Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Writers Movement Guest Blog Appearance: Joseph J. Sivak MD

I first started writing When Can I Go Home? back in 1989 when I was in my last year of medical school. That was about a year after my mother died from Alzheimer's disease. The book is a memoir about my mother's futile struggle with the disease. After she passed away I had a tremendous need and sometimes furious drive to record the journey in a timeless and permanent way. As a teenager, I had been my mother's primary caregiver for a few years , as the disease progressively robbed her of her cognitive abilities, personality and her very essence. At the time writing about it was very cathartic.

The disease process is profoundly isolating for families and I wanted to scream out and tell the world. That element is there in so many Alzheimer's memoirs. Unfortunately the issue of isolation has not improved in our society and much as we like to pretend it has in the last thirty years since my mother was diagnosed. At that time most people had not heard of Alzheimer's disease and of course now it is a household term, but as a society we are still ignorant and terrified about it till it affects our own family. The isolation is still there.

The book is a bit unusual or even paradoxical from an Alzheimer's memoir point of view in that It presents a dual perspective. First is a family caregiver specifically a teenager son, which is a bit unusual and at times even bizarre, since that is not the prototypical demographic of a caregiver. The other perspective is a clinical one from a physician. I have treated thousands of patients and their families affected by many psychiatric and neurological problems including many Alzheimer's victims. The clinical information is broken down and translated for the reader.

So you essentially have these two very different points of view sort of flip-flopping but sort of coming into what I hope is a harmonious symmetry. The third aspect of the book is an underlying and ongoing commentary on all the relevant sociological and psychological issues this book interfaces with. Such issues as the state of health care delivery, being a doctor, and the aging population are addressed and sometimes not in a very convenient way for those that need to hold onto pretense and prejudice for security. For example as a society we really don't treat the aging population with the honor and dignity they deserve. We are pretty much obsessed with youth and appearance. We also have a lot of bias toward the medical profession if not at times completely vilifying the field. So in that sense speaking candidly about things albeit my opinion yet based on experience may open the readers eyes, on some issue conversely it may propel some to try to look the other way even more. It's not always politically correct, but it is a memoir and it is honest. It is sort of visceral, some people will cry some will laugh some will get more angry, it makes you feel first, then think.

The manuscript was hard to finish, it lay dormant for some fifteen years, I never had an ending. Even after the death of an Alzheimer's victim, there is never an ending for the five million families affected by the disease. something hit me, after all these years. We are all universally humanly connected by this disease process, and I had the clarity to finish this book.

I love writing, but most of my energy and creativity is spent in my day job. I am currently working on a novel about psychiatric residency. Fiction is obviously a much different prospect than a memoir but it taps a different part of your brain and soul to create something like this compared to a memoir.

Joseph J. Sivak MD
twitter @whencanigohome

Book Info:

The true life account of a young man living with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in a parent. The disease was diagnosed in his mother when the author was seventeen years old in 1979, long before Alzheimer's disease was a household term.

The book candidly traces with graphic detailed description and dialogue the course of the fatal illness. The emotional issues of such pivotal events as the loss of autonomy of driving a car and entry into a nursing home are experienced through the eyes of a young son. From a concurrent viewpoint Alzheimer's is explained with the wisdom of a 21st century physician who has personally experienced the emotional anguish, and thus the fact-based journey is a truly unique dual-perspective Alzheimer's memoir. The story juxtaposes the active uphill battle to become a doctor set against the backdrop of the passive helpless struggle of losing a parent to the disease

The narrative provides explicit commentary on the modern plight of the physician and the global connection family members of an Alzheimer's victim painstakingly share. The unusual, seldom before elicited insights of the dual-perspective vigorously address universal issues such as coping, hope, futility, humiliation and societal bias toward the disease throughout the text.

About Joe Sivak:

Joseph J. Sivak MD is a board certified adult psychiatrist with twenty years of experience in direct patient care. He has taught and lectured in the United States and internationally in the areas of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mood disorders, and chronic suicidal ideation. He completed medical school at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and Residency Training at the University of Rochester. Dr. Sivak has served on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Alzheimer's Association and the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross and hosted a weekly mental health Radio Program for eight years on KUWS- Wisconsin Public Radio. Currently Dr. Sivak serves on the legislative committee of
the Minnesota Medical Association, is a assistant professor at the University of
Minnesota-Duluth College of Pharmacy and is in full time private psychiatric in Duluth

Monday, November 8, 2010

Writers Movement Promotion

Hello all WM members. I hope this post finds all of you well.

