I teased that his stomach looked bigger than Elvis’s, but not in his tuxedo. They leave in our boat-sized Chevrolet Impala, the back seat now too small for me to lie flat, as I did on long trips in earlier cars. Always Chevrolets, a word I loved though didn’t understand. I thought our cars were invented in France by Maurice Chevalier.

In Stephen King’s novel – “Thinner,” a gypsy’s curse causes a man to lose weight until he vanishes.

Time, a universal trickster, waits at the threshold of old age to shrink us as trees shred into bare bones of winter.

Here is my mother – 88 years old and 90 pounds, 5 foot 2, if she could stand upright. Her red nails, meticulously maintained, are bright and too large on her fingers. Her bruised skin sags, translucent. I give her sparkling Christmas sweaters – Size Zero from Chico’s.  But without flesh to fill them out, she is a walking coat hanger.

Yet, she goes out to dinner with me, holding my arm like a date escorted to the prom. I beg her to eat. She takes a few bites of hamburger, but only wants sweets – lemon pie, chocolate chip cookies, Vanilla Wafers.

Her flat white Easy Spirit walking shoes are silent on the linoleum.  Velcro closures to prevent tripping over loose shoelaces. I guide her to step up on the doctor’s scales. The red needle crawls below 90.

On her 88th birthday, I perform for her – scenes from MacBeth. She sinks into my living room sofa, arms crossed, bemused and judging. I project to the last row, struck that an ancient queen is my audience. I fumble and improvise lines, but I never break character.

This birthday will be her last, though I don’t know it, not yet. I strut and fret my hour on the stage, all our yesterdays lighting fools the way to dusty death.

Here is my Mother. She is Lady MacBeth and I am, forever, her understudy.

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