2016-12-02 / Community

Author series continues in South Portland


Phyllis Chinlund, author of “Looking Back from the Gate: A Story of Love, Art, and Dementia,” will be at South Portland Public Library Dec. 10 for a book discussion. (Courtesy photo) Phyllis Chinlund, author of “Looking Back from the Gate: A Story of Love, Art, and Dementia,” will be at South Portland Public Library Dec. 10 for a book discussion. (Courtesy photo) Join author Phyllis Chinlund as she discusses her book, “Looking Back from the Gate: A Story of Love, Art, and Dementia,” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 for South Portland Public Library’s new Author Talk series.

In her book, Chinlund confronts the cognitive decline of her beloved husband, photographer Ray Witlin, from the unique perspective of her two careers in geriatric social work and documentary film. With the immediacy of journal entries, photographs, letters and conversations recorded when they took place, Chinlund draws the reader directly into the couple’s lives and hearts. Over nearly a decade, as she struggles with the inevitable series of heart-wrenching decisions faced by every Alzheimer’s caregiver, Chinlund takes on additional challenges. She moves from Manhattan to Maine, where she can afford to provide Ray with better care, and continually seeks ways to nurture his creativity and enrich his daily experience, while pursuing her own career. Touching every note in the symphony of a long relationship, “Looking Back From the Gate” is a vivid portrait of a marriage and a testament to the endurance of love in the face of devastating mental and physical decline.

Chinlund, in her first career, directed and edited more than 20 documentaries and garnered numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship for “Good Girl.” The deaths of her mother and grandmothers inspired her second career, geriatric social work. Until 2013 she worked with aging populations in New York and Maine. Now she is cultivating mindfulness on the coast of Maine.

Copies of the book will be available to purchase at a reception and signing following the event. For more information, call 767-7660. The Author Talk series is sponsored by Friends of the South Portland Public Library.

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