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Upcoming book - Flunk. Start.: Report From a Former Scientologist, by Sands Hall

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by CommunicatorIC, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Upcoming book - Flunk. Start.: Report From a Former Scientologist, by Sands Hall.

    Available March 1, 2018.

    https://www.amazon.com/Flunk-Start-Report-Former-Scientologist-ebook/dp/B071P44P9R/

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    "Sands Hall has brought her remarkable talents to bear on this memoir. By turns endearing and alarming, this story describes the hazards involved in having to choose between . . . one sort of belonging and another. I consider it Sands' best book." —Lynn Freed, author of The Romance of Elsewhere and The Last Laugh

    In Flunk. Start., Sands Hall chronicles her slow yet willing absorption into the Church of Scientology. Her time in the Church, the late 1970s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion—what she found intriguing and useful—and how she came to confront its darker sides.

    As a young woman from a literary family striving to find her own way as an artist, Hall ricochets between the worlds of Shakespeare, avant-garde theater, and soap-opera, until her brilliant elder brother, playwright Oakley Hall III, falls from a bridge and suffers permanent brain damage. In the secluded canyons of Hollywood, she finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer.

    In this candid and nuanced memoir, Hall recounts her spiritual and artistic journey with a visceral affection for language, delighting in the way words can create a shared world. However, as Hall begins to grasp how purposefully Hubbard has created the unique language of Scientology—in the process isolating and indoctrinating its practitioners—she confronts how language can also be used as a tool of authoritarianism.

    Hall is a captivating guide, and Flunk. Start. explores how she has found meaning and purpose within that decade that for so long she thought of as lost; how she has faced the “flunk” represented by those years, and has embraced a way to “start” anew.

    Editorial Reviews

    Review

    Praise for Flunk. Start.

    "In this unflinching and nuanced self-portrait, Sands Hall examines a decade of entanglement with the cult of Scientology and her circuitous process of liberation. Interweaving the backstory of a tragic accident that left a hole in her legendary family, Hall takes readers on a profound journey of loss, longing, and recovery." ?Elizabeth Rosner, author of Survivor Cafe

    "Sands Hall displays her fine literary talent in Flunk. Start., a raw and moving account of her personal journey through… the Church of Scientology. Sands shares her uniquely Californian coming-of-age tale with grace and courage." ?Julia Flynn Siler, author of The House of Mondavi and Lost Kingdom

    "It is a great strength of Sands Hall's clear-eyed and compelling memoir that she shows what she found authentic and rewarding in the Church of Scientology, not merely its corruption and imprisoning dogma. There is regret in her account but little anger or blame. Her triumph is not that she got out, but that she winnowed what nourishment the church could provide and took it forward in her spiritual journey." ?John Daniel, author of Gifted and Rogue River Journal Praise for Catching Heaven


    Random House Reader's Circle Selection 2001
    Willa Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction

    "Rich, warm, and utterly satisfying… [A] wonderful debut from a first-rate storyteller." ?Amy Tan, author of The Valley of Amazement

    "[A] polished, accomplished debut… Endlessly intriguing… The prose is richly layered with metaphor and symbolism. For the discerning reader, nothing in this finely crafted work is extraneous." ?San Francisco Chronicle

    "Vibrant… Deftly reveals the push and pull between two sisters who love each other dearly, but who face new tensions when their lives collide in mid course… A realistic story of two women trying to let go of old hurts and find love that will last." ?The New York Times Book Review

    "Flashes of heart and soul…There is something achingly sad about these sisters' realization that some things in life have simply passed them by. And it's that simple truth that makes Catching Heavan a nice catch." ?New York Post

    "Sands Hall is a wonderful writer, full of soul and feeling." ?Anne Lamott

    "In the small western town of Marengo one person arrives, one person returns, one person stays put. Each inhabits a private world of possibility, passion, and regret. Bring them together and you have Sands Hall's Catching Heaven, a book that contains some of the realest fictional people you'll ever meet. Elegantly constructed, vividly conveyed, with heart enough for three." ?Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

    "Ms. Hall writes with a genuine gift for how we (humans) sound, and for sensing how we feel and think in our everyday lives. But she also seems to intuit what happens between these two realms - between the said and the thought and the felt. As Octavio Paz wrote, what's 'in between' is where the poetry lies. And so it does in Catching Heaven." ?Richard Ford, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of the Bascombe novels

    "With fluid, elegant prose and a watchful eye for detail, Hall has crafted a compelling novel about love, loss, and hope." ?The Sacramento Bee

