What Voices Do We Hear?


10-20-14  The first review of RESILIENCE, the memoir that I helped Jessie Close write, has appeared and it’s complimentary.

The reviewer calls the book, “an honest tale” and notes that Jessie “holds nothing back.”

“The author candidly discusses her multiple marriages and her continued inability to understand her alternating manic and depressive states, which appear to have escalated in intensity with age. It was only when her son, Calen, was hospitalized and eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia that Close began to look more seriously at her own extreme mood cycles and seek permanent help to stop her abusive drinking and to silence the voice in her head that insisted she kill herself. With the help of her sister and family, Close was able to afford good treatment for herself and her son, and Close’s sister went on to establish the nonprofit organization Bring Change 2 Mind, which targets the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental disorders.

The critic concludes, “the book is packed with emotion and courageous personal reflections.”

That’s heady praise from a critic whose job is, well, to criticize.  But the review did contain one tiny barb.

Click to continue…

Why I Am Proud To Support NAMI


10-17-14  FROM MY FILES FRIDAY: Four years ago, I explained in a blog why I am a lifetime member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).  I occasionally receive emails from readers grumbling about what NAMI either has or hasn’t done.  But nothing that has happened since I first joined NAMI has caused me to lose faith in it. Perhaps this is because the heart of NAMI to me has always been its people and the common goal that all of us share: helping persons with mental illnesses. Patti and I support NAMI monthly with a donation because I believe in NAMI and its programs.

NAMI Helped Me, first published June 28, 2010. **

When I was a Washington Post reporter, I did not believe in joining groups or organizations. I needed to be independent in order to be objective. Then my son, Mike (Kevin), became sick and the first thing I did after I finished writing my book, CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, was join the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.)


Click to continue…

Courageous Judge Administers Justice In Horrific Police Shooting

It was a horrific crime.

Voices inside Kashif Bashir’s head were saying his brain was being reprogrammed. If he wanted to reach a higher state of consciousness, he needed to commit three violent acts – a robbery, a rape, and the shooting of a police officer.

The 29-year-old cabdriver bought a pistol and drove to a shop in a Washington D.C. suburb where he intended to rape an employee. She persuaded him to leave the store and then locked the door after he did.  He returned the next day and noticed a police officer inside the shop.

Click to continue…

My Beautiful Bride: 16 Years and Counting



I usually publish blogs on Fridays that I’ve posted previously but today is an exception. It’s my wedding anniversary.

Patti and I have been married 16 years and I’m going to brag a little. Our’s is a true love story. I was recently divorced and she was recently widowed when a mutual friend introduced us in 1996.  I don’t wish to get mushy and sound as if I’m reading a  Hallmark Card, but from the moment we met, we connected and it has been a non-stop adventure ever since.

Click to continue…

My Book Appears In Gone Girl & Its Story Is Told In An Important New Book


10-6-14   I’ve always wanted one of my books to make it onto the big screen in a major motion picture and this weekend that happened — only not exactly as I had planned.

Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Southern Town can be seen briefly in Gone Girl, the psychological thriller based on the best-selling book by Gillian Flynn.

I don’t want to spoil the movie so  I’ll simply say that the camera pans slowly over several nonfiction crime books, the last being mine, while a killer is plotting a murder. Yep, my book  is a prop.

Ironically, the same week that Circumstantial Evidence appeared in Gone Girl, I received an advance copy of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, which will go on sale October 21st, and already has been nominated for several awards.

Click to continue…

Getting More Than A Bandage: Reader’s Son Got Long Term Care


10-3-14  FROM MY FILES FRIDAY – I can’t always answer the mail that I receive, but I do read every email that is sent and this letter from a mother that I published in January 2010 was especially poignant. It raises a common frustration that I continue to hear nearly five years later.  

As you probably know Tom spent most of the summer in jail for taking a sailboat out into the Atlantic Ocean “to sail back to his birthplace.” The Coast Guard picked him up and thankfully handed him over to the local police.
We did not bail him out this time or even try to get him out for we told him last spring, when it seemed like he would flee, that he wouldn’t. He was released at the end of July with a misdemeanor and made his way 170 miles back home. I heard something way before dawn and was startled by him outside the window by my desk. This began a difficult time.
We were doing nothing to help him by giving him anything but help.

Click to continue…