In his landmark new book, Defeating SAD, Rosenthal, who first described Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is the foremost authority on the subject, offers an up-to-date guide to overcoming the miseries and that millions experience with the changing seasons. In his lively style, Rosenthal offers advice on how to identify, treat and overcome both winter and summer varieties of seasonal affective disorder, as well as the less severe yet bothersome winter blues.

Alison Martin: Jean loves our theme song.

Jean Trebek: I do.

Alison Martin: You really, really do.

Jean Trebek: It’s just happy. And speaking about happy…

Alison Martin: What?

Jean Trebek: We are talking to Doctor Norman Rosenthal about defeating SAD.

Alison Martin: And when I saw this book, I thought he just meant, like, sad, like, don’t be sad.

Jean Trebek: Did you know the acronym of SAD?

Alison Martin: I did, but I didn’t put it together. Seasonal affective disorder.

Jean Trebek: Yeah.

Alison Martin: Which is what happens when we don’t get enough light, right?

Jean Trebek: Right.

Alison Martin: Yeah. Which is so interesting because a lot of people really feel the difference in the winter.

Jean Trebek: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s why there are so many tanning beds and things like that, like up in Seattle, Washington, and up in the, uh, countries that are closer to the north.

And this book is so interesting because he talks about this in a very, um, accessible way. Like he’d never become so clinical that you’re like, what’s he saying?

Jean Trebek: No, he was a real delight to talk with. Yes. Well, said Alison, he was not so medical that you were just like, what? And he also gives great tips on how to move through the seasonal affective disorder.

Alison Martin: That’s right. And he, you know, the use of lamps and exercise and camaraderie and therapy. He just and he is so I loved talking to him.

Jean Trebek: Yeah.

Alison Martin: He reminded me of people that I love like family members, you know.

Jean Trebek: Yes.

Alison Martin: And he loves poetry.

Jean Trebek: That’s the other beautiful thing about this man. Here’s this highly intellectual human and he has time for that creative side, that beauty of poetry. And I think he really found his sweet spot. I think poetry really lights him up.

Alison Martin: Yeah. Me too. And he talks about it the interview. So. And the end is so special. Listen to the end where he reads a poem to us. It gave me um, I got teary eyed.

Jean Trebek: Yeah.

Alison Martin: He gave me the chills. All right, here he comes. Thank you. Norman, here you come.

Norman Rosenthal: Hello.

Jean Trebek: Oh, hi. Doctor Rosenthal.

Norman Rosenthal: So great to meet the two of you. Finally.

Alison Martin: Yes. How do you feel?

Norman Rosenthal: Oh, I am much better. Thank you. Um, you know, these post-Covid colds are, um, quite nasty.

Alison Martin: I agree, I think because we’ve not been outside with other people much.

Norman Rosenthal: Exactly. Our immune systems are, like, naive and they’re not used.

Jean Trebek: Yeah. They’re like what? What’s that? Yeah.

Alison Martin: I’m. Alison.

Norman Rosenthal: Hi, Alison. Hi.

Jean Trebek: I’m Jean.

Norman Rosenthal: Hey, Jean. Nice to meet the two of you.

Jean Trebek: Very nice to meet you, doctor..Your your book defeating sad is so interesting.

Norman Rosenthal: Oh. Thank you.

Alison Martin: Really? We both read the whole thing, and it’s very, very. You’re such an interesting, um, man, could you tell us how you got involved in in really taking on, uh, so much interest in sad. And could you explain what it is for our listeners?

Norman Rosenthal: Absolutely. You know, it’s been like a step by step process. It’s been a step by step process. I came to this country from South Africa, which is climatically, a lovely country, very sunny, uh, you know, very mild. The seasons are not radical from one to another and came to do my psych residency in New York City. And the first summer was wonderful. The long days. I never had such long days in my life. And then when autumn came, uh, when the daylight savings time change came, I just didn’t know what hit me. Mm. I came out of work that first day, and everything was dark, and there was a cold wind coming off the Hudson, and I thought, wow, this is something I have never experienced before. And so it went for three years. I had these wonderful summers and these really difficult winters, and I thought, something is changed here. Something is different compared to what it was in South Africa. So I came to join a research group here at the National Institute of Mental Health and that is, um, Bethesda, Maryland.

