Dr. Margaret Burns answered an ad I placed in the Asheville, NC, Citizen-Times while I was researching a novel set in the mid 20th century at a private psychiatric facility. I remember the first time I heard her voice; it was low-pitched and direct (blunt almost) while at the same time curious in a kind way. Southern mountain all the way.
In her mid-eighties, Dr. Burns was still seeing an occasional patient and worried a bit about outliving her money. She was eager to share with me her recollections of the practice of psychiatry all those years ago. She felt Highland Hospital (affiliated with Duke University) had generally been a healing place. To my great surprise, I learned that the hospital’s director and at least half of its medical staff were female.
No one at the public radio station warned Phoebe Hoss not to read the f-word. She’s 84, after all, with white hair and lovely manners. Perhaps the interviewer thought it unnecessary. Never mind, she read it anyway, although you didn’t hear it if you were listening, thanks to some sound engineer.
Flying from the lips of her then 9 year-old son as he looks for a weapon to attack his friends, the f-word appears repeatedly in the opening of her book, All Eyes:A Mother’s Struggle to Save Her Schizophrenic Son.
Random reflections on politics, the media, political activism, women's lives and spirituality, often inspired by travel, cultural events or what I read.
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