Cindy Simmons

This I Believe: I Believe In Party Dresses

Sep 30, 2019
Essayist Cindy Simmons
WPSU

I believe in party dresses.

My mother and I both use clothes to make a statement.

For 26 years, my mother, Margaret Simmons, worked as a high school home ec teacher. She can sew anything:  business suits, wedding dresses. She must have altered a hundred prom dresses over the years for her students who were not conventionally sized.

Cindy Simmons reviews "How to Change Your Mind."
Cindy Simmons / WPSU

I got Michael Pollan’s book “How to Change Your Mind” because I am interested in how hallucinogenic drug use influenced the counter-culture of the 1960s.

From the full title of Pollan’s book, you know it's an ambitious work. “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence” barely fits on the front of the soft cover edition released in May. And even that doesn’t fully describe what’s inside.

BookMark: "The Deepest Well" By Nadine Burke Harris

Jun 28, 2018

I heard an interview with Nadine Burke Harris and immediately bought her book “The Deepest Well.”

Nadine Burke Harris is a doctor in a clinic that serves children from low-income families in San Francisco. She was disturbed when she noticed kids from tough backgrounds had persistent medical problems that were hard to treat. She suspected there was a link between the health problems and traumatic experiences such as losing a parent or becoming homeless.

I have been a fan of Sherman Alexie’s since I saw his 1998 movie “Smoke Signals.” His new memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” gives a heartbreaking look at how kids who are different are treated. It also happens to be set in a small town on the Spokane Indian reservation, giving a complex and not always flattering picture of tribal life.

Throughout the book, Sherman Alexie describes how he suffered at the hands of reservation bullies, kids — and sometimes adults — who did not like the bipolar egghead who was too smart for reservation schools.