Norman Rosenthal: And once here, Once here I started working with rhythms, biological rhythms, mood, depression and light and came across an engineer who had experienced these same seasonal problems worse than me. And we took him during one of his winters, expanded his light and out he came from his depression. It was wonderful to to behold. And so I thought, well, you know, we’ve really got a story here. I have felt it myself. Now I see it in somebody else. And we need to find more people like this. But I checked around and psychiatrists had not seen it. Or at least they had seen it, but they hadn’t identified it. And so what I thought was, you’ve got to go straight to the public and ask them for if they’ve ever had it and seen it. And at that point, you know, advertising via the media for patients was like chasing ambulances. Yeah. So but nevertheless, we got thousands of people. And from the people who sent back their questionnaires, I pulled together the syndrome that we now known that we now know as Sad or seasonal affective disorder.

Alison Martin: Wow. That’s. That’s amazing. Do you, um, do you use. And in the book, you explain the use of a lightbox. And do you use one?

Norman Rosenthal: Yes, I definitely do. Every morning, uh, in this particular season, I come and I look at the news on the, on the computer and do my word games to make sure my brain is still working and, and, um, good news is that it seems to be. And and so, um, I use it every morning and, um, it really makes a difference. And my patients, I recommend it widely. Uh, and there are all kinds of people who can benefit from it, and we can talk more about that. This lightbox is like a computer, maybe a little bigger. And it sits in front of you and emanates a lot of light and much more than you’d get from a regular bedside lamp or a ceiling light. And this is what’s making the biological change. But of course, as you’ve read the book, you’ll see there are lots of other things that you can do that make a difference as well.

Jean Trebek: Right? Um, can you explain why light has such an impact?

Norman Rosenthal: Oh well, you can explain it in different ways. Remember, we evolved with light and dark. Um, you know, the early bird catches the worm. So it’s early because there’s dawn, there’s light around. It’s going to see the worm in the light of dawn. Now, of course, not such good news for the worm, but in any event, uh, we evolve with light and dark. And these were the time cues that enabled us to function in a world where light and dark are changing. And so just as they change in the day. So they change across the year. And so, um, maybe in the winter, we needed to be in our caves or in our dark places. Uh, there was very little food around. We needed to, uh, nurture our resources. And so the kind of hibernation that you see in animals happens in a kind of attenuated way, in a sort of weakened way in humans. And so with these, the day, the day and night rhythms of dark and light and the seasonal rhythms of short days and long days, we have evolved to incorporate these rhythms into our biology so that we function as best we can in a changing world.

Alison Martin: So that so interesting, because that’s what I was thinking when I was reading. If if we’ve evolved with this, why aren’t our contemporary brains used to it?

Norman Rosenthal: Well because we evolved over thousands and thousands of years, and our contemporary brains are geared to a society that’s only been working in this way for hundreds of years. And so we are still left with our old biology. However, we’ve tinkered with it, and the arrival of indoor lighting like the electric light has greatly changed how we live our lives. And even if you read reports of letters written in the Civil War time, before there was light all over the house and everywhere, um, you will find that sleep has changed over the time since the Civil War. However, um, for people with Sad, there is a decreased sensitivity to the light so that the ordinary indoor light may not be enough to keep them functioning well all year round.

Alison Martin: And did I understand correctly that in this book that there’s a difference between, uh, like a blue toned light and a yellow toned light? Did I understand that correctly? And could you explain that to me? Because I’m like, like, is the sun a blue tone?

Norman Rosenthal: No, no. Um, the sun generates full spectrum light because our spectrum that we’re used to is calibrated around the sunlight. Uh, so you’ll know if you go into a store to buy clothes and you want to see what the real color is, you want to see it in full spectrum light, right? Because if you see it in light that’s toned with a blue or a pink, it might look like this and that and then you buy this, by the outfits, and you take it out. And this isn’t what it looked like at all. So people have to sell it in the, in the full spectrum sunlight. Uh, so it’s it’s not blue. It’s not pink. It’s a nice balanced spectrum. In our attempt to replicate that with our ceiling lights and other lights, um, we create lights that are a little shifted this way or that way, but the light that we use for therapeutic purposes is the ordinary full spectrum light, or, um, it’s not loaded towards the blue or any particular color. It is just, um, an ordinary white light.

