Susan O'Doherty

Susan O'Doherty, Ph.D. (http://www.susanodohertyauthor.com/) is a writer and clinical psychologist who specializes in the creative process. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Mama, Ph.D. She is the author of Getting Unstuck without Coming Unglued: A Woman's Guide to Unblocking Creativity (Seal, 2007). Her popular advice column for writers, "The Doctor is In," appears each Friday on Buzz, Balls & Hype.

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August 14, 2011
Ben will begin his senior year of high school next month. He is thinking about where he will apply to college. His academic advisors and music mentors have recommended schools where they believe he will get the best possible education and professional training, while my friends and family stress the importance of living away from home. "Kids need to experience other cultures, other ways of life," they tell me. "They need to develop independence; to learn to navigate the world without Mommy or Daddy's interference."
August 7, 2011
Last week, the Band of Heathens -- one of our family's all-time favorite bands -- played at a club in Brooklyn, not far from where we live. They are Austin-based and almost never get to New York, so this was a Big Deal for us. I almost never go to non-classical concerts, even if I love the band. I hate loud music, and crowds scare me. I think the last rock concert I attended was around 1974, when Crosby, Stills, Nash and possibly Young played the Nassau Coliseum and some stoner set off a firecracker behind my seat and almost gave me a heart attack.
July 31, 2011
Last week, we celebrated both Ben's seventeenth birthday and that of our cat, Molly. (Molly was a rescue cat who came to us when Ben was two; since the vet estimated that she was about the same age, we assigned her Ben's birthday and celebrate them together.) Molly's annual celebration consists of a catnip toy and an enthusiastic trio rendition of "Happy Birthday," but Ben's have evolved over the years, and each year brings back the highlights for me.
July 24, 2011
Reading both Rosemarie’s and Libby’s columns last week made me think about dining experiences of Ben’s childhood, especially the absolute worst one, which took place during the most wretched “vacation” of my life. Ben was two years old when, for a number of reasons, we decided to travel to California to visit two sets of dear friends, one in San Francisco and one in Sacramento. He had been on a plane trip once before, when he was six months old, but he didn’t remember it.
July 17, 2011
Like many Brooklyn parents, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the recent abduction and murder of Leiby Kletzky, an eight-year-old boy who had just been given permission to walk 7 blocks by himself in a close-knit neighborhood that is considered one of the safest in New York City.
July 10, 2011
I admired Aeron’s courage in raising important, and difficult, questions in her June 29 column. I wanted to respond with equal candor, but it’s difficult when one is not writing anonymously and when there are others involved. I will say this, though:
June 26, 2011
I was a little shell-shocked after reading the comments on Aeron's June 15 post. I hadn't looked at them when I wrote last week about my enjoyment of her column, and I was amazed at the vitriol. I have taught only a few brief seminars myself, and each has taken a gazillion hours of preparation, as well as intense, sustained focus and concentration during the actual teaching hours. I am in awe of real teachers' dedication and stamina. So I want to use this week's post to express appreciation for a great teacher I am in the process of taking leave of.
June 19, 2011
I enjoyed reading about Aeron's "vacation" activities and thought I would continue the thread.
June 12, 2011
Last week, Ben's band had their first paying gig in Manhattan. It was a pretty big deal -- an attractive Upper East Side venue, a good-sized crowd, and people to help with equipment. They were terrific (though too loud for these old-fogey ears). Even more impressive, to me, Ben seems to do naturally what I'm striving to learn in my improvisation class -- to think quickly on his feet, and to stay relaxed and in the moment through numerous unanticipated complications.
June 5, 2011
I take two classes on Tuesdays: dance in the morning and improvisation in the evening. Last week, both teachers expressed frustration with students' perceived disrespect. My dance teacher had been absent the previous week and had engaged a substitute. A number of students had reported for the class, noted the sub, and left. "That was incredibly rude," he admonished us. "She [the sub] was so offended, I don't think she'll be willing to take the class again."

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