As a child, I wanted to go to a sanitarium because I knew it was a place with a great lawn, where you sat with a blanket on your lap and got sane. I had a lot of anxiety as a child, which made it easy to relate to Van Gogh, even then. I learned about him in the movie “Lust for Life.” I related to Gregory Peck too, in “Spellbound.” I watched those films in the fifties. The therapist in “Spellbound” sealed my desire to investigate and solve people’s psychological turmoil. Naturally, over the years, I’ve turned my amateur therapist eyes outward toward others, especially toward my father, and inward toward myself. This is the gist of the LION TAMER series.
LION TAMER MEMOIR How It All Turned Out (Book One): I tell the end of the story of my journey to freedom from the effects of sexual abuse, and how I healed my relationship with my father. While my father had a lot of kindness and a great sense of humor, he also sexually molested me beginning when I was age twelve—he’d fondle my breasts and did the same to six of my seven sisters. He also roared like a lion at anyone (including two-year-olds) if something displeased him, such as a missing ashtray. And I watched him relentlessly belittle my mother.
Book One opens when I find myself at forty-three years old unable to stay away from Arnold, a boyfriend who rages at me while driving with a green-handled hammer on the seat of his truck. I discover that, as with Arnold, all my relationships have been neurotic attachments. I also learn the cause and set out to heal the wound within where a connection with my dad should have been. But several mysteries need to be solved. They ultimately involve a semi-truck and a dolly with a purple gown. One reader said, “Buckle up for the twist at the end, and get out the tissue.”
LION TAMER MEMOIR 2 How It All Began opens on a crowded dinner table scene in Seattle, 1955. The reader is swept into the mind and heart of Marie, the sixth of ten children, an enterprising, anxious child who finds herself on her own to grow in deepening love through childhood challenges: a dad who roars and belittles her mom, who begins travelling for months at a time and has roving hands when he does come home; a mom who disappears first into the newspaper and later into causes; a war on TV every night; Marie’s obsessive love for strangers; the relief addiction provides; and the power of self-harm. What Marie really needs and finds is freedom. But at what cost?
LION TAMER MEMOIR 3 The Cauldron finds Marie over-powered by emotions and a sense that she can’t get anything right. She’s ridiculed by a professor but responds with depth that wins his respect. Still, she leaves the university, to find her way. At nineteen, she is living alone in her own rented room, her oil paints and canvas set up, a bottle of whiskey on the dresser, when she falls asleep smoking and sets her bed on fire. She makes a decision that will give meaning to her life. However, magical thinking makes a rocky road. Will heroin make everything all right? Marie confronts her inner lions and discovers hope in a jail cell where she finds her own power to help a young woman, Angel, find meaning in her storm.
LION TAMER MEMOIR 4 A Perilous Task
has unsuspected results when Marie, strengthened by experience, short on common sense, oblivious to hardship and insecure, presses on with love and hunger for deep meaning. Did she leave the man—whom she loves so much she can scarcely breathe—too abruptly? Sitting with her mother giving evidence to a committee against a nursing home, Marie finally has a foothold in a meaningful life. But when soundings in her depths tell Marie she belongs with Randy, what will she do?
LION TAMER MEMOIR 5 The Elusive Sense of Self precisely captures the reality of human hope. At last, Marie takes on the Goliath in her soul to prepare for the showdown coming in LION TAMER MEMOIR I: How It All Turned Out. Marie learns to bend her pain into meaning. She begins the arduous climb from the quicksand of childhood shame, anxiety and magical thinking to the solid ground of self-nurture and nurturing others. Moved by love, hope and guilt, she tries and fails to reconcile with her first husband, but learns something astonishing. She then moves on to help free Helen, who is restrained in a little residential care facility whose owner will not allow change. However, when Marie falls in love with the smile of a librarian, who doesn’t like to talk about life, she marries again, but discovers she is still lost and fears she must remain so, because it seems wrong to leave two husbands. But through a near death experience, and an incident with her father, Marie discovers something that has been within herself all along and becomes riveted to the depth she has always needed.
Book 5 ends where LION TAMER MEMOIR: How It All Turned out begins—on her way to a therapist’s office, ready to do whatever it takes to end the mortal dread of abandoning herself again and again and again.
I hope you enjoy the books!