Alison Martin: Oh that’s interesting.

Jean Trebek: And so, doctor, can you also share with our listeners some other tips that help boost your the serotonin and the dopamine in your brain if you don’t have a light box readily available?

Norman Rosenthal: Definitely, definitely. Well, the one that is easiest is right at your front door and that is exercise. If you go walking…this is something I add in my own program. I add this to, I sit in front of the lights like I told you, and then I, I go walking fast up and down hills and I get a lot of light and an aerobic effect. And that’s a potent thing that you can do. Um, I work out and not only is the aerobic exercise helpful, but the strength training is helpful. These have got it now. Turns out very strong antidepressant effects. Mm. So that’s another thing you can do that’s very easy to do. You can have a room in your house. That’s your Florida room or whatever you want to call it that is painted light shades on the wall that’s got colored throws and colored scatter cushions and you just want to be there. You put bring a couple of plants in it, a couple of orchids, and wow, you’re already feeling better. So these are just a few little tips. And of course we can go all the way from there. There is, um, a special kind of therapy called cognitive behavior therapy or CBT, which is wonderful for Sad.

Norman Rosenthal: And and studies have actually shown this. For example, you know, when you’re feeling in your winter mode, you feel like a stick in the mud. You don’t feel like going out. You don’t feel like doing stuff. Um, maybe you even feel a little sorry for yourself. And that’s actually not good for you. I mean, I’m not talking in any absolute or moral sense, but it’s not good for your well-being. Because if you can maintain your connections with people, your social engagements, your activities, that’s much better. So that’s the behavioral part. You make lunch arrangements, you go see friends, uh, you go places, you do good things, and that keeps you feeling more cheerful. And then, of course, there is working with your thinking, the cognitive part of cognitive behavior therapy. Because a lot of times people think, uh, thoughts that make them depressed. Um, an example that I like is, let’s say I call a friend out and I say, hey, would you like to come to dinner this evening? And they say. Sorry. No, I can’t come this evening. And they don’t say, well, what about another evening? Or I’d love to, or why don’t you join us wherever we’re going, they just leave it at that. It’s kind of neutral.

Norman Rosenthal: It’s not bad, but it’s not really encouraging. And then if you’re in a depressed mode, you can go and say, wait a second. That person doesn’t really like me. They don’t really want to go to dinner with me. And, you know, come to think of it, I don’t think anybody really likes me. And I don’t think people are going to want to come to dinner with me, and I’m going to be all alone. You see how you’re going off to the races like that with negative thoughts and cognitive therapy says, wait a second, what are the other reasons why this person might not have come or be, you know, maybe they’ve got another arrangement, maybe they’re feeling lousy, maybe something awful has happened in their lives and they just didn’t want to tell you about it. So many things could be happening that have got nothing to do with you. And so what do we do about it? Well, try a couple more people, see if somebody might want to come put your hypothesis to the test that nobody wants to come with you. And sure enough, you call a couple of people and somebody says, wow, that’s great. I’m sitting miserable here at home and I’d love to come to dinner with.

Alison Martin: Um, I was wondering, you talk about females having SAD, a propensity for SAD, more than males, and I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that for our listeners.

Norman Rosenthal: Yeah, we’ve seen it and everybody’s seen it. Um, quite, uh, commonly is 3 or 4 to 1 females to males. So it’s quite a big difference. That is very likely due to the female reproductive cycle because one can speculate that in times gone by, when we didn’t have central heating and lights and all kinds of things, people had to be in their dark caves, and maybe the women had to be there when they were pregnant, giving, holding on to their babies. And the men had to be out in the fields. And maybe it evolved in such a way that the women were more inclined to be slowed down and in a more hibernating like mode in the winter, and the men less so. And maybe that’s just what was best for the survival of the group.