    Praise for Tools of the Writer's Craft

    "Superbly practical, filled with terrific exercises, anecdotes and examples. Sands Hall is a beautiful writer and a brilliant teacher." ?Max Byrd, author of Grant

    "Sands Hall's love of the written word has inspired hundreds of her students, including many grateful published authors." ?Steve Susoyev, author of People Farm

    "Reading this book is like learning how a juggler juggles. It will be invaluable for writers new and old, and for anyone giving or taking a writing workshop." ?Lynn Freed, author of The Romance of Elsewhere

    About the Author

    SANDS HALL is the author of the novel, Catching Heaven, a Willa Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction, and a Random House Reader’s Circle selection; and of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. She teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, the Community of Writers, Squaw Valley, and is a Teaching Professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.


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  2. EXCERPT.

    https://www.amazon.com/Flunk-Start-Report-Former-Scientologist-ebook/dp/B071P44P9R/

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

    Foreword: Knowledge Report For a decade, I pretended that a decade of my life hadn't happened. Those "lost" years included the seven I was involved with the Church of Scientology, and the three it took to be certain I wouldn't, again, return. Eventually, I began to peer and prod and even write about those years and just as I'd completed a shaggy draft of this memoir, found out that Jamie, the man who'd introduced me to the Church, had died. A memorial was planned for him in Los Angeles, a city I'd fled decades before and since visited just once?and then only because a book tour took me there. Because I'd been examining what had come of meeting and then marrying Jamie, it seemed imperative to attend his memorial, even though it meant putting myself back in the maw of what I'd first found scary, then intriguing, and then, during the awful time of leaving, terrifying.

    I'd also see people who'd once been incredibly dear to me but with whom, since leaving the Church, I'd lost contact. One of them, Paloma?who'd been not only a close friend, but also one of my auditors (Scientology's form of counselor)?even offered her guestroom. Paloma's open-heartedness and her willingness to walk outside Scientology's boundaries moved and surprised me: generally, those in the Church do not associate with those who have defected from it. But Paloma welcomed me, and, as we always had, we talked deeply, including about what we were currently writing. She pressed, and finally I offered up that I'd finished a draft of a memoir.

    "About Scientology!" I nodded, and she looked shocked. I told her it was also about my family, "who was its own kind of cult, you know," I said, laughing.

    She looked troubled, and after a bit more discussion, I suggested we not talk further about it. "When you start your next chunk of auditing," I said, "you're going to have to answer those 'security questions' about who you've been talking to. I don't want to make trouble for you in any way."

    Paloma shook her head. "I don't have that kind of relationship with the Church. I won't let them dictate who are and who are not my friends."

    I found this admirable, and even possible: Paloma has been married to a non-Scientologist for three decades; perhaps she and the Church?she and her own psyche?had figured things out. And for a few months after that remarkable and ultimately very heartwarming time in Los Angeles, she and I stayed in touch. In one startling phone call she even implied that she might have accomplished all she needed to in the Church.

    However, almost immediately after that admission, the phone calls and emails stopped. As Scientologists put it, we "fell out of comm." I was not surprised. I knew she was regretting our candid discussions. A few months later, a mutual friend told me she was ill. This, too, I did not find surprising. Because Scientology?like Christian Science and other spiritual paths?believes that physical troubles are linked to emotional and psychological ones, I was fairly sure that Paloma was tracing her illness back to our talks: If she had doubted, and certainly in communicating such feelings to an ex-Scientologist, she was guilty of transgressions against her church. By now she'd be seeing someone known as the "Ethics Officer." Maybe getting auditing. In any case, spending a lot of money "handling" the fact that she'd talked to an apostate. She would not be in touch again.

    So I was startled when, a few months later, I received a business-sized envelope with her name and address in the upper left hand corner.

    Standing in the morning sun next to my mailbox, which is at the end of my driveway in the rural area where I live, I opened it. Inside were three typed pages. Centered at the top of the first page were the words:

    Knowledge Report

    For even a seasoned member of the Church of Scientology, the phrase, "Knowledge Report" can buckle the knees; to be the subject of one can curdle the blood. Knowledge Reports are one of the increasingly totalitarian tactics Hubbard employed as Scientology became bigger and more successful?and more controversial. In a 1982 policy letter, "Keeping Scientology Working," he writes that for an organization to run effectively, "the individual members themselves enforce the actions and mores of the group."[ii] This leads to rampant paranoia, as it's possible to imagine that every step you take in your job?especially if you work in an organization established on Hubbard's principles?and indeed in your life, is being observed: snitching is encouraged. As a Knowledge Report may lead to intense disciplinary measures, to receive one is literally hair-raising.

