Psychotherapy and Memoir

The Talking Cure and the Writing Cure Without wishing to sound freakish or weird, I liken my vocation—writer and psychotherapist—to conjoined twins. Born in my midlife, they developed from the same fertilized egg, gestated in the same amniotic fluid, were nourished by the same placenta. They share the same interests, the same reading lists, and, […]

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The Lightning Notes – Interview: Patricia Reis

Life is striking. Take note. Interview: Patricia Reis Patricia Reis is a woman who believes “nothing’s wasted.” She’s also a psychotherapist and an author who just came out with a memoir. Here, she discusses her antidote to cynicism and fear, having no regrets, and veering off the conventional course. How do you describe yourself? How […]

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Interview in “Next Act for Women”

After several failed marriages, Patricia went back to school in midlife and became a psychotherapist. It would take a lengthy correspondence with her aunt, a Franciscan nun living in Central America, to coax Patricia into writing her memoir, Motherlines. Tell us a little about your background… I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and entered the […]

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Patty in Costa Rica, 1965

Love Letters in Women Writers, Women’s Books

The first letter I ever wrote to my maternal aunt Ruth, was in 1965. I don’t remember what possessed me to write to her. The risk was great and the reach was far. The letter was no doubt desperate, confessing my troubles to someone who was related, but whom I barely knew, someone I had […]

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Carved in Stone?

“We are unaware of how much of the past is alive in us even when we believe ourselves to be entirely spontaneous.”   Anna Mahler I am looking at a photograph of the sculptor, Anna Mahler. She is a small woman, standing on a scaffold in front of a huge block of stone three times her […]

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Undertaking Memoir

“It helps if they are dead,” say many memoirists when asked about including family members in their work. Clearly, memoir is an undertaker’s profession: how to present the person so they look as natural as they did in life? Consider, for example, preparing the late Mickey Easterling, the infamous Grande Dame of New Orleans, for […]

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Putting on the Fiction Dress

Seeing someone wear a fiction dress, I thought how beautiful, glamorous and very sexy. Of course I wanted to have a dress like that!  I had all the material at hand, bolts of material in fact, from dense brocades and velvets to transparent silk chiffon. Like some unpaid, third-world garment worker, I became the Mistress […]

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Leaving Ragdale

PARTING Some like to opine, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” I don’t agree or disagree. Shakespeare said “(more wisely,) “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women have their exits and entrances.”  One thing is for certain, the curtain eventually comes down. Today, the cast of characters take their final bow. […]

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Ragdale Residency: Week Three

WALKING IN THE PRAIRIE  After hours of focused work, walking the linked pathways in the back prairie meadow behind Ragdale gives the senses a refreshing freedom from words. Here, as Virginia Woolf once said, “…there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” A snarl of […]

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