Alison Martin: Right! You know, when I, when I first, when we first came across you and I thought, oh, this will be interesting because I definitely don’t have this. That’s what I thought. I really look forward to the winter. I look forward to the summer. I love it all. But then when I read your book, I have so many of the symptoms. So is it possible, like I gain weight in the winter. I just want to stay inside. I want to be cozy. I could binge a series and be happy. And I’m wondering, could you have Sad and still be happy at Christmas and still be looking forward to the season? You understand my question?

Norman Rosenthal: I do, I do it’s a it’s a very interesting point because, you know, some people are happier people. There’s no doubt about it. They’ve got friends, they’ve got activities, they like things, and they may still have some of the vegetative symptoms slowing down, needing more sleep, eating more, gaining weight. And other people may have those plus the mood symptoms. Yeah. Um, so I’ve seen both kinds. And then what also happens is there’s another major factor in the mix and that is stress. Um, because that person who’s happy, who’s bingeing on the series, if all of a sudden they were settled with a deadline and some very heavy work that they had to do, and they’re not really on top form, and they’ve got things that they’re going to be judged and found wanting, you could change and become quite down. Yes. And that’s why one of the pieces of advice I give people is don’t work on a deadline that expects you to get your product in by the end of the winter. Rather, I gave myself a deadline here at the end of August. I didn’t give it the end of December because for various reasons, but a lot of it was I didn’t want to be stuck with a serious deadline when I was feeling slowed down.

Alison Martin: That’s great. Yes.

Jean Trebek: That’s a great act of love.

Alison Martin: Yes. Yeah.

Norman Rosenthal: As they say, you’ve got to be kind to your future self.

Jean Trebek: That’s so true. That’s exactly right. So I just want to switch gears for a moment and leave Sad and move into your love of poetry. Um. You wrote a beautiful book called The RX of Poetry. Did that evolve out of a way for you to be creative and help your your Sad, you know, the feeling of hibernation? Or were you always someone that was interested in in poetry?

Norman Rosenthal: Yeah. You know. As I’ve been talking, um, with people, more and more people have asked questions about my poetry RX book. And to me that is so thrilling. And I’ll tell you why. Because that book was roundly rejected by editors, uh, agents. They said there’s just no money in poetry and we’re not interested in it. And, um. I just had a feeling because I knew that poetry always meant so much to me, and I just had a feeling if I could just write it in the right way, that it would be accessible to people, they could really gain something from this, just as I have. So at that time, Jane Brody was the columnist, very prominent columnist for The New York Times, and she had written some very nice articles on my different books. And I contacted her and she said, poetry doesn’t do anything for me. I said, well, would you at least take a look at my manuscript? Well, you can send it, but I can’t get to it any time soon. You know, I was getting yes, I know we’ve done work together, so I’ll be polite and I’ll just give you the time of day. But don’t expect anything from me. So I didn’t even have a PDF. I had a Xerox copy of this book and I fedexed it to her. All the old technology coming through, I fedexed it to her and it was within half a day and I got an email back. Change of plans – I want to interview you tomorrow… It’s poetry Month and we’re going to we’re going to do this. And she wrote a column. I’ve never had anybody write such a loving column. And she said, look, I, I thought poetry meant nothing to me. But then I realized that my late husband was a lyricist and words were his daily diet. And, um. I just want to tell you that I’ve really, totally changed my mind on this subject, and I mean that to me, to get that from somebody I respected so much. And then I had to figure out a way to do it. So what I did was I divided it up into five sections. Have I sent you a copy of my poetry book? Do you have one?

Alison Martin: We got it. We just bought it

Norman Rosenthal: Oh my goodness. I’m I’m sorry to incur the –

Jean Trebek: No, no, we we just were so interested in it.

Norman Rosenthal: But there are five sections. The one is called Loving and losing. The one is a response to nature. It’s called that inward eye. Uh, then there’s the human experience. Then there is design for living, uh, and, uh, the search for meaning. And the last piece is aging and dying. Mm. And they’re 50 poems. And, um, I, I have heard so many people say – this means a lot to me – I keep it at my bedside. I read this, I read that. It’s been like one of the great, um, rewards of that I’ve ever written, because every poem I put out, the poem, I like the poem to be right up front so that nothing is there to distract you. And then I write – this is what I think the poem means. But you may be different. These are the takeaway points that you can get specific takeaway points from this poem. And um, then you know, who was the poet? How did she or he come to write this particular poem? And, um… each one. It makes sense that this one wrote this poem, that that one wrote that poem. And the whole sweep of human experience in my mind is encompassed in these 50 little gems. And, um. If ever you felt like doing another podcast or even just chatting, I can’t even tell you how moved I am that you have found this to be so meaningful. It makes me so happy.