    The walk out to my mailbox that morning was in order to stretch my legs and take a break from writing; I was almost done with a second draft of the memoir. By that time, I had processed enough of my emotions about the Church to be able to give a laugh at what I held in my hand, although it was a shocked laugh. I understood why Paloma might have been led to write a Knowledge Report, but why on earth would she send me a copy? It would be placed in her Ethics folder?this much I remembered from my time in the Church?but I wasn't a Scientologist, hadn't been one in over a decade; Scientology's protocols had nothing to do with me.

    Nevertheless, as I read what Paloma had written, my world tilted and spun.

    Time, Place, Form, Event,[iii] Hubbard requires in such a report, and Paloma supplied them. She described our friendship while I was in the Church, discussed her role as my auditor, addressed how my parents had been virulent in their disapproval, how the Church had dubbed them Suppressive Persons and insisted I formally disconnect from them, which I'd refused to do. She also included details of our recent talks, including the fact that I'd called Scientology a "cult"; and that?this was the "knowledge" she was "reporting"?I was writing a memoir about it. Except for perspective (her point of view was not mine), what she wrote was neither histrionic nor incorrect. It was knowledge?her knowledge?and, being a good Scientologist, she reported it.

    I scanned the pages again, wondering what her purpose was. Was the Report was designed to scare me? Would the Church, having this knowledge, attack me, as they are infamous for doing to those who criticize them? Was this intended to "shut me up?"

    Of course it was intended to scare me, and to shut me up: the Church uses these totalitarian methods with utter purposefulness. And it demands its practitioners employ them as well, creating a semi-hysterical "us versus them" tension that keeps those practitioners in thrall. I knew this. I was even empathetic to her need to employ every available tool to make her illness go away. Still, I was shocked that Paloma, smart and kind, and a writer herself, would be willing to subject a fellow writer, and a friend, to such a thing.

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  3. PART 2 OF EXCERPT AND PRODCUT DETAILS.

    https://www.amazon.com/Flunk-Start-Report-Former-Scientologist-ebook/dp/B071P44P9R/

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    But why be shocked? Paloma had been a Scientologist for at least thirty years, weathering decades of attacks against Church practices. Her decision to file a Knowledge Report?and to send a copy to me?is simply an example of the mind control her Church exercises, teaching its practitioners, as they accept and embrace its commonsensical and useful ideas, to accept and embrace its authoritarian and outrageous ones. Scientologists willingly and of their own accord place those blinding mechanisms around their intelligences?so that they can continue to believe.

    I know, because I was once so persuaded. With determination, I'd screwed those mechanisms into place, and in spite of ferocious doubts, kept them there a long time.

    I slid the pages of the Knowledge Report back into its envelope and headed back up the driveway, thinking of the many memoirs, written by former Scientologists, filled with their dreadful stories, and of the nonfiction books and documentaries that substantiate these abuses; thinking too, how I have no specific abuses to report in my own book?except how and why I came to be in a cult for seven years. Beyond this incident of receiving a Knowledge Report-?if one can call it an "incident"?I had no personal outrage or scandal to relate. I never had to sleep in a closet, or scrub a latrine with my toothbrush; I was never locked in a trailer playing musical chairs with my future attached to grabbing a seat. I lost dear friends when I finally left, but I didn't have to abandon cherished family, leap an electric fence on a motorcycle, execute a complicated escape plan.

    Although, I did lose things. Those years, for instance.

    That's how I'd thought of it, for a very long time.

    However. Scientologists, as they learn a particular skill, "drill" that skill with a partner. If one does the drill incorrectly, the partner says, "Flunk." And, immediately, then, "Start." The first few times I experienced this I'd been startled, even horrified, but I came to see its efficacy: you just get on with doing the thing you didn't do correctly the first time. Staying in Scientology as long as I did, I felt I'd "flunked" a huge chunk of my life. But writing the book was changing that perspective, and I was finding a possible "start." Certainly in examining those "lost" years and what, in fact, I might have gained from them. Also the hope that the book might bolster a person doubting her own involvement in the Church to find the courage to leave; maybe it would even include those who felt they'd tossed a decade into the dustbin in other ways?a drug problem, a destructive relationship?and offer a lens through which to see meaning and purpose. Not so much in having made those choices in the first place, but in the life we have as a result. That is, having "flunked," there is the option to "start."

