Sunday, February 3, 2019

WHAT EVER HAPPENED... "Recommended Books, I"

There are many books that I’ve read as I’ve prepared this book. The ones that helped me the most are outlined a bit here, but not in alphabetical order. I’ve included important statements from some of the books listed that helped either in my own recovery or assisted me as a writer. I wholeheartedly recommend these excellent resources. I want to thank publicly each of the authors listed here. Your time and effort helped me enormously.

The Bible – of course, this has to be listed before all the others listed next. Psalms helped me the most at first, but I listened to many other people list other books of the Bible that led them to a better life. I just encourage you to read it and learn from it. If it's overwhelming, start in small amounts of time, ask for help understanding it from others who read it, or join a Bible study to learn with others. It's the best resource for life, even though it was written so long ago.

Where Is the Mango Princess? A Journey Back from Brain Injury, by Cathy Crimmins
I quoted MANY things from this book because it taught me the most of all the books I read post-injury. I strongly recommend you read this book!
·       “He won’t be the same man.” [The author’s husband, Al, suffered a traumatic brain injury. I’m not the same woman since my acquired brain injury.]
·       “The brain injury community marks time by asking how long someone has been ‘out of’ injury….” [According to a support group I attend for brain injury – I’m a “tween,” which explains my pre-teen behavior.]
·       “Rebirth after brain injury is slow. Messy.”
·       “Al is pissed off a lot…. Brain injury patients tire easily and can’t concentrate for very long.”
·       “…one side effect of brain injury is a propensity toward concrete thinking.”
·        “I leave a Post-it in the logbook, prompting Al to….” [I leave these notes EVERYWHERE to remember stuff!]
·       A brain-injured person needs a steady routine, a minimal amount of stimulation, and a lifestyle that is not taxing in any way.” [As I was writing this book, I was told by my neurologist that doing this work is “extraordinary” for someone with a brain injury like mine.]
·       “… the researchers found that people with damage to the temporal lobe, a section of the brain along the lower-left side of the brain, over the ear, often have trouble naming objects. One person might lose the ability to name animals, for example.  Another might lose the ability to name utensils.” [I get laughed at by others when this happens sometimes.]
·        “… getting confused and lost can pose major dangers to brain-injured people in the outside world.” [My yellow “Mickey Mobile” Saturn was SO much easier to find in parking lots than my blue Subaru. That’s why I don’t shop alone in the dark anymore. I’m scared of getting lost in a parking lot.]
·       “You wouldn’t believe how many people with brain injuries get run over by cars. They get distracted or stop paying attention, and they walk into traffic.” [That author is quoting someone who helps her husband navigate life. Aiden told me he had to hold on to me when we saw the sights in New York City because too many times I’ve stepped off the curb without looking.]
·       “In brain injury jargon, he ‘perseverates’ about the topic. Over and over and over again, he says.…” [“Perseverate” is a word I used to use when teaching, and now I use for myself.]
·       “Brain injury is a tragedy for everyone but a special nightmare for people with intellectual lives and jobs. Our intelligence is our greatest pride….”
·        “First Alan gets extremely tired, and then everything else goes wrong: he loses his…impulse control, and his ability to pick up on social cues and make simple judgments. When tired, Al knocks into walls as he walks. He drops things, and when he does, it makes him angrier….” [Once, I dropped a cup of hot tea into my bag at a Christmas women’s brunch at my church. I was so upset, I ran to the restroom to calm down.]
·        “He’s surly and has temper tantrums.” [I act like a child many times.]
·       “Alan now has labels for everyone, including himself.” [I give lots of folks nicknames.]
·       “…three fits a day in which he will rage and throw things around the kitchen or smash the cellular phone because it gets stuck under the car seat….” [I’m under doctor’s orders to only talk on my phones when I’m calm, and NO texting with certain people….]
·       “As soon as the movie begins…. There’s noise…. ‘I gotta go. I gotta get out of here.’” [I sit by the door at each and every movie I attend. I’ve had to leave several times for noisy or scary scenes.]
·       “I’ve read that people with TBI frequently suffer seizures months and years after an initial injury….” [I know more than one person who had seizures years after the tumor was removed. This is one of my fears.]
·       “The part of his brain that helped him think before he yelled has been damaged. He can’t control his anger.” [Said by his daughter. The same could be said about me.]
·       “…holidays…extremely hectic. And that’s not good for the brain-injured – the newsletters and magazines about TBI all give hints for keeping the brain-injured from freaking out at this time of year.”
·       “‘If Al were in a wheelchair or had a cast on his leg, people would understand that something happened,’ says Crystal Mangir. ‘But no one can see a broken brain.’” [The invisibility of my damaged brain means that people misunderstand what is happening with me quite often.]
·       “Change is very difficult for the brain-injured…. Al had the idea, before his injury, that computers were stupid. He’s always been stubborn about technology; now that tendency, exacerbated by his TBI, comes back to haunt him.” [That’s why my dear, sweet editor had to type this on his computer for me from my handwritten, messy notes.]