Alison Martin: It’s so beautiful. You know, the we get the New Yorker, my husband and I, and there’s always little poems in the New Yorker, and it’s like a lost art. My parents were newspaper reporters, so I’m so used to that type of writing. But these and the way I love that, I think you say, um, read it out loud. Mhm. And um, that is so important and that advice really. I went back and read some of the New Yorker poems that way because when, when you read it. Allowed. It really changed the meaning. I thought that was a beautiful piece of advice that you gave.

Jean Trebek: Absolutely right. I to you. And you gave more than just reading your poem out loud. Um, the tips you give to really embrace the poem, the poetry and the author. And you close the gap of separation. You’re you. You help the reader become part of the experience of this poetry. It’s so beautiful.

Norman Rosenthal: Thank you. Yeah.

Alison Martin: Are you a poet?

Norman Rosenthal: You know I am not a poet. I did try and write poetry way back when, but. That wasn’t how my mind worked. I was more a scientist and I was more analytical. And that’s why I’ve taken my analytical skills and I’ve combined them with my love of poetry. But I can say I am in awe of what these people did in so few lines. Yeah, um, I don’t know if you remember, but this one just comes to mind. You know, when the challenger shuttle exploded. Peggy Noonan – the speech writer – gave a wonderful line to Ronald Reagan to give to commemorate the people who died. And what he said was the line – they have slipped the surly bonds of earth. Mm. And, um. The poem that the poem from which that comes is called High Flight, and it’s one of the 50 poems, and it is a young pilot in the Second World War who basically is so thrilled at the sensation and experience of flying. That he pushed his limits too much. And that was the last flight, or at least very close to the last flight. And I actually interviewed a pilot asking him, what is this experience? How do you feel? He says, it’s a wonderful feeling to be just on the top of the clouds and bumping up against these big, white, massive things and so each one, if you’d read this poem, um, apparently the TV always used to close with this particular poem being read late at night. That was how they would close routinely. I have slipped the surly bonds of earth.

Alison Martin: It’s beautiful.

Jean Trebek: I really appreciate when you read or hear a piece of poetry that makes you pause. Because everything’s so quick lately, you know, we’re expected to do so much and answer so quickly with our texts and, um, emails. But poetry really helps me kind of take a breath and take in what’s really going on most. So I want to say that I really admire that you are this scientist…You’ve really developed the analytical brain and you’ve really given so much back. And at the same time, you have this great love for the arts.

Norman Rosenthal: Well thank you. I actually feel enormously privileged to have had the opportunity to do some of these things. It’s like, you know, I came from South Africa, I came to America because I thought that’s where I could really make the biggest contributions. And this country has been really wonderful to me, and I am endlessly grateful.

Alison Martin: That’s so good to hear, because I think we’re living through a time where, um, there are so many opposing views. So to hear somebody say that the country has been good to them gives me chills. Was that line of one of your favorite poems or do you actually have another poem that is your favorite?

Norman Rosenthal: Well, you know, it’s like and I always think of it as like, if you have several children and somebody says, which is your favorite, right? You know, I’ll tell you something that I’ve realized lately, because I will read a poem to a friend or to somebody. And what I’ll feel is the emotion that’s embedded in the poem. I experience it every single time. It’s like, what is this magic that it doesn’t get stale, it doesn’t get old, it doesn’t get hackneyed? Yeah…if you read the same poem every single day, then okay. But you come back to your favorites and, and, you know, they have a, they have a deep way of getting deep inside you. I even, you know, I find even sometimes a tear or two come into my eyes and I think, oh my God, are you getting old and sentimental? Then I say, it’s just emotions. It’s just feelings. They’re not going to hurt anybody, you know?

