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Braving the Fire is the first book to provide a road map for the journey of writing honestly about mourning, grief and loss. Created specifically by and for the writer who has experienced illness, loss, or the death of a loved one, Braving the Fire takes the writers' perspective in exploring the challenges and rewards for the writer who has chosen, with courage and candor, to be the memory keeper. It will be useful to the memoirist just starting out, as well as those already in the throes of coming to terms with complicated emotions and the challenges of shaping a compelling, coherent true story. Loosely organized around the familiar Kübler-Ross model of Five Stages of Grief, Braving the Fire uses these stages to help the reader and writer though the emotional healing and writing tasks before them, incorporating interviews and excerpts from other treasured writers who've done the same. Insightful contributions from Nick Flynn, Darin Strauss, Kathryn Rhett, Natasha Trethewey, and Neil White, among others, are skillfully bended with Handler's own approaches to facing grief a second time to be able to write about it. Each section also includes advice and wisdom from leading doctors and therapists about the physical experience of grieving. Handler is a compassionate guide who has braved the fire herself, and delivers practical and inspirational direction throughout.
Originally published: New York: PublicAffairs, c2009.
Susan Zimmermann experienced a devastating loss when her first child, Katherine, developed a neurological disorder that left her unable to walk or talk. Faced with her daughter’s disability, Susan struggled with fear, denial, guilt, bitterness, and despair. She began to heal only through writing. Working through conflicting emotions with paper and pen enabled her to transform her sadness into acceptance and even joy. Writing to Heal the Soul is Susan’s gift to others—everyone, not just writers—who are suffering any kind of grief or loss, whether the injury, disability, or death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the end of a relationship. Lyrically illustrated with true stories from the author and others, the book offers simple yet inspiring writing exercises to help you resolve your pain as you transform your grief into words of hope and healing. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Someone dies. What happens next? One family inters their matriarch's ashes on the floor of the ocean. Another holds a memorial weenie roast each year at a greenburial cemetery. An 1898 ad for embalming fluid promises, “You can make mummies with it!” while a leading contemporary burial vault is touted as impervious to the elements. A grieving mother, 150 years ago, might spend her days tending a garden at her daughter's grave. Today, she might tend the roadside memorial she erected at the spot her daughter was killed. One mother wears a locket containing her daughter's hair; the other, a necklace containing her ashes. What happens after someone dies depends on our personal stories and on where those stories fall in a larger tale—that of death in America. It's a powerful tale that we usually keep hidden from our everyday lives until we have to face it. American Afterlife by Kate Sweeney reveals this world through a collective portrait of Americans past and present who find themselves personally involved with death: a klatch of obit writers in the desert, a funeral voyage on the Atlantic, a fourth-generation funeral director—even a midwestern museum that takes us back in time to meet our deathobsessed Victorian progenitors. Each story illuminates details in another until something larger is revealed: a landscape that feels at once strange and familiar, one that's by turns odd, tragic, poignant, and sometimes even funny.
Challenging conventional wisdom on grief, a pioneering therapist offers a new resource for those experiencing loss When a painful loss or life-shattering event upends your world, here is the first thing to know: there is nothing wrong with grief. “Grief is simply love in its most wild and painful form,” says Megan Devine. “It is a natural and sane response to loss.” So, why does our culture treat grief like a disease to be cured as quickly as possible? In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy. Having experienced grief from both sides—as both a therapist and as a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner—Megan writes with deep insight about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing. She debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, “happy” life, replacing it with a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it. In this compelling and heartful book, you’ll learn: • Why well-meaning advice, therapy, and spiritual wisdom so often end up making it harder for people in grief • How challenging the myths of grief—doing away with stages, timetables, and unrealistic ideals about how grief should unfold—allows us to accept grief as a mystery to be honored instead of a problem to solve • Practical guidance for managing stress, improving sleep, and decreasing anxiety without trying to “fix” your pain • How to help the people you love—with essays to teach us the best skills, checklists, and suggestions for supporting and comforting others through the grieving process Many people who have suffered a loss feel judged, dismissed, and misunderstood by a culture that wants to “solve” grief. Megan writes, “Grief no more needs a solution than love needs a solution.” Through stories, research, life tips, and creative and mindfulness-based practices, she offers a unique guide through an experience we all must face—in our personal lives, in the lives of those we love, and in the wider world. It’s OK That You’re Not OK is a book for grieving people, those who love them, and all those seeking to love themselves—and each other—better.
An amazing journey through the thriving worlds of fantasy and gaming What could one man find if he embarked on a journey through fantasy world after fantasy world? In an enthralling blend of travelogue, pop culture analysis, and memoir, forty-year-old former D&D addict Ethan Gilsdorf crisscrosses America, the world, and other worlds—from Boston to New Zealand, and Planet Earth to the realm of Aggramar. “For anyone who has ever spent time within imaginary realms, the book will speak volumes. For those who have not, it will educate and enlighten.” —Wired.com “Gandalf's got nothing on Ethan Gilsdorf, except for maybe the monster white beard. In his new book, Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, Gilsdorf . . . offers an epic quest for reality within a realm of magic.” —Boston Globe “Imagine this: Lord of the Rings meets Jack Kerouac's On the Road.” —National Public Radio's “Around and About” “What does it mean to be a geek? . . . Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks tackles that question with strength and dexterity. . . . part personal odyssey, part medieval mid-life crisis, and part wide-ranging survey of all things freaky and geeky . . . playful . . . funny and poignant. . . . It's a fun ride and it poses a question that goes to the very heart of fantasy, namely: What does the urge to become someone else tell us about ourselves?” —Huffington Post
Inspired by the website that the New York Times hailed as "redefining mourning," this book is a fresh and irreverent examination into navigating grief and resilience in the age of social media, offering comfort and community for coping with the mess of loss through candid original essays from a variety of voices, accompanied by gorgeous two-color illustrations and wry infographics. At a time when we mourn public figures and national tragedies with hashtags, where intimate posts about loss go viral and we receive automated birthday reminders for dead friends, it’s clear we are navigating new terrain without a road map. Let’s face it: most of us have always had a difficult time talking about death and sharing our grief. We’re awkward and uncertain; we avoid, ignore, or even deny feelings of sadness; we offer platitudes; we send sympathy bouquets whittled out of fruit. Enter Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner, who can help us do better. Each having lost parents as young adults, they co-founded Modern Loss, responding to a need to change the dialogue around the messy experience of grief. Now, in this wise and often funny book, they offer the insights of the Modern Loss community to help us cry, laugh, grieve, identify, and—above all—empathize. Soffer and Birkner, along with forty guest contributors including Lucy Kalanithi, singer Amanda Palmer, and CNN’s Brian Stelter, reveal their own stories on a wide range of topics including triggers, sex, secrets, and inheritance. Accompanied by beautiful hand-drawn illustrations and witty "how to" cartoons, each contribution provides a unique perspective on loss as well as a remarkable life-affirming message. Brutally honest and inspiring, Modern Loss invites us to talk intimately and humorously about grief, helping us confront the humanity (and mortality) we all share. Beginners welcome.

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