Thought some of you Cleft Heart book fans might get a kick out of seeing a photo (top right of the collage below) of politicians Pelosi and Schumer under an umbrella in D.C, back in the day. Actually, it’s my sister Barbara and me in front of the U.S. Capitol after my dad mustered out of the military as a journalist in Washington, D.C. for the Navy’s All Hands magazine. My loving sis wrote last year about growing up with a brother with clefts here and here. She wanted to add to the book I’d written a few years back, Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal.
Since publication, thousands of readers have enjoyed the book, and if you’re one of those, you might find rewarding the collages of Cleft Heart characters early in the book here . . . and toward the end of the book here.
If you’ve not read Cleft Heart yet, then ask Santa or SNL’s Hanukkah Harry (just kidding) for a copy. Tell these two generous, mythic souls the easiest way to get the book is to order the book thru Amazon or Barnes & Noble and have it sent to the north pole for their delivery. Yes these two purveyors of books deliver to the pole.
A way to be a Cleft Heart book booster.
If you’re so inclined to give a gift that keeps on giving, then bestow a few copies on your family’s health care providers (doctors, dentists, speech therapists, etc.) for them to forward to cleft-affected people.Tell these health heroes—and heck all your friends— about Cleft Heart because every kid deserves comprehensible speech and a pleasing smile, face, and future if they’re been born with a cleft or clefts.
Another way to be a Cleft Heart book booster.
An additional way to help as a booster is to Like and follow Cleft Heart on its Facebook Page, which has been run for years by my dog, Monte Blue, the Anti-Bully Warrior! I’m helping Monte to segue the FB Page to cover a related book I’m writing about discrimination and injustice. It’s working title is Privileged Killers, and it deals with bloodletting while Cleft Heart deals with bullying.Still another way, is to go again to the margins of this blog and sign up for updates regarding these two books by hitting the ‘Subscribe’ button. You’ll get a reward for doing this, too.
Q&A about the inside story re the publication of Cleft Heart.
As a way to reward those of you who’ve supported Cleft Heart in the past, here’s a rerun of some of the Q & A between myself and others during interviews and book tours in the months after its publication.
1. Why now? What made you decide to write Cleft Heart?
I finally got some time off from being a professor and decided to have another go at aspects of being a cleft-afflicted person. During a sabbatical decades ago I wrote a screenplay about a young man with a repaired cleft trying to be a news anchor (a fantasy of mine during the Walter Cronkite golden age of news broadcasting).
The screenplay went nowhere even though Sherry Lansing’s studio expressed interest. Called “Stop, Look, and Listen,” it died when my agent, Bertha Klausner, died. The grande dame of New York literary agents, she had Upton Sinclair and Eleanor Roosevelt as clients.
I wrote Cleft Heart mostly to show people with facial differences that they can rise above, that normal is a state of mind, that you’re only as “normal” as you feel. And, too, I wrote it because I found out no cleft had ever written about the cleft palate experience before. Zounds! Can you imagine?
2. How have your old friends from the Ivy League accepted Cleft Heart? Did they realize the insecurities with which you dealt?
My Ivy friends who’ve read the book have liked, and even loved, it. They feel Cleft Heart captures the sights, sounds and tone of our times in college and grad school.
Of my Ivy friends, I’m most in touch with my Yale classmates , who are male ‘cuz the college didn’t go coed till after I graduated. Some of these guys didn’t realize I’d felt so insecure back in the day. (They are often “old school” males whose competitiveness then, and even now, make them oblivious/insensitive to such things/feelings.)
Some guys, closer to me at the time, knew of my insecurities and struggles. And some, gays in touch with their feelings, have revealed that they felt imprisoned by their own insecurities back then, frightened and seemingly alone “in the closet” in the ‘60s.
3. What part of Cleft Heart makes you the most proud?
To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.
I’m proudest when I hear from readers about how my literary voice changes, gets more complex as I get older in the book. I worked at that…and at keeping the story moving along.
4. Do you have a favorite sentence, favorite paragraph or chapter, or a favorite point you make?
My favorite sentence is: “A taller version of Winston Churchill, he growled softly at me in German.” I do like another long sentence about drunken classmates which ends with “preferring froth and foam to Freud and Faulkner.”
I like the adventure of “The Long Way Home” chapter.
I’ve noted again below how to get the book. And please click on the book cover in the margins of this blog, not the one above in the body of the blog. Thanks!
Happy Holidays . . . and have a great New Year.