Alison Martin: That’s sweet. What do you do? Like, do you have any sort of, um, any sort of grounding practice or spiritual practice that you could share with our listeners?

Norman Rosenthal: I do. I do I meditate every single day and it’s transcendental meditation. And the way it works is that you think a mantra, and you’re taught to do it. You think a mantra and in such a way that it takes you into a deep place in your mind. And it’s a profound rest, but it’s also a renewal. Uh, it’s not mindfulness. You don’t have to concentrate or focus on anything. Um, and it’s just in the meaninglessness and the glory of this space, you can renew yourself every single day. And when that happened to me, I’d first learned this as a young man in South Africa and, um, from a pretty young woman. And, um, I and I’ll tell you more about it because there’s a history there. And, um, I didn’t take her very seriously. We were all doing it. The Beatles had just gone to India. They’d gone to Maharishi. We all thought it was cool. And then I let it drop. 35 years later, I’m sitting in my practice and talking to a young man with bipolar disorder. And he tells me, you know what makes me happy most of the time is this practice, and you need to learn it. And he kind of nagged me. And, you know, I thought, sometimes the universe talks to you. Yes. And it can talk to you through a strange person. You wouldn’t even, you know, you can learn from anybody. I thought this man is really telling you something you need to pursue. And I renewed my technique. And this time it stuck. And I was so excited by what the potential for this technique is that I’ve written two books on that subject – Transcendence was the first one and Supermind was the second one. And in Supermind, I interviewed about 600 people who had been long standing meditators just to think of what was it that… How did they stay with the meditation? What did the meditation do for them?  I was fortunate to be able to talk to some amazing people – a Prima Ballerina in the New York City Ballet who was having fainting spells that were jeopardizing her career. She learns the technique and now she can dance. She doesn’t need to take a medicine. She stopped having fainting spells. Her physiology steadied and stabilized and on and on and on. A baseball pitcher that I worked with who fell off the, uh, postseason roster because his baseball, uh, floundered, got back onto his meditation again and got into the next postseason game and was able to be part of the winning team. And he had been crucial in helping them win the World Series. And one time I was visiting LA, he was there and he called me and he said, look, are you in your hotel room? I said, yeah, he said, can I just stop by? I said, sure, stopped by with a World Series ring. Um, one of these rings that they celebrate. And so, so, you know, out of the blue, marvelous things happen and wonderful things come if you just do the right thing, you know, that’s beautiful.

Alison Martin: That’s amazing. Yeah.

Jean Trebek: Yeah.

Alison Martin: Do you, you know, we just something funny that you said that the universe sometimes speaks to you through different people. We just interviewed Lorna Byrne, who, um, talked. Do you know who Lorna Byrne is? She talks to angels, and she’s been doing it all her life. And it’s so interesting. She’s in Ireland and just this beautiful, this beautiful person. And, um, she said exactly what you said. And it’s interesting hearing it come from scientists like you. And then someone that’s, you know, speaking to angels that sometimes the universe really can speak to you in ways through other people, and just to be open and receptive and curious, it sounded like you just went back to your curiosity about what this could do for you.

Norman Rosenthal: Yes, yes. That’s right. And and you’ve got to have a kind of an innocence about you, a sort of humility. I went back to South Africa. And for a visit. And there. I saw the young lady who had taught me originally. Now – an amazing, uh, powerful woman who’s taught probably more people TM than any other person. Probably, I don’t know, I haven’t counted, but she’s been there like 50 years teaching TM in Johannesburg and, um. You know. So I’m coming down to the TM center. They had a little event. And I’m sort of just, you know, sometimes you get into a little glum mood and I’m thinking, why do you work so hard on these books? Who reads these books? You know, it’s a bit of a pity party, as they say that I was having an open my email. And there is a letter from this woman, Vickie Broome, and she said, I just want you to know, we’re all having a sort of seminar on your poetry book this evening.

Alison Martin: Wow.

Norman Rosenthal: And I just wanted to share with you that we were all chatting about it, chatting about you, and we thought you might want to know. Isn’t that amazing?

Alison Martin: Beautiful. That’s great.

Jean Trebek: You know, that’s lovely.