    All this I thought about on that walk back from the mailbox. Then I settled in again at my desk, put the envelope in a drawer, and got back to work. I was, I realized somewhat grimly, writing a knowledge report of my own.


    Product details

    Print Length: 368 pages
    Publisher: Counterpoint (March 1, 2018)
    Publication Date: March 1, 2018
    Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    Language: English
    ASIN: B071P44P9R
    Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    X-Ray:
    Not Enabled
    Word Wise: Not Enabled
    Lending: Not Enabled
    Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
    Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,581,784 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
    #299 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Other Religions, Practices & Sacred Texts > Scientology
    #2908 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Faith
    #7136 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Worship & Devotion > Faith


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  4. Sands Hall Scientology Service Completions.

    http://www.truthaboutscientology.com/stats/by-name/s/sands-hall.html

    **********************************************************************************
    Sands Hall: Midnight Decision

    http://sandshall.com/midnight-decision/

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    I married Jamie Faunt, bass player extraordinaire, in 1982; we divorced in 1984; in our time together he introduced me to Scientology, where (I’ve often thought) I squandered too many years of my life.

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  5. Sands Hall, author of the upcoming book Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, was interviewed by Andy Nolch on the Indie Scientology Podcast.

    Notice the new title.

    It appears the book will be available on March 13, 2018.




    It also appears the book has a new cover:

    3lY3ENM.jpg
  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    New memoir ‘Flunk. Start.’ richly illuminates the appeal — and betrayal — of Scientology

    By Tony Ortega, February 27, 2018

    Quote:

    When the first notices for a memoir about Scientology coming out by author Sands Hall started appearing online some months ago, we distinctly remember former Scientologists and other Scientology watchers asking, “Sands who?”

    Scientology memoirs are much more common today than they were just a few years ago now that the church’s terror machine has been disrupted somewhat, but they still tend to be written by people whose names are well known in the ex-Scientology community: Janis Gillham Grady, Karen Pressley, Ron Miscavige, Leah Remini — just to name a few from the last couple of years, each of them very well known before their books came out.

    Hall points out herself that she isn’t a former Scientology celebrity like Leah Remini, and she’s also not a former high-ranking Sea Org official dishing new revelations about the inner workings of the church.

    But her decades as an author, playwright, and musician is what really sets this book apart: Sands Hall is an experienced literary talent and writing teacher whose seven years in Scientology from about 1982 to 1989 may not provide new revelations about Scientology’s controversies, but they do provide some of the most penetrating, illuminating prose about how an educated and skeptical person could get so deeply into, and then struggle to escape, what everyone around her warned was a dangerous cult.

    Another thing setting this book apart is that so much of it isn’t about Scientology but about Hall’s fascinating life journey as the daughter of a well known novelist, Oakley Hall, and how she and her older brother, Tad (known professionally as Oakley Hall III), both struggled to make their own way as artists under their father’s weighty reputation.

    Sands is quite self-aware about how good she had it growing up: Her famous father and her mother, Barbara, provided the sort of home that most people would kill for. The world-traveling Halls were immersed in a life of books and authors and wine-soaked parties and an ongoing pursuit of a meaningful life. How could someone brought up in that kind of loving family and utter support be sucked into, of all things, Scientology?

    As Tad’s self-destructive habits derailed his path as a playwright, Sands found her own journey disrupted as she struggled as an actor in New York and Los Angeles. Through a friend, she managed to get into the acting classes of Milton Katselas, a Scientologist we’ve written about numerous times and whose Beverly Hills Playhouse was a major conduit to Scientology. Later, she met a bassist, Jamie Faunt, who played with Chick Corea. Hall was charmed by Faunt, but she couldn’t believe that she was falling for a Scientologist — every step of the way, she seemed very aware of how wrong it was even to entertain the idea.

    But describing a gathering with Faunt and his fellow musicians, she captures the sense of her objections starting to melt away as these intelligent, talented people described Scientology’s metaphysical concepts in the best possible light. A better world, focused on improvement from within, and helping your fellow man? Against her own misgivings, she felt herself getting swept into it.

    Along the way, Hall does a brilliant job helping the reader learn the vocabulary and concepts of Scientology in a manner that many others have tried, but few with such facility. Readers with no knowledge of Scientology will find themselves thinking in terms of the overt-motivator sequence and the conditions, and without having to take courses at their local org. Hall takes us through the lingo as she does the Comm Course, PTS/SP, the Purif, Hubbard Qualified Scientologist, and also trains at the Advanced Org in Los Angeles so she can become a Course Supervisor at a mission in Beverly Hills.

