The Grief Recovery Hanbook Review


English: Classics Illustrated Comic Book Cover

English: Classics Illustrated Comic Book Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 4, 2014, will be the one year anniversary of my mom Lucille’s death. There is a similarity between the death and hospital stay, of my mom and Joan Rivers. Both were diagnosed with cardiac arrest, both were in a coma for a week and both moved out of intensive care – after a week. Now the cause for Joan Rivers was something related to the outpatient procedure. For my mom, the cause was acute stomach bleeding. I’m not sure why both cases had only a week in intensive care. Perhaps it was something to do with insurance. In my mom’s case, I did insist on the MRI results, that would show potential brain damage.

According to the medical doctor on ABC News, you have a four to six-minute window, after cardiac arrest sets in.  Otherwise  brain damage would occur.  Which makes me wonder if local police departments are trained in these matters.  When I called for my mom, they sent both an ambulance and a local police officer.  The officer first came up to check the situation.  Then when the paramedics asked what medicines she was taken, I mentioned just over the counter remedies.  The police officer on duty asked me to see the medicines – which I showed him.  Both examples were ticking away precious seconds, in the four to six-minute window.  I’m sure the outpatient clinic for Joan Rivers was better trained in these matters.  Perhaps both Joan Rivers daughter and myself should check legal options?

Now this brings me to a great book entitled The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith Paperback by John W. James (Author), Russell Friedman. After my mom’s death, I had help offers from local hospice grief counselors and the local police department social workers. But instead I worked with local church and retirement home grief recovery groups, in the area. This helped me out a bit. Unfortunately, this book came to my attention just now.

I came across the book from their online grief seminar. I ordered the book through the local library and checked out the reviews on Amazon. It has an average rating of five out of five stars, from about two hundred reviewers. One point the book made is that total recovery might take from two to three years. While I might feel grief after the one year anniversary, most of my grief probably worked itself out within a year. It’s still too soon to tell.

I do like that the book has you create grief timeliness for major events. It also has one of the authors sharing their own grief story, as well as stories from other participants. I can’t comment on their grief groups, as I haven’t attended one. But if you work with hospice grief counselors and groups, as well as church sponsored grief groups, it can probably be a good addition.

The book is a short one – perhaps too short. But it had good things to say. A church my mom and I used to attend, sent me the series Journeying through Grief by Dr.Kenneth C. Haugk.  The four volume free series is about the size of the Grief Recovery Handbook.   Now Grief Recovery is a secular program. There’s another series called Grief Share, which is a faith-based program. But I honestly feel you need both a secular and a faith-based approach – to get a proper balance

In the end, you have to do the work – to work through the grief. I remember my senior year in high school. In a literature class, we had to read The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Back then, they had a comic series called Classics Illustrated and Cliff Notes. I brought and read both, hoping to avoid the reading assignment. But I got hooked by the comic book version and book outline series. It prompted me to read the original book. But I did give the comic book and Cliff Notes to others to use. It turned out you really had to read the book, to answer the test questions. The teacher was smart. There was no short cur. You also have to do the exercises in the grief book – to work through the grief.


There are Ghosts, and then There are Ghosts


Last decade’s print-media implosion left an awful lot of good journalists, writers, and editors out of work. And scads of them  turned to what Marty Nemko predicted in a 2009 US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT article would be—and, indeed, is–the #1 occupation for writers in the current marketplace: ghostwriting.

This proliferation of ghostwriters is a major boon to the vast majority of people who want to write a book but either don’t have the time, don’t know how to get started, or have already written a first draft and realize it needs help. Such aspiring authors can find that help in many places on the Internet, through many off-line connections—and on many tiers of competency and sheer raw/polished talent.

Since finding a ghostwriter is almost as easy as finding a self-publishing service these days, let’s talk about those tiers of ghostwriters, and how what you’re willing to invest affects what you’re likely to get in return.

English: Outside of the Aquarium of the Pacifi...

English: Outside of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just like in any other endeavor, ghostwriting is very much a “you get what you pay for” proposition. If you put your faith in someone willing to write your book “on spec”—i.e., they’ll wait to get paid until you sell the book and start making money from it—you might as well go to Vegas and watch the roulette wheel spin without laying down any chips. You have no one to blame but yourself when you don’t win.
Can they guarantee a bestseller? Are you interested in some wonderful Florida swampland?

When you pay someone peanuts to write your novel, memoir, or nonfiction book, chances are the resulting manuscript will be worth just that: a couple jars of Planter’s. People who work for clerk’s wages are trying to break into the business, not offering experienced, professional editorial services. Can they guarantee a bestseller? Hopefully, they’ll guarantee to finish the project.

You can go ahead and lay down the cost of a new washer and dryer set, and the relatively inexperienced ghost you attract will hone his or her skills on your manuscript. Your project will be an immense learning experience-for the ghost. They’ll not only absorb all you have to say in the book, but they’ll learn about how to work with clients (from working with you) and how to put together a real book (from putting together yours). What will you learn? That not everyone who calls themselves a “ghostwriter” has the same ability to deliver a marketable product. Can they guarantee a bestseller? Are you really asking?

Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pop for the cost of an SUV, and you’re likely to find someone who understands what they’re doing, has done it successfully a number of times, and has a fair amount of expertise under their hands. They may not have myriad New York publishing connections, but they know how the game is played, and they can lay out your options and guide you along the path from development to print or eBook production.  Can they guarantee a bestseller? No, but they should be able to guarantee that your manuscript will be given the serious consideration it deserves by the industry, critics, and the reading public.

Invest in what Princeton’s Angus Deaton, Ph.D., and Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D.  tab “The cost of happiness,” (The cost of happiness is exactly $75,000) and you’ll be dealing with a top professional, someone who can introduce you to agents, printers, and publicists and help you work out an effective plan to get your title into as many readers’ hands as possible via as many distribution/marketing/promotion channels as possible. Can they guarantee a bestseller?  No guarantee, but they’ll give you all the tools and resources you need to pursue that prize.

When you get into the government-grant-to-study-something-everyone-already-knows arena, you’ll be able to land a hi-status, high-profile ghostwriter with a lot of industry and crossover (film, TV, etc.) connections. They may even have their own small presses or be affiliated with leading agents and publishers.  Can they guarantee a bestseller? Keeping in mind that a random act of terrorism, Mother Nature, global economic or political upheaval can derail your buzz— yeah, they probably can. But then, you’re paying them the cost of a “starter home” to make it happen!

Claudia Suzanne is the first ghost to deconstruct (Secrets of a Ghostwriter) and teach (Ghostwriting Certificate Program, CCPE/CSULB) how ghostwriters do what they do.  Her next online program begins February 16; registration is open now at California State University – Long Beach. She is also the founder/creative Partner of Wambtac Communications LLC, a family partnership dedicated to raising the literacy bar of the book industry and professionalizing the field of ghostwriting through education, community, and editorial-service excellence.  Wambtac Communications LLC is producing Ghostwriters Unite! on May 3-5, 2013 at the Hilton Hotel in Long Beach, CA.

Academic and business blog posts

Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine. – Rand Kemp

Why so many blog posts about kids?  Because we have too many US mass killing sprees.  Perhaps some good articles on proper childhood care can cure this current and future trend?