Tag Archives: New York City

Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days Free for World AIDS Day

Shortly after my book Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days was published, I started a little tradition of making the Kindle/ebook version of it free for a few days starting on December 1st, in commemoration of World AIDS Day.

So have at it with my compliments, and feel free to share this post with people you know.

http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Breath-Memoir-AIDS-Wildfire-ebook/dp/B009TV4CE6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402448615&sr=1-1&keywords=Bevilaqua

The Annual Holding Breath World AIDS Day Free Book Promotion

I’ve decided to make a tradition that I actually care about, now that Thanksgiving is over (as far as holidays are concerned, Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day are the only ones I really love; don’t even get me started on how I feel about Columbus Day).  Last year, shortly after I published Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days, I realized that it would be appropriate to give free Kindle versions of the book away for World AIDS Day (December 1st).

This year, the book will be free starting tomorrow (11/29/13), and the offer will be good through Sunday, which will be World AIDS Day.  After that, I won’t be giving it away again until next year.

So far, the book has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating from 21 reviews on Amazon.com (and another 5-star review on Amazon U.K.).  As usual, if you download the book (or buy the print version) and read it and feel like leaving a review, I’d really appreciate it.  Every one helps, and they’re fun to read (except for that one 2-star one…).

Here ya go (and then I’m done with the book giveaways!):

http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Breath-Memoir-Wildfire-ebook/dp/B009TV4CE6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377225007&sr=1-1&keywords=holding+breath+bevilaqua

A Rough Deliverance (Kindle version) Now Free on Amazon

I could swear that I posted this last night (maybe things are catching up to me after all!), but it’s not here now.  So, again, the Kindle version of my new book, A Rough Deliverance: Collected Poems 1983-2013, is now free (its usual price is $2.99), and will be through this Sunday, 11/24.  I’d love to have as many people as possible read it now that I’ve finally put it together.  If you do pick it up, it would be especially helpful if you would leave a review on its Amazon page (or anywhere else, really!).

For something of a preview, you can read a few of the poems in some of my recent posts here. The poems are about things like love, music, AIDS (and losing someone I loved to it), travel, God, suicide, alcoholism, chance encounters, sex, ambition, hope, and many other things–I’ve had a lot to think, and write, about in the past thirty years.

Here’s the link again.  I hope that I’m not dreaming that I’m posting this one too!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GREJ626

A Rough Deliverance Ebook Now Available on Amazon

So I got ambitious and got the manuscript for A Rough Deliverance: Collected Poems 1983-2013 ready for publication much earlier than I thought I would.  The Kindle version is now available on Amazon.com (the print version will be out shortly as well).  This is how I’ve described the book:

A Rough Deliverance begins with poems the author wrote as an ambitious, conflicted, and sometimes naive 22-year-old college student just learning to navigate her life on her own,a young woman who wanted nothing more than to be a “famous poet.” 

It closes with poems written by a woman thirty years older–in some ways very different, in some ways very much the same, perhaps wiser and perhaps not. She is not a famous poet, but she is someone who has loved deeply, witnessed the ravages of an epidemic from the “front lines,” grieved, traveled extensively, made terrible choices and perfect ones, over-indulged and abstained, raised a wonderful son, wrestled with anger and shame about the past and fear of what’s to come, and finally learned to see all of it as absolutely worthwhile. 

This is a collection of poems that documents a ragged, imperfect, and ultimately joyful life lived one deliverance at a time. 

The poems are about love, family, alcoholism, suicide, travel, chance meetings, sex, AIDS, and many other things.  If you read poetry, or if you’ve liked some of the poems I’ve posted here recently, I hope you’ll take a look (as always, reviews on the book’s Amazon.com page, and elsewhere, are greatly appreciated!).

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GREJ626

“Reedway”

I must have written this in about 1986, when I was living in NYC or Hoboken; it’s about missing Portland, and the last house I lived in there (I believe it was 4034 Reedway, but I’m not sure), and various other things, I guess…

 

Reedway

Summer curves its white spine

near, a shallow nervous arc

between two points three thousand miles

apart, between the house and here.

My nights end more than once.

