Q & A with Peggy and Judy

How on earth did you go from a 30 year careers as a psychotherapists to writing and drawing?

Overtly: We want to share all the information we accumulated before it is thrown in the trash after we die.

Covertly: Blogging, writing and drawing are good ways to keep our brains from turning to mush while amusing ourselves. 

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You are not scientists so why the emphasis on neurology?

Long before it was talked about in psychology classes we were interested in the brain.  We found the research on neuroscience was helpful in explaining to our clients that mental health wasn’t a matter of will-power, or character.  When our clients learned how to “tweak” their thinking and behavior it helped  them tremendously.  

How do you stay happy?

It would be a bit suspecious if we were happy all the time – we too, are at the mercy of our brain’s neurochemistry.  So we use the Happy Hacks ourselves and we are happy to be able to continue to help others in our retirement.  

How would you describe your collaboration?

HAPPPY!  We’ve managed to focus on each other’s strengths and respect the differences.  In the years we’ve been co-blogging and co-authors there’s only been one time one of us got mad.  Crawling on hands and knees for forgiveness was appreciated!  Understanding human nature and knowing that we are there to support each other is easy. 

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What are each of your strengths?

Peggy is much better at details and staying on track.  Judy always has lots of ideas and depends on Peggy to keep her focused.  Judy has a bit of an “unconventional” view of the world.  Peggy is able to translate that into images which appear on the blogs and books. 

What are each of your weaknesses?

Being private people we respectfully decline to incriminate ourselves!  However, you can undoubtedly read between the lines of our strengths . . . Our biggest weakness, perhaps, is neither of us are marketeers and getting the word out about our blogs and books is difficult.

What’s your biggest failure?

Marketing, marketing and marketing.  It’s daunting and time-consuming.  We have a mailing list and send out newsletters and offer a LOT of free materials on both the blogs and through the newsletters.  We have Instagram, Pintrest, Linkedin, Twitter accounts but social media is like a bowl of melting fruit jello – lots of the “fruit” that was once tasty to people gets soggy and sinks to the bottom.  

What’s next for you both?

We are in a continual “state of evaluation”.  We’re always researching how to make our blogs & books better, more accessible.  There’s a huge backlog of information we’ve not yet posted or published – by last count there were over 1500 blog drafts and more than 5 stories ready to be edited, illustrated for publishing.  We probably have enough material to easily take us into our 90’s.

Why do you have 2 blogs? One is not enough?

We definitely are not minimalists.  MAXyourMIND posts focus on information about neuroscience and scientific research for physical, mental and emotional well-being.  CURIOUStotheMAX is our personal outlet to share things we find interesting about our world – everything from blogfish & the world to our own art, books and observations.  We post twice a week – one post for each blog.  

What do you do for fun?

Peggy takes care of her granddaughter Lucy several days a week.  Lucy is smart, inquisitive and keeps Peggy moving, laughing and learning.  Judy takes senior art classes to keep her “right brain” occupied so she doesn’t go bonkers.  Our collaboration on the blog “cartoon pictures” drawn for the posts amuses us amused and hopefully our subscribers too.

How did the two of you meet and decide to partner?

We went to school together from the 4th grade through high school.  After going our separate ways in college we serendipitously learned, 50 years later,  we were both psychotherapists, fascinated in neuroscience and lived in the same area.  After retirement Judy talked Peggy into blogging and the rest is history.  

Besides the blogs what else have you published?

Peggy was the first.  She wrote and illustrated the story of her real-life cat Maui learning to regain the use of his paralysed back legs.  It’s a wonderful story, if we do say so, for children to learn about how determination and persistence can help them overcome tremendous obstacles.  The book has been used by physical therapists, teachers and parents all over the world.

Peggy surprised Judy for her birthday by publishing The Real Tale of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.  It’s a re-telling of the original about friendship and hope.  Judy had written it to amuse herself and now it’s amusing children and their parents.

Hacking Your Way to Happiness has been in the works for years.  Starting with a compilation of blog posts on neuroscience and quick ways to trigger the neurochemistry of “happy”.  There is an E-book and a hard-copy book with the addition of work pages.

Stay tuned for the next projects already in the queue.