Thanks to the support of Ms. Tiffanie Minnis I have started my own blog to help expand the Writers Movement brand and you can find it at The purpose of this posting is not for shameless promotion on my part but to solicit the sites of the WM members who have them so that I can be sure to post a link to your site on my blog. So, make sure you reply to this posting (or shoot me an email at so that I can get everyone on the site.

Much love.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Writers Movement Members: Mahogani P and Susie McCray

This post is dedicated to WM members, Mahogani P and Susie McCray.

Mahogani P interviewed me on 11/1/2010 and I must say that it was the best interview I have yet to land. We spoke for the whole hour with no intermissions and we left the interview blessing each other with great encouragement. I have grew quite fond of Mahogani P and I encourage everyone to check out her BTR radio show by visiting . You can also follow her on twitter @mahogani_p and check out her profile on the Writers Movement website by visiting

Check out my interview with Mahogani P by clicking on this link

Susie McCray showed support to both Benjamin and myself by purchasing and downloading a copy of our recent releases, HUB Volume 2: Blowback and D.I.V.A. Domestically Involved in Violent Affairs, to her kindle. This is the kind of support that Writers Movement was created for and I want to thank Susie for extending it. THANK YOU SUSIE :-)

Visit Susie's website at
Follow Susie on twitter at @susiemccray

Author Spotlight: Dianne Rosena Jones

Dianne Rosena Jones is the Founder and President of Royal Treasures Publishing.

Dianne Rosena Jones is a Transformational Life Coach who uses her own life experiences as a gateway to discuss with refreshing candor difficult subjects. What she discovered and how it changed her life, forever, is discussed in her new book "Tragic Treasures: Discovering Spoils of War in the Midst of Tragedy."

Dianne was born and raised in the Christian Church with more than 30 years involvement in traditional religion. She has held many titles including student, teacher, consultant, trainer, church administrator, minister, worship leader, evangelist, elder, and pastor [very briefly]. However, today, she prefers to be known simply as a woman pursuing her God ordained purpose, which is to inspire and empower others to overcome all of life's obstacles by strengthening their spiritual core: mind, spirit, soul and heart.

She is the author of "Transformational Life Lessons" a blog devoted to transforming the lives of others, one thought at a time. She is also the African American Literature Editor at BellaOnline ~ the Voice of Women

She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Morgan State University. She attended Graduate School at Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Jones resides in Duluth, GA.

For Book signings, book clubs, speaking engagements, conferences, seminars or workshops, send an email to :

Visit Dianne's' website at
Follow Dianne on Twitter @
Become a fan of Tragic Treasures on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Is Writers Movement Really Making the Right Moves for Thier Writers/Members?

I received an email from a WM member asking what exactly does WM do for our members besides chats. Because of this great question, I just want to bring up a few things.

Yes, WM was created to support fellow members/writers by blogging about their works, promoting them on twitter, facebook and networkedblogs, interviews, support through the critique group, purchasing works of fellow members and many other things. Ben and I have blogged about the importance of mutual support because you can't have a support system if no one is doing their parts of being supportive and reaching out to help in any way they can. WM is of course a free online community where everyone can join so it isn't fair for Ben and I to do all the work to make sure everyone gets exposure and support but no one else is giving back in any way. True, Ben and I have teamed up to promote our new releases because both of our releases were due in the same month and we were the only two that showed fire and passion for what WM had to offer. We never shunned anyone intentionally but we figured that if any one wanted to be a part of anything WM laid out on the table, we made it very open and easy for others to reach out to us. So, with that being said, WM will be back in full effect beginning next week! If any one is on board feel free to stay on board and be apart of the movement BUT we will only support those that gives support back... even a simple RT on twitter or repost on FaceBook is good enough. But like I said many times before; " Mutual Support Leads To Major Accomplishments"

The Movement