On Reedway now are flowering

three trees, azaleas, fingers

of long irises, pale rhododendrons.

Inside the house old flowers writhe

like desert snakes along the walls

or break, made dust

by the inconstant light.

Failed as a guest and not invited back

I live there anyway, not in the rooms

but in the hall with ghosts of birds

drawn in and lost for good.

Yeah…Facebook

When I first published Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days a year ago, I created a Facebook page for it.  Then I got tired of spending so much time on my personal Facebook page, and closed my account.  Unfortunately, that meant that I had to deactivate the book’s page as well.

Then I realized (duh) that I didn’t necessarily need to close my account entirely–I can simply stay off of my personal page (thereby demonstrating my high level of self-restraint), but still reactivate the Holding Breath page.  So that’s what I’ve done.

Anyway, if readers of this blog would be kind enough to go over to the page and “Like” it, I’d really appreciate it.  Of course, I’d appreciate it even more if you read the book, and that is my segue into telling you that Amazon just launched its “Kindle MatchBook discount”, whereby people who buy the print version of the book ($10.76) can also get the ebook for a big discount (99 cents, down from $3.99).  That way, in case there’s someone on your holiday gift-list who might be interested in reading a love story that takes place in the midst of the worst of the AIDS epidemic in New York in the late 1980’s, and you’d like to read the book too, you can get both at a discount.  Just sayin’…

Here’s the link to the book’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/HoldingBreathAMemoirOfAIDS

And here, again, is the link to Amazon’s page for the print version of Holding Breath, in case you’d like to take Amazon up on its kind offer (they’re like that over there):

http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Breath-Memoir-AIDS-Wildfire/dp/1480164518/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1377225007&sr=1-1

 

A Birthday, an Anniversary, and a Book Sale

Today would be David’s (the man about whom I wrote Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days) 66th birthday.  Although his life was very often something close to hell–perhaps something that he sometimes wished he’d never been born into (I don’t know that for certain, of course; he always struck me as remarkably optimistic, in spite of things)–I feel that his birth is also something that I should always celebrate in some way.  David changed the course of my life for the better, and permanently.  I sometimes wonder what I would have been like if I’d never met him; it’s not a pretty thought.

The following is an excerpt from the book about his birthday in 1989, six months before he passed on, and my realization a year later that it was approaching again, and that he was gone:

“I found an entry from 16 October 1989 that mentions his birthday.  Part of it got wet at some point and the ink ran, so some of it is illegible, but what I can put together of it says:

In six days it’ll be David’s birthday…short year ago that (I took him out) for lunch and he told me…about his life.  (We were supposed to) go see (the building’s owner) about his apartment, but it was pouring rain and (we didn’t think he should) stay out in it so I bought him an umbrella and he walked me to the PATH station.  I kissed him on the cheek and wished him happy birthday and he looked surprised, as I guess he should have been.  Then I went home and he went back up to the Marion Hotel.

Autumn’s got me thinking about him, too.  And the fact that I actually did get TB from him.  It’s stupid, but I almost like the idea that I caught something from him.  Any bond…

Today is also the first anniversary of Holding Breath‘s publication (no coincidence there), so this seems like a good time to put the Kindle version of the book on sale for a few days.  So, from today (21 October 2013) through Wednesday the 23rd, the price will be reduced from $3.99 to .99.  Once again, here’s the link to the book’s Amazon page (where you can also read the reviews):

http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Breath-Memoir-Wildfire-ebook/dp/B009TV4CE6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377225007&sr=1-1&keywords=holding+breath+bevilaqua

Here’s a description of the book:

In 1988, recently out of a graduate Creative Writing program in New York City, Nancy Bevilaqua was an aspiring poet in need of a job. She answered a newspaper ad seeking caseworkers for people with AIDS, and, much to her surprise, got the job. She shouldn’t have been surprised; in 1988 AIDS was an epidemic completely out of anyone’s control beyond some toxic and ineffective treatments, and fear and misunderstanding of the disease were rampant. Very few people wanted to be in contact with people who’d been infected with HIV.

