Friday January 18, 2008
Dear Dr. Miller,
I am a long-time fan, having purchased nearly every one of your many books, discussed you with patients for many years, and stood back in appreciation of your astonishing capacity to capture the child’s experience of the world. We even had a brief exchange of correspondence about 20 years ago (relative to a case), and you graciously phoned me.
I have been engaged in clinical work with infants and their families for several decades, since training with Selma Fraiberg at the University of Michigan Medical School. I was the founding president of the International Association for Infant Mental Health, and am on the advisory board of Attachment Parenting International. I have produced 15 documentary films about attachment, and the emotional development of young children. (I would be pleased to share any of these films with you, by the way.)
I have two questions:
• Are reproductions of any of your paintings available? I am particularly interested in 1-w-0. It is stunning.
• Would you consider looking at a small sample of the entries in my new book, Baby Verses: The Narrative Poetry of Infants and Toddlers, toward the possibility of your saying a few words of endorsement about it? The book includes 18 poems, written as if penned by a baby or toddler, relative to their experience of such things as domestic violence, living with a depressed or alcoholic parent, divorce, circumcision, etc. My aim was to try to raise the awareness of parents and professionals alike, about the lively presence of the human child: the vibrant noticing of the world around them. Each poem is accompanied by an illustration, drawn by a North Carolina artist who happens to be a survivor of child abuse. If you were willing to take a look, I would immediately ship to you a small sample (5 minutes of reading), for your thoughts. And I would, of course, understand completely if you found the work to be unhelpful or otherwise lacking. In case it helps to clarify the structure and purpose of the book, I am attaching the Introduction, and Table of Contents.
I am deeply in your debt for your many years of unparalleled contributions to understanding the nuances of mistreatment, from the child’s perspective. Many of my patients think that no one in the world understands them they way they feel understood by you. And I am in your debt for considering taking a peek at my minor contribution.
AM: Unfortunately, I can’t promise you anything at the moment. But if you want to send me your book anyway, you can do it by using the addresses of my publishers in New York: Norton or Basic Books. As you read my books and are empathic with small children, I hope that you might be interested in my message that the sole reason for child abuse is the denial of the pain endured in our childhood. As almost everybody was beaten very early on, the denial of the suffering became a part of the structure of our brain. My therapy concept is based on this fact, and it turned out that it helps survivors of mistreatments to liberate themselves from chronic symptoms if they want to know the truth about their childhood. I would be happy if you could make your patients and students aware of these facts by using the material published on my website (interviews, flyers, articles and the mail).