Life Amplified: Our Family Touched by Autism, by Karen Skogen Haslem
Even though this book is not about brain injury, this author has very important things to say about God, special education, love, family, and more. [Her son Titus is a God-send to be around. I teared up when I attended his performing with this friends and classmates at Red Hook High School in June of 2017.]
·       “… I had tried to stay away from the baby section in stores, it would just make me sad and I’d end up crying all the way home.” [Me too.]
·       “I was angry and felt cheated. In my grief, God allowed me to be honest. I know He counted every tear and felt my heartache.”
·       “I had to come to the realization that God had a plan that was better than my plan.”
·       “… most people who are in special education really do care about your children and want the best for them. Some of the problems within special education ultimately come down to the budget and the people at the top of the ladder who are not face-to-face with your child every day.” [You said it, girl!]
·       “Embrace someone the way they are, don’t just tolerate them.” [I scribbled a HUGE “!” in her book when I read that sentence because that applies to so many people!]
·       “It’s okay to wonder, but not to worry. Enjoy the joyful moments in the journey. Sometimes it’s an uphill climb, sometimes one can let go and coast.” [Thank you, Karen, for that great “life advice.”]
·       “The teachers asked us what type of therapy we did with him over the summer. Our response: ‘We got a dog.’” [Me, too!]
·       “If people could ‘see’ his disability, they might be a bit more understanding.”
·       “People who choose to go into the Special Education field are an amazing breed. Like all teachers they work long hours, but at times endure physical abuse and really difficult challenges. Because of this, the burn-out rates in the specialty are high.” [A professor I had back in the 1970s at SUNY Plattsburgh, Dr. Flood, basically said that same thing. She told our huge class of students studying to be special ed. teachers that only a few of us would make it to retirement.]
·       “As much as we like to think that society has changed in the way we view people with disabilities, there will always be those who choose to believe that those of us who have a disability are somehow less than everyone else. That mentality is so short-sighted. Think of all the greatness to be done in the world if we choose to embrace those with such amazing minds. Instead of living in denial and fear, I hope we choose to welcome these amazing people….” [Better words could not be said, Karen! Thank you!]

I (Douglas Winslow Cooper) have been excerpting, weekly, material from this almost-final version of the fine book by Janet Johnson Schliff, M.S. Ed., which she wrote over a three-year period with some coaching and editing help from me, through my business, Write Your Book with Me.

Her memoir is now available in paperback and ebook formats from Outskirts Press  and



More talks are being planned for the spring of 2019… she can be contacted at 845.336.7506 (home) or 845.399.1500 (cell).

Janet Johnson Schliff spoke at the Oblong Books Bookstore in Rhinebeck, NY, on Tuesday, February 6 at 6 p.m.

Janet was on WKNY Radio 1490 in Kingston, NY, on Thursday, March 1 at 9:10 a.m. 

Janet spoke at Barnes & Noble in Kingston, NY, on Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on March 6 
at 7 p.m. 

Janet spoke at the Golden Notebook Bookstore in Woodstock, NY, on March 17 at 2 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Morton Library in Rhinecliff, NY, on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. 

Janet spoke at RCAL in Kingston, NY, on April 3 at 4 p.m. [They gave her an impromptu book-launch party.]

Janet spoke at the Parkinson's Support Group at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on April 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Stone Ridge Library in Stone Ridge, NY, on April 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Hurley Library in Hurley, NY, on May 4 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Kingston Library in Kingston, NY, on May 9 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Staatsburg Library in Staatsburg, NY, on May 14 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Clinton Community Library in Rhinebeck, NY, on May 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY, on June 9 at noon.

Janet spoke at the Gardiner Library in Gardiner, NY, on June 11 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Marbletown Community Center in Stone Ridge, NY, on June 20 at 6 p.m.

Janet was interviewed on radio station WTBQ-FM (93.5) on June 29 at 12 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Esopus Library in Port Ewen, NY, on July 13 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Pine Plains Library in Pine Plains, NY, on July 20 at 6 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Ulster Library in Kingston, NY, on July 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Northern Dutchess Bible Church in Red Hook, NY, on August 11 at 1 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz, NY, on September 6 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Adriance Library in Poughkeepsie, NY, on September 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Janet was interviewed on radio station WRIP-FM (97.9) on September 21 at 8 a.m.

Janet again spoke at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville, NY, on September 22 at noon.

Janet spoke at the Enchanted Cafe in Red Hook, NY, on September 28 at 7 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Hyde Park Library in Hyde Park, NY, on October 4 at 7 p.m.

Janet participated in an Author Weekend at the Barnes & Noble in Poughkeepsie, NY, on October 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Janet spoke at the Tivoli Library in Tivoli, NY, on October 22 at 5:30 p.m.

Janet’s interview for the TV program Wake Up with Marci on the You Too America Channel aired on Monday, November 5, and Friday, November 9. It can now be found on the Internet.

Janet spoke at the Germantown Library in Germantown, NY, on November 7 at 6:00 p.m.

Janet participated in the Red Hook Middle School's College and Career Cafe in Red Hook, NY,  on December 19 at 10:30 a.m.

Janet will speak at the Poughkeepsie Brain Injury Support Group at the Poughkeepsie Galleria Mall in Poughkeepsie, NY, on Saturday, February 23 at noon. 

Janet will speak at the Stanford Free Library in Stanfordville, NY, on Saturday, March 9 at 10:00 a.m.

Janet will speak at the Howland Library in Beacon, NY, on Wednesday, March 20 at 1:00 p.m.

Janet will speak at the West Hurley Library in West Hurley, NY, on Saturday, March 23 at 1:00 p.m.

Janet will participate in an Author Talk at the Saugerties Library in Saugerties, NY, on Saturday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m.

Janet will speak at St. Timothy's Church in Hyde Park, NY, on Sunday, May 5 at 11:00 a.m.

Janet will speak at the Moffat Library in Washingtonville, NY, on Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 p.m.

More signings will be coming up. A fine feature about Janet by John DeSantos [845 LIFE] appeared in the Middletown Times Herald-Record on Monday, March 12, as part of Brain Injury Awareness Month. An article about her book was just published in the May 2018 Living Rhinebeck Magazine. An article about her book appeared in the May 14 Daily Freeman of Kingston, NY. and another in the Family Life section of the Poughkeepsie Journal on June 8th. The Millerton News published an article on Thursday, August 2, about her talk at the Pine Plains Library. 

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