A year later, a 41-year-old heroin addict named David was assigned to her as a client. Something about him drew her to him, and in very little time the boundary between “client” and “caseworker” dissolved, and she fell in love with him. For the next eight months she lived with him in his Lower East Side apartment, caring for him and waiting with him for the inevitable end.

Before succumbing to the disease, David asked Nancy to write a book about him. Twenty-two years later, after going through an unexpected and very painful period of something she learned was called “disenfranchised grief”, she finally published Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days, which is a loving account of her eight months with David, and the grief she’d had to hide for so long.

Free Ebook Version of Holding Breath–A Reminder

As promised in yesterday’s post, I’m posting this reminder that the Kindle version of Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days is FREE on Amazon.com from today (9/13–I love Friday the 13th’s!) through midnight Sunday.  Please spread the word if you know anyone else who might be interested in reading it.  Here’s the link again:

http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Breath-Memoir-Wildfire-ebook/dp/B009TV4CE6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377225007&sr=1-1&keywords=holding+breath+bevilaqua

Free Kindle Edition of Holding Breath, 9/13-9/15/2013

The Kindle version of Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days will be FREE starting at about midnight Pacific Time tonight, until midnight on Sunday, 9/15.  At the moment, the book has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from twenty customer reviews on Amazon; if you do read it, additional (honest) reviews are more than welcome!  The regular price for the ebook version is $3.99.

Yes, Holding Breath is a “book about AIDS”, but beyond that it’s a love story, as well as an evocative portrait of New York City in the late 1980’s.  As one reviewer put it, it’s “a memoir of the last days of the 1980’s that is tender, desperate, loving, searching, and quietly profound. Holding Breath is the best of what indie published books can be. It is raw, natural and unabashedly lyrical.”

I’ll be posting a reminder of the promotion here in the morning, but in the meantime here’s the book’s Amazon link, if you’d like to take a look and read more reviews:

http://www.amazon.com/Holding-Breath-Memoir-Wildfire-ebook/dp/B009TV4CE6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377225007&sr=1-1&keywords=holding+breath+bevilaqua

“Enabling”

I haven’t posted any excerpts from Holding Breath here for a while, but a conversation having to do with drug tests for Welfare recipients I stumbled into this morning on Facebook (probably ill-advisedly, as I was in an unusually grouchy and impatient mood, for some reason, and might have known to stay out of it if that hadn’t been the case) got me thinking about something I’d thought about many times in the past, and wrote about in the book.  (The first time I thought of it was probably when I was a kid, walking down what must have been East 19th Street in Manhattan with some family members.  We saw a man panhandling, and I wanted to give him some money, but my family told me not to–that he would just “use it to buy liquor.”  They’re kind people, but I now know that they were just going along with a conventional idea that, even at the time, didn’t feel right to me.)

I’ve come to believe that when a person in need asks you to give, you give—no questions asked, no test to see if they’re “deserving” enough, no pre-judging what they might use it for.  If they need comfort (and, preferably, a few warm, respectful words to go with it), and are in a situation that has brought them to the demeaning point at which they need to stand in the street and ask strangers for help, and I have the means to give them what they need just then, I’m happy to do it.  I don’t give a damn how they got to be that way, or what they’re going to do with what I give. I used to feel that there might be something wrong with my thinking that way, as so many others seemed to feel differently, but I’ve gotten over it. 

In any case, here’s the excerpt:

Maybe I really was, as I was told over and over, just being naïve, and being an “enabler”.

But I’ve grown up enough to see that my beliefs are as valid as anyone else’s (and perhaps based more on experience than those of many others who make judgments about the character of addicts and people who live on the street), and aren’t negated by someone else’s disagreeing with them. Almost all of us are, to a greater or lesser degree, addicted to something. We all lie, often without even thinking of it as lying. We all manipulate others in order to get what we want, and we’ve all stolen or cheated in one way or another—even those of us who have everything we need already. We’ve all caused others emotional or physical pain. And if being an “enabler”, with David or with anyone else in a similar position, meant that I was giving them the comfort of feeling that they were, after all, as worthy of love as anyone else, I had nothing to be ashamed of.

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