What makes for a life with meaning and merit?
Sederer’s conversational prose takes us on a pilgrimage, unique and yet universal, marked by unforeseen circumstances and happenstance. Each step builds on the last and arcs towards the possibility – if opportunity is paired with the hard work - of contributing to a better world and the dignity that spawns.
Our journey through Sederer’s boyhood in NYC is drawn by the book’s 14 stories. But this is more than a ‘coming of age’ tale: Each story is paired with an essay that probes its theme as well as its relevance to our lives today. The book moves between the past and present, in his life and that of so many others, portraying an arc toward the values and beliefs that serve as an inner compass for a life well-lived.
In the 1950s, America was coming of age. During the same time, in the north Bronx and within a Jewish family, so was Lloyd Sederer.
This is not exactly a log-cabin story. But yet, in this story and essay collection, Sederer wrestles with everything from family and family businesses, to mischief, from playing music to gambling and running away from home, from rich people and Jewish people, to cars, and much more.
Through a unique juxtaposition of first-person stories and essays that further their theme, Sederer attempts to frame his childhood years within the pillars of mid-20th century thought and values —that education, work, and enterprise were the formula for realizing the American dream, that family was the foundation for all of this, and how tradition is bred into our lives and tribes.
Through these tales from when he was 8 until 17, and their modern-day essay expositions, Sederer illustrates our times, and the perspectives gained as a family man, a psychiatrist and a public health doctor, more than five decades later.
Face it, we got lucky -- that one of America's premier psychiatrists is also a story-teller of the first rank. And a humorist. And a supremely decent, self-deprecating and deeply-informed witness to a time and place -- New York in the 50s and 60s -- that'll live long beyond us in the human imagination. Walking with Lloyd through the pages of Ink-Stained for Life will make you laugh, and think, and cheer, and deeply feel what gives meaning to life. A page-turning jaunt of joy.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Hope in the Unseen," "The One Percent Doctrine" and "Life, Animated"
Lloyd Sederer’s Ink-Stained for Life offers a precious window into the lived experiences and meaning-making journey of one of New York’s (and beyond) most treasured and impactful psychiatrists. Albert Schweitzer once said, “My Life is My Argument.” Lloyd demonstrates in this beautiful memoir that his life is his argument. Filled with 14 stories from his boyhood, each matched with an essay relating it to our present world, and written with grace and humility, he helps us to see the beauty and adventure that lies in building a life in service to others.
Angela Coombs, MD
Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at Columbia and Medical Director of the ONTrackNY-Washington Heights Community Service at the NYS Psychiatric Institute
Rarely do we get to peek into the childhood years of a person who later in life became a friend or a colleague. Here we have a tightly packed account of boyhood experiences that by some unforeseen but delightful happenchance shaped Lloyd Sederer’s future as an eminent psychiatrist, public servant, author and critic. You will find among these inspiring pages the stepping stones that led to his being a catalyst for a better world and, also for many, a damn good friend.
Msgr. Donald Sakano
Priest of the Archdiocese of New York