    Throughout these steps deeper into the church, she tells us she has doubts. But she also admits that she simply didn’t see much of the abuse that came out later in the accounts by former Sea Org members and high ranking officials. She heard about the RPF, and about David Mayo being declared, and about some other things, but it would be many years before she learned the extent of it. Even in her relatively low-level position, she could see how insidious Scientology’s mindset was, and how it was stifling her career, encouraging her to push away her family, and putting her into a philosophical hamster wheel that became incredibly difficult to escape from.

    Hall anticipates that her book won’t please everyone. She knows that friends she’s had in Scientology who she managed to hang onto after leaving the church will “disconnect” from her for writing the book. But she knows also that Scientology critics will have reason to complain as well.

    “There may be those who attack the book for not being harder on the Church, who will insist that the things I found effective are so much psychobabble,” she says, and we expect that will be the case. She still describes experiences she had in the “training routines” or in auditing in mystical terms that “independent Scientologists” will hail and church critics will jeer, for example.

    But many former Scientologists will tell you that there is “good” in L. Ron Hubbard’s work, that their early experiences in Scientology were valuable, even if they later felt betrayed by an increasingly authoritarian organization under the leadership of David Miscavige. In that regard, Hall is very much like many of the former Scientologists we’ve talked to.

    Maybe that’s why, time and again, the characters we most identified with in Hall’s memoir were her parents, who couldn’t believe that they’d raised a Scientologist. We really enjoyed the scene when Hall tried to explain to her father — a novelist — that Scientology’s great value was that it had taught her how to use dictionaries and look up the etymology of words. You can practically see his veins popping in his forehead.

    We would have loved to have a glass of wine with Oakley and Barbara Hall.

    And heck, maybe we’ll get a chance to raise a glass with Sands. But we may just have to get into it with her about all that woo and the TRs, sheesh.

    Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology
    By Sands Hall
    Published by Counterpoint
    March 1, 2018

    Source: https://tonyortega.org/2018/02/27/n...nates-the-appeal-and-betrayal-of-scientology/
  7. Editorial Reviews currently featured on Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/Flunk-Start-Reclaiming-Decade-Scientology/dp/1619021781

    "Novelist and actress Hall (Catching Heaven) probes her descent into Scientology in this impassioned, wonderfully constructed memoir . . . Hall reflects with brutal honesty on her decisions throughout this meticulously crafted book, which explores her negative experiences with Scientology and how her desire to please led her to believe in the unbelievable." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "Serves as a significant behind-the-scenes look at this cultlike religion. Frank and edifying . . . A good complement to Lawrence Wright's Going Clear." ―Kirkus Reviews

    "Like many former Scientologists, Hall is honest about the insidious ways it can capture and isolate its adherents. It’s a memoir of a life filled with joy and tragedy, and readers will appreciate the author’s candor." ―Booklist

    "Sands Hall's transcendent memoir, Flunk. Start., describes, with precise and utterly absorbing detail, her experience in the world of Scientology. But this is also a story that explores so many issues―how language is used to both illuminate and obscure, how we long for connection and meaning; it's also a vivid portrait of how we find a place in our family and find a path through chaos. I could not put down this book―it is a triumph, a work of great honesty and insight. It is a necessary book for our time." ―Karen E. Bender, author of Refund

    "It is a great strength of Sands Hall's clear-eyed and compelling memoir that she shows what she found authentic and rewarding in the Church of Scientology, not merely its corruption and imprisoning dogma. There is regret in her account but little anger or blame. Her triumph is not that she got out, but that she winnowed what nourishment the church could provide and took it forward in her spiritual journey." ―John Daniel, author of Gifted and Rogue River Journal

    "Sands Hall has brought her remarkable talents to bear on this memoir. By turns endearing and alarming, this story describes the hazards involved in having to choose between a strong, loving family and a demanding, seductive church―between one sort of belonging and another. I consider it Sands's best book." ―Lynn Freed, author of The Romance of Elsewhere and The Last Laugh

    "In this unflinching and nuanced self-portrait, Sands Hall examines a decade of entanglement with the cult of Scientology and her circuitous process of liberation. Interweaving the backstory of a tragic accident that left a hole in her legendary family, Hall takes readers on a profound journey of loss, longing, and recovery." ―Elizabeth Rosner, author of Survivor Café

