About the Staff

Carol Child, has published two books under her pen name Samantha Mozart, Begins the Night Music, A Dementia Caregiver’s Journal, Vol. I and To What Green Altar, A Dementia Caregiver’s Journal, Vol. II. Additionally, in July 2017 she published her theater script, Jane Austen Readings for Readers Theater, by Carol Child. The three books are available on Amazon.com in paperback and e-book formats. Ms. Child is author of newspaper and magazine (literary and mainstream) feature stories and profiles, is an essayist, a reviewer, has served as a community newspaper editor, is a greeting card verse writer and an award-winning poet. She analyzed and summarized legislation for constituents of a United States Congressman; and over the years researched and wrote marketing and public relations materials and tour scripts. She is a writing tutor and coach. You can view her portfolio clips at http://carolchildcommunications.com/wp/.

She was educated at Penn State University and California State University, The Small College, with an Area of Concentration in Civilizations, a Field of Interest in the Humanities, a music minor and where she served as a peer tutor for writing. She also studied ballet for many years.

T.J. Banks is the author of Sketch People: Stories Along the Way, A Time for Shadows, Catsong, Derv & Co.: A Life Among Felines, Souleiado, and Houdini, a cat novel which the late writer and activist Cleveland Amory enthusiastically branded “a winner.” Catsong, a collection of her best cat stories, was the winner of the 2007 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award. A Contributing Editor to laJoie, she is a columnist for petful.com and has received writing awards from the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA), ByLine, and The Writing Self. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Guideposts’ Soul Menders, Their Mysterious Ways, Miracles of Healing, and Comfort From Beyond series. She has also worked as a stringer for the Associated Press and as an instructor for the Writer’s Digest School. She writes a blog called Sketch People and a Facebook page called A Time for Shadows.

Ms. Banks earned her B. A. in English literature from Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.; and M. A. in English literature, also from Trinity College.

Samantha Mozart served for a decade as sole, unpaid caregiver for her mother, Emma, who suffered from dementia until she died at 97 in April 2012. On the rare occasions Ms. Mozart was able to get out of the house, she was surprised to find how often she encountered other caregivers. She found caregivers shared many experiences. When you are a caregiver, you feel alone no matter how much support you have around you. Ms. Mozart decided that by publishing these books she could share her experiences with a broader audience, lending them support. She has based her books on her blog.

Along the way to book publishing, a hospice volunteer suggested Ms. Mozart write a blog about her mother’s and her journey through dementia. Ms. Mozart ran for her computer. That was in May 2011. She took up the pen name Samantha Mozart, and gave her mother the pseudonym, Emma. She continues to write her blog, as you can see.

She finds writing her blog to be cathartic. “Research shows that journaling – or blogging – heals wounds and keeps you sane,” she says. “Journaling allows you to vent. Once I write and post an essay about my experience, I release it. I can laugh about it. It’s gone. Sometimes I don’t even remember what I’ve written about.

“Writing and publishing my books is cathartic, too,” she continues. “It puts the whole experience in the past. I haven’t forgotten it, but it’s released. Now it’s out there for others to share—because most of my story is how-not-to, not how-to. I was shooting in the dark all the way. My two books are anchored in deep thought yet buoyed by laughter.”

Moriarty. An L.A. friend took me to lunch around the time The Phantom of the Opera was playing at the Shubert Theatre in Century City, Los Angeles. As soon as we sealed ourselves into his sleek, black sports car, he said, “Listen to this.” He reached forward and pressed a button on the dash. He maxed out the volume: The Overture to The Phantom of the Opera. I fastened my seatbelt. Wow! Some catharsis.

The phantom of the opera made me think that here you are. You may be padding around in the alcoves, chambers, catwalks and labyrinths—in the latter, among whom Stephen King calls the boys in the basement—of my blog and I do not know you are here. You are here watching me, but you do not comment. You are here learning and knowing all about me while I know nothing about you. You are The Phantom of My Blog. You may be teaching me, even, and I receive your teachings mystically. While I may experience a presentiment of your presence, I do not know for sure that you are here. You? I listen. The power of the music of the night.

And, then one day, I am up on the catwalk, getting an overview of the action when the Phantom of My Blog comes up behind me and nudges me over the edge. I grab hold of a rope in the fly system. Not being much for rope climbing, I slide rapidly down to the knot at the end and get rope burn on the palms of my hands. At the end of my rope, I determine I have to let go and fall where I may….

I seem to have landed amidst of a heap of backdrops. It’s hard to know which scene I’m in, what my role is; moreover, when I recite my lines, my audience does not comprehend. I think I am speaking English to an English-speaking audience. Such is the relationship between this caregiver and the health care professionals. I recognize the futility of becoming the director of my own play; I’ve made one hundred false starts, to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, always interrupted by a change in scene.

Well, time unfolds revealing, in the episode LXXIV. The Blue Deer, that the Phantom has a name: Moriarty. He cleans up around the blog, hangs fresh headers, cooks borscht and other delicious meals, holds stimulating discussions with me at our blog round table, has a black, fluffy dog named Dickens, plays the banjo and is studying zither, but he doesn’t dust. He has a nutmeggy scent, so I always know when he’s around. And, yes, he insists he exists — a real, genuine Phantom.