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"This Shining Night": On first love & James Agee @ Solstice.

"The Music Is Always There." Reflections on Jazz, Improvisation, & the New Orleans Jazz Fest @ Guernica.

San Diego Reader Cover: "San Diego's Most Polluted Areas."

Commentary @ New English Review: "The Sincerely Held Religious Belief: Hobby Lobby and the Bible."

November Blog @ Psychology Today: "Inflammation & Heart Disease."

Essay @ TriQuarterly: "The Misunderstood, Abused, Victimized, and Writerly Essential Outline."

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The Sanctuary of Illness. Amazon paperback and e-Book.

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Heart Book

The Sanctuary of Illness: A Memoir of Heart Disease

We all know someone who has suffered a heart attack, but how often do we learn intimate details that might help us deal with coronary artery disease before it strikes? In The Sanctuary of Illness, Thomas Larson tells a powerful and personal story of what happens when our arteries fail us. He narrates the dramatic tale of his three heart attacks in five years. Slowly waking up to the genetic legacy and dangerous diet of his past, he discovers a path to healing that his partner, Suzanna, insists he—and she—put into action. Told with urgency and sensitivity, The Sanctuary of Illness reminds us that heart disease seldom affects just one heart.

 


 

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“Written in the tradition of Sherwin Nuland and Anatole Broyard, Thomas Larson’s The Sanctuary of Illness is both a meditation on mortality and a call to arms in the face of the inevitable. By turns defiant, humorous, earthy, and literary, the work is a felicitous mix of memoir and reporting: the heart as a pulsing source of both truth and fact.”

     —Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

“Thomas Larson has written a sumptuous and insightful personal chronicling of the pathway into and away from coronary artery disease.”

     —Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

“In the realm of fear and suffering and grief there must be poetry, and Larson finds it again and again in this memoir. His clarity, his humility, and his grace are profoundly moving.”

     —Richard Hoffman, Half the House

“This powerful book conveys one man’s struggle fighting heart disease. Thomas Larson describes multiple heart attacks, interventions, and his decision to try to change his fate with a plant-based diet. His example and dramatic rebound are truly inspiring.”

     —Neal Barnard, M.D.

 
Writing About Illness
Writing Workshops

Multimedia Lecture & Illness Writing Workshop

Here's a video introducing Sanctuary's "Multimedia Lecture" and my "Writing about Illness" workshop for patients and medical professionals on heart disease.

Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

Among the most necessary journeys these days for Americans is to heal from, or confront, the ravages of an illness—whether yours, someone you love, or someone who's your patient.

To heal, more and more people are turning to writing about illness in book, article, essay, and journal. Our literature has grown abundant with stories about cancer, AIDS, heart disease, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, PTSD, even soul sickness. Wounds as much physical as psychological. The acute and the chronic. The slow-developing, the long-lasting, the permanent. Treatments involving drugs, therapy, lifestyle changes, diet.

One recent study, from New Zealand, reports that those who write about the feelings and meaning of their condition heal faster than those who don’t write.

Narrative Medicine is a new field of study. It is being offered to medical professionals in hospitals, med schools, and universities. It aims to develop the craft of writing with those who toil in medicine and to express the personal joys and frustrations of tending to a patient's health and to one's own well-being.

With the January 2014 publication of my book, The Sanctuary of Illness: A Memoir of Heart Disease (Hudson Whitman Press), I’m offering a new workshop based on the story of my three heart attacks. The workshop is open to all, from beginner to professional, writers, patients, and people in the medical field.

The audience for the workshop is physicians, nurses, social workers, mental health and public health professionals, chaplains, writers, academics, scholars, patients, and all those interested in the intersection of narrative, medicine, and healing.

Read more...