Day 3: Writing our Stories: Memoir Writing and Self-Care: By Sandra Adell

Professor Sandra Adell reading from her book `Confessions of A Slot Machine Queen’

What began as a study into the workings of the casino world quickly spiral Sandra into an abyss of addiction and end up as her memoir. A Professor of literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she spoke to us about self-care while writing a memoir.

Dr.Florence Ebila headlined this conversation where Professor Adell shared her story and how writing a memoir helped her heal

She became a mother at the age of 14 and endured unimaginable suffering to keep and raise her two children. Surviving through an environment that was far from conducive, she managed to educate herself and raise her children until she was a respectable middle class black woman. The last thing she expected was to be drawn into an addiction cycle of gambling. It all began as research, but when she found herself walking into a neighborhood casino at 5:30 am, she knew she had a problem and checked herself into therapy. As she spoke to the counselor, Sandra kept imagining that this ‘person’ she had become could not be her. Eventually, she began to accept that there were issues from her past that she had not dealt with and needed to face. Her research became the basis for her memoir, ‘Confessions of a Slot Machine Queenpublished in 2010. She still promotes it across the country, with a motivation to reach out to vulnerable communities on the dangers of gambling addiction, which is a well orchestrated big business.

Every time she has to talk about it however, the pain of what she has been through resurfaces. She understands and spoke to the audience about the value of self-care. Because of the trauma that is relived with every discussion, writers must learn to take time out and receive constant care to survive. In her case, she has access to therapists during and after her presentations. Every writer must find ways to recover, time alone afterwards, anything that works.


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