Incorrigible

Diane survived inexcusable childhood neglect, but overcame her early deprivation to lead a vibrant, exceptional life. At age fourteen she spent ten days in solitary confinement as punishment for escaping from the Minnesota Home School for Girls.

Following her release, Diane’s life careened out of control. After an unsuccessful first marriage, she married her childhood sweetheart. He later developed paranoid schizophrenia and attempted suicide. Then, Diane discovered her husband was obsessed with murder — and he had a gun. Diane left him to protect her infant daughter. That decision changed her life. She began her new direction by making a trek into the wilderness. I met her at Mirror Lake, in  California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. I spent the next fifty years with this extraordinary woman.

Incorrigible (narrative nonfiction, 80,000 words) brings Diane’s story to you in her own voice. She wrote it before dementia muted her talent.  It details her passionate, enthusiastic, and loving, personality even after dementia began its onslaught. A talented writer, Diane spent several years writing a frank account of her life, with sensitive and thoughtful insights into her own and others’ actions, and her words speak for her in this book. I wove in a narrative of the life we spent together to  add context to intimate excerpts from her later journals. In them, she reflected on the realities of her life and the lives of women who survived struggles even more harrowing than hers.

In her later years, Diane’s health problems made daily life more difficult, but did not dampen her exuberant personality. After she died, family and friends at her memorial service recalled their memories of her passionate embrace of living and how she made their lives better for knowing her. Incorrigible gives readers a fully dimensional portrait of a complex woman who never held back her thoughts or her feelings.

Look for news about Incorrigible as it moves through the publishing process.

Read Mirror Lake to learn how I cared for Diane at home as dementia slowly destroyed her personality and health, and finally claimed her life. Afterwards, I set out with our surviving daughter Lauren on a six-week road trip to scatter Diane’s ashes where we met, rebuild my relationship to Lauren, reconnect with the past, and seek a new future.