In my book, Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s, I write about the final months of my stepfather’s life and our conversation about my passion for healing with foods. He is actually the one that suggested to me to focus on Alzheimer’s disease. At that time in my life I had a strong intention to write my own cookbook, but was still unclear about the focus. For my stepfather to suggest this to me was a blessing in two ways. One, it was a practical step for me to ground my research and intention in an area that was desperately needed in the world. And second, more personally, it was a moment of being seen and heard by a man that had truly been my father, and with his encouragement and acknowledgment I felt something fall into place within me; perhaps the last bit of courage and confidence I needed in order to follow through with my dream of becoming an author.
Ahh, social media. On the one hand, on the other hand…. I admit completely, that social media was something I pretty much ignored before becoming an author. As an introverted person, social media felt overwhelming to me. I value one-on-one, rich, meaningful connections with other people. The amount of dialogue and diversity on the social media scene is both exhilarating and paralyzing for a person of my temperament.
Completion is an ambiguous arena to navigate. Creative projects rarely feel done. Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s, a fairly small book, tapped into a place inside of me that had so much to say! It was while working on Eat to Beat that I realized this book was a beginning for me, not the whole. I couldn’t burden one book with all that I had to share. It was important to stay clear on what this cookbook was meant to be: an educational text for learning about nutrition and brain health with recipes to put that learning into action!
Connection is an intention of mine, from a few different angles. From my perspective, connection with readers is a very dynamic experience. It looks like, as an author, that I am writing my book on my own, as if it is a solo task. And sure, often I am alone. However, the readers are constantly on my mind. While writing, I am always considering who the readers are, what is relevant and interesting to them and how can I meet them where they are? Furthermore, where can we meet each other? Obviously, we meet when my words resound within their minds as they read and what then? A blending of us, into something bigger, that integrates the two. Maybe my words sit on someone’s shelf. Maybe the book is opened often and greased by use during cooking. I hope so.
I have felt drawn to writing a book, and a cookbook, for as long as nutrition and health has been a passion of mine, which has been a very long time. But the seed for Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s, was planted specifically in a conversation that I had with my step-father a few years ago.
In the book, I write about our relationship and what he meant to me. My step-father was an important figure in my life, and when he was very ill, and dying, I went to spend time with him while he was in the hospital. And although he was very important to me, I was never sure how important I was to him. In other words, he didn’t make much effort, perhaps didn’t know how, to connect with me on a deeper level. That is, until we were alone in the hospital.
Francie Healey is the author of "Eat To Beat Alzheimer's and has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is both a Certified Health Counselor and Licensed Mental Health Counselor.practitioner.