Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Guest Blogger: Molly Best Tinsley, Author of Entering the Blue Stone

What happens when one's larger-than-life military parents--disciplined, distinguished, exacting--begin sliding out of control? The General struggles to maintain his invulnerable façade against Parkinson's disease; his lovely wife manifests a bizarre dementia. Their three grown children, desperate to save the situation, convince themselves of the perfect solution: an upscale retirement community. But as soon as their parents have been resettled within its walls, the many imperfections of its system of care begin to appear.

Charting the line between comedy and pathos, Molly Best Tinsley’s memoir, Entering the Blue Stone dissects the chaos at the end of life and discovers what shines beneath: family bonds, the dignity of even an unsound mind, and the endurance of the heart.
Between Insanity and Poetry
by Molly Best Tinsley
Growing up as a military brat, I never stayed long in one place.  I made friends and learned the ropes at one school only to leave everything behind when my dad got transferred somewhere else.  I think that’s why I have a tenacious memory—to take the edge off the continual loss, I hung onto the people and places in my mind.  The same motivation started me writing—it felt like a way to rescue all that stuff, keep it from falling off the edge of my world.  I wrote my first fairly long story in fourth grade, a plot-based narrative involving a girl and a dragon.  By high school, I’d started to be conscious of style—the idea that there were always a number of ways to give voice and shape to an amorphous impression.  Playing with style, coming up with le mot juste, remains my favorite part of writing.
Entering the Blue Stone recounts what happened after the bottom dropped out of our parents’ world, and my sister, brother, and I had to build them a new one.  My father, a retired General, always had everything under control, but he was growing more and more debilitated with Parkinson’s disease when my mother began manifesting Alzheimer’s.  Just as they had uprooted us a dozen times in our childhoods, now we had to tear them away from their last home in the Midwest and move them east where we could monitor their care.  Hah!  Call it dark comedy of the absurd, or disaster epic, or heart-breaking romance, or a lesson in surrender—their final five years shuttled between insanity and poetry, despair and epiphany.  And of course it was all about loss.  I was compelled to write about the experience, save something from the oblivion that was swallowing our parents up.
Entering the Blue Stone is a classic memoir, in that it portrays a limited slice of life, based on a particular time and specific issue.  One thing I was asked to do by several publishers was focus on the how-to of dealing with diminished parents, in other words, offer general advice.  I refused.  The whole point of the story for me had to do with bumping up against something for which there is no how-to, no instruction manual; nothing to do but open the heart and laugh and cry and get mad and keep on trucking.

Entering the Blue Stone is available in hardcopy from the Fuze website, www.fuzepublishing.com, Amazon, and select independent bookstores.  It’s available for download from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, mobi.

Thirteen years ago in an episode of sanity, Molly Best Tinsley resigned her position on the English faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy and moved to the west coast to write full-time.  Her memoir, Entering the Blue Stone (Fuze Publishing), was preceded by My Life with Darwin (novel, Houghton Mifflin), Throwing Knives: Stories (Ohio State University Press), The Creative Process (non-fiction, St. Martin’s), and Satan’s Chamber (spy thriller, Fuze Publishing).  Learn more about her at www.fuzepublishing.com and www.satanschamber.com.

Price: $14.95 paperback, $9.99 ebook
ISBN: 9780984990818
Pages: 195
Release: May 2012

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Tribute Books said...

Cheryl, thanks for hosting Molly for such a touching guest post.

Mark said...

I agree. What a touching, beautiful guest post. Thank you, Molly. I look forward to reading your book (in my case, it's a very timely topic)

Likes to Read said...

It's such a universal topic--losing your parents. I'm just getting a window into that realm, and it's daunting. Thanks for your words of wisdom...

Cheryl said...

THanks for stopping by, everyone. Nicole, always a pleasure to work with you.