Sheila K. Collins Website



November 2013  

Masthead Sheila K. Collins from Website

Dear Greetings! ,


It's been a good while since I've gotten a newsletter together, but my silence doesn't mean that I haven't had things to write about. Helping to get my book, Warrior Mother out into the world has involved several "Performing the Book" events in Pittsburgh and travel to "Perform the Book" in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Atlanta, GA.


This coming week, I'll be in Oakland CA. So if you live in the Bay Area, please join me Sunday Nov. 10th from 3 - 5 pm at the InterPlayce Studio, 2273 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA. 94612. I'll be doing a "Performing the Book" with the help of some InterPlayers from that area. We'll have refreshments and books to sign and sell. I'll read some snippets, and we'll improv the themes suggested by the readings. Let me know if you're coming and how many people you're bringing. 817 706-4967


This month's article spells out some of the discoveries I've been making as we've been improvising the themes from Warrior Mother. I guess it's not surprising that I'm continuing to learn from these life experiences as I write, talk, and perform about them.


I've been learning more by being interviewed about the book on what used to be called "radio shows." But now most shows are podcasts, with the advantage being, they're available on line whenever you want to listen to them. Here are some addresses. Check them out. The Happy Hour Variety Show and Bread for the Journey with Mariana Cacciatore.


Let me know your thoughts on any of these offerings and I hope to see you somewhere soon as I travel to get Warrior Mother to her intended audience.



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Sunday November 3, 2013

In the present topsy-turvy literary world, getting a book out into the world has become a major career in itself. For well-known authors, the first months after their books' released, there are television interviews on shows like Jon Stewart or Good Morning America and radio shows like Terry Gross's Fresh Air on NPR.  CLICK HERE 


 Taking 'Warrior Mother' on the Road

Tuesday October 22, 2013

 "How's your new book doing?" people ask, and I don't know quite what to say. The official reviews have been wonderful, most of them thoughtful and articulate, better than I could have hoped for. I have felt blessed by such intelligent and crafted responses as different reviewers have picked up on and emphasized, different themes from the book, rather like turning a prism to refract the light into the various colors contained therein.    CLICK HERE 


Wednesday September 18, 2013

As a writer with a new book out, I'm not turning down any invitations to read my work in front of an audience. I had the privilege last Sunday of participating in an outdoor literary event sponsored by the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. CLICK HERE


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Healing the Social Fabric 


A dear friend, a skilled event planer, was helping me plan my recent Pittsburgh "Performing the Book" event. She explained that, in order to encourage people to purchase the book someone should say, "If you're interested in helping to heal the social fabric around grief and loss, you should buy this book."


The expression stayed with me. It seemed to put into words what had happened for my family and I through the years we were dealing with the illness and death of my best friend, and two of my three adult children. Communities of people

Performing the Book Warrior Mother
Performing the Book
"Warrior Mother"

came forward to enfold and support us, to help hold the corners of the floating mantle of grief we danced under. Friends took their vacations to be with my daughter during her treatments, work colleagues visited my son during his hospital stays. Neighbors and members of the church community took turns delivering food to the house of my young grandchildren throughout the years their mother was ill. And now, when I am sharing the book by reading and performing its larger themes, it feels especially satisfying to have other people's stories connect with mine. Stories that until now, we may have not had much occasion or opportunity to tell.


What would it look like, 

if the social fabric around grief and loss were healed?


In addition to the practices of generous Midwesterners mentioned above, we might adopt rituals and practices from other cultures,
ones that view life and death as all of one piece. We might, as in African traditions, begin our gatherings honoring our ancestors, reminding ourselves of the people upon whose shoulders we now stand. When community gatherings begin with this practice, we are reminded that someday we will be the ancestors and others will be honoring us.



We might borrow some elements from the Mexican celebration of Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, where children

The Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead

create altars asking that the spirits of dead children come to play. And people visit the graves of their deceased relatives, bringing flowers, prayers, and stories filled with funny antidotes passed down through generations.


We could then stop living our lives in a frenzied effort to denial death, using drugs and alcohol, overwork and shopping, greed and competition, to distract ourselves from the most certain event in each of our futures. And once these distractions are gone we would be free to savor our relationships with one another in each present moment. 
Sheila K. Collins, PhD 

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