Norman Rosenthal: So, um, you know, the world can sometimes be a very astonishing place, can sometimes be very harsh. But here in our space over here, uh, you’ve recreated some of the joy that you can experience just from being curious or being creative or or the joy of people talking to each other in ways that feel meaningful and fun and mutually creative and supportive.

Alison Martin: I know that I would like to, I think Jean would to like to, take you up on after we finish the entire poetry book, maybe we could take you up on going through it and having another discussion. Would that be something that you would be…?

Norman Rosenthal: Well, yes. With one. Small caveat don’t feel you need to go through the whole thing, okay? Because you’re setting a big goal for yourself and then you’ll feel, well, we haven’t really gone through this and we haven’t really gone through. Just as soon as you feel like it, okay, that’s the time to contact me.

Alison Martin: Perfect. And I’m not going to say I’m going to do it by the end of winter.

Norman Rosenthal: No… do it whenever it’s not one of those. It’s not a sort of obligation. It’s got to be a pleasure, you know? And, um. I would just love to read you anything just so that we have a poem to to close the.

Alison Martin: Oh, I would love that. That would be great.

Norman Rosenthal: Would you like that poem High Flight?

Alison Martin: Yes, please.

Norman Rosenthal: All right. It’s not very long. It’s a it’s a sonnet. A lot of these poems are sonnets because they’re short. Um. The chapter heading is The Enduring Thrill of the Moment. High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth. And danced the skies on laughter, silvered wings. Sunward, I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sunlit clouds. And done a hundred things you have not dreamed of. Wheeled and scared and swung high in the sunlit silence. Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delirious burning blue. I’ve touched the windswept heights with easy grace. Where never loch or even eagle flew. And while with silent lifting mind, I’ve tried the high and trespassed sanctity of space. Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Alison Martin: Thank you.

Norman Rosenthal: And that is his legacy. You know, I call it the Enduring Thrill of the Moment because it was just a moment and he captured it, and he mailed this poem to his parents, and he didn’t live much longer. But his poem and his mind and his spirit live forever. Really.

Jean Trebek: Yes. So true.

Alison Martin: Yes. That is… You’re so… You’re so gentle. Thank you so much for this. You’re really so wonderful.

Norman Rosenthal: Oh, thank both of you. It’s been such a treat. And, um, have a good evening.

Jean Trebek: And we’ll reach out to you again soon.

Jean Trebek: Yeah. Please do, whenever it works for you. Okay.

Alison Martin: Thank you so much. That was bye bye. Have a great day.

Norman Rosenthal: You too. Thank you.

Alison Martin: I so enjoyed him because even if you don’t suffer from Sad, he gave us so many tips in the book and in the interview and how to just feel comfortable in your own shoes, right? You know, through it all.

Jean Trebek: Yes. I mean, I noticed things that he talked about that I do on my own just walking in nature, or I do like to sit out in the sun a little bit or talk to my friends. And, and I always feel better. So, um, he was he was wonderful.

Alison Martin: And and the beauty of wrapping it up with that, with that poetry at the end, I found, I found that so moving. And since speaking to him and he, you know, he suggests you read poetry out loud, right? Which I think is such an excellent tip because since I’ve been doing that, we get the New Yorker in the, in the house here, and there’s always poems in it, and when you do it out loud, you say it out loud. It really hits you a different way.

Jean Trebek: Right? Well, you even taught me that, Alison, when we would write emails together to somebody, you you would say, let’s read it out loud. And it does tt helps.

Alison Martin: You see you see what the people are hearing. I just loved him. And, um, me too. I, I, I hope that you got something out of it, even if you don’t have sad.

Jean Trebek: Exactly. And his book on poetry is beautiful. He has it, uh, organized in a wonderful way that you can, um, look up, let’s say, grief. And then he offers a poem that relates to grief. I mean, it’s very generous of him.

Alison Martin: Yeah. Really beautiful. Look him up, Norman Rosenthal. And that’s it. We hope you we hope you aren’t sad.

Jean Trebek: Are not sad. I hope you’re happy.

Alison Martin: That’s right. We hope you’re happy. Have a great day. Thanks for listening.

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