The second issue in Pact Press’ anthology series had its official release on the second of this month. Howling Up to the Sky, our volume that tackles the complexities of the opioid addiction crisis, was welcomed by the staff at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina, and by a highly engaged audience. Regal House is immensely grateful to Quail Ridge for its ongoing support of Pact Press.
The evening started with a kind introduction of Regal House Publishing by Quail Ridge Books’ Kent Bryant, followed by more introductory comments by Jaynie Royal and Ruth Feiertag. We, Jaynie and Ruth, thank all our contributors whose courage and eloquence has given this terrible and pervasive crisis humanity and deepened the discussion about the problems of and solutions to this crisis that touches us all.
The heart of the evening came when two of our contributors, Dr. Ken Benson and Ms. Laura Golden, read from their essays that appear in the anthology. Dr. Benson spoke of his experiences as a surgeon, of the pressures he experienced as a resident to dispense opioids and other pain medications, and of the strides he and colleagues have taken to reverse this protocol. He also read a wrenching letter from a friend of his, another doctor, a man whose son lost his life to opioids, a letter that brought home the truth that addiction can catch any of us, no matter what our background.
Ms. Golden has involved herself with the North Carolina organization Roots of Recovery. She described meeting Catherine McDowell, the director of Roots of Recovery (and the author of the forward to this anthology) and becoming convinced that Ms. McDowell was filling needs for women fighting addiction that no other group could match, and doing do in innovative, effective, and compassionate ways.
Because most of our contributors live out of the area, a couple of our editors read other selections from Howling Up to the Sky. Ms. Royal read Susan Vespoli’s poem, “Chicken,” and Mr. Von Wise read part of “All the Junkies on Carr Avenue” by Damian Rucci and the opening paragraph of D. Ketchum’s essay, “Some Good Has Come of This.”
Our last speaker was Ms. Jonna Lee, whose nineteen-year-old son had died just three weeks before Howling’s release. She brought home the raw reality of what it is like to try to save an addicted child, pointed out the need for us all to be more aware of what addiction looks like, and embodied the grief and anger that permeates anyone who watched someone die from this addiction. We appreciate the bravery that it took for her to appear and speak of her terrible loss.
Each Pact Press anthology raises funds for a particular cause or organization. All the proceeds from Howling Up to the Sky will support Shatterproof, an organization devoted to helping families deal with the ravages of addiction. We are also grateful to Catherine McDowell of Roots of Recovery for writing the forward to this anthology.
Donate to Shatterproof here.
Donate to Roots of Recovery here.