After writing a soul-baring memoir about his late mother, Sherman Alexie has cancelled his book-tour dates due to depression. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian author wrote an open letter to his fans, in which he says that memories of his troubled past with his mother Lillian have "haunted [him] in spectacular ways" throughout the tour.
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me offers up the kind of conflicted maternal portraits we have come to expect from memoirists writing about their mothers. As Alexie documents in his new memoir, his relationship with Lillian left him "mother-stung." She was, in her son's words, "brilliant, funny, beautiful, generous, vindictive, deceitful, tender, manipulative, abusive, loving, and intimidating."
In his open letter, Alexie writes:
I have been sobbing many times a day during this book tour. I have sobbed in private and I have sobbed onstage.
I have been rebreaking my heart night after night. I have, to use recovery vocabulary, been retraumatizing myself.
Last week, I fell ill with a terrible headcold and had to cancel events in Tulsa and Missoula. But I also fell ill with depression. I medicated my headcold. I quickly healed from that simple malady. But I couldn't medicate my sadness—my complicated grief.
I sobbed and sobbed, and then I got on another airplane and continued my book tour.
Now, Alexie has decided to cancel his remaining tour dates, beginning in August, as a measure of self-care. Here's wishing him a swift and full recovery from this bout of depression.