    "Sands Hall displays her fine literary talent in Flunk. Start., a raw and moving account of her personal journey through the Church of Scientology. Sands shares her uniquely Californian coming-of-age tale with grace and courage." ―Julia Flynn Siler, author of The House of Mondavi and Lost Kingdom

    "Sands Hall, daughter of a novelist whose writing workshop launched the careers of dozens of famous authors, was born into intellectual splendor, but worried about living up to her family's reputation and expectations. How Scientology used those youthful fears to rope her into one of the greatest mind-control hustles of all time is a cautionary tale not only for our religious life, but especially now, for our political one." ―Jordan Fisher Smith, author of Engineering Eden and Nature Noir
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  8. Lit Hub: "Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology" Is One Of The 15 Books You Should Read This March.

    https://lithub.com/15-books-you-should-read-this-march/

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Sands Hall, Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology
    (Counterpoint)


    Flunk. Start. is an intriguing, beautifully written memoir by Sands Hall, a writer, singer/songwriter and actress raised in California in the literary world. Her father Oakley Hall was a novelist, founder of the UC Irvine writing program and co-founder of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. With his wife Barbara, he was at the center of an ever-changing artistic scene. Her brother Oakley Hall III was a rising star with his own theater group performing summers in Lexington, NY in the Catskills, when he sustained a life-changing brain injury. Hall had a part in a soap opera shooting in New York at the time of her brother’s accident. ” . . . when he fell and damaged his brain, and I lost my brother, my leader, my model,” she writes, “I plunged into a vertigo that—so it seems now—spun me directly toward the Church.” Hall was drawn into the Church of Scientology, after being introduced through acting colleagues, first in New York, then in Los Angeles. She spent nearly a decade immersed in Scientology—seven in which she was involved with the church, three in which she decided to leave for sure. She toggles between her family and the church, digging deeply into the dynamics of power and control, love and compassion, before coming to a surprising resolution.

    –Jane Ciabattari, Lit Hub columnist

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  9. Sat., March 17, 2018: Sands Hall, author of "Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology" in Corte Madera (Marin County), CA.

    https://www.bookpassage.com/event/sands-hall-flunk-start-corte-madera-store

    * * * * * BEGIN INTRODUCTION * * * * *

    In Flunk. Start., Sands Hall chronicles her slow yet willing absorption into the Church of Scientology. Her time in the Church, the 1980s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion--what she found intriguing and useful--and how she came to confront its darker sides.

    As a young woman from a literary family striving to forge her own way as an artist, Hall ricochets between the worlds of Shakespeare, avant-garde theater, and soap opera, until her brilliant elder brother, playwright Oakley Hall III, falls from a bridge and suffers permanent brain damage. In the secluded canyons of Hollywood, she finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer.

    In this candid and nuanced memoir, Hall recounts her spiritual and artistic journey with a visceral affection for language, delighting in the way words can create a shared world. However, as Hall begins to grasp how purposefully Hubbard has created the unique language of Scientology--in the process isolating and indoctrinating its practitioners--she confronts how language can also be used as a tool of authoritarianism.

    Hall is a captivating guide, and Flunk. Start. explores how she has found meaning and purpose within that decade that for so long she thought of as lost; how she has faced the "flunk" represented by those years, and has embraced a way to "start" anew.

    Sands Hall is the author of the novel Catching Heaven, a WILLA Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction, and a Random House Reader's Circle selection; and of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer's Craft. She teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and is an Associate Teaching Professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

    LOCATION:
    51 Tamal Vista Blvd
    Corte Madera, CA 94925


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  10. Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Event entry from the Time Tested Books website:

    http://timetestedbooks.blogspot.com/2018/02/tuesday-march-20-sands-hall-on.html

    * * * * * BEGIN INTRODUCTION * * * * *

    In Flunk. Start., Sands Hall chronicles her slow yet willing absorption into the Church of Scientology. Her time in the Church, the late 1970s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion—what she found intriguing and useful—and how she came to confront its darker sides.

    As a young woman from a literary family striving to discover her own way as an artist, Hall ricochets between the worlds of Shakespeare, avant-garde theater, and soap opera, until her brilliant elder brother, playwright Oakley Hall III, falls from a bridge and suffers permanent brain damage. In the secluded canyons of Hollywood, she finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer.

    In this candid and nuanced memoir, Hall recounts her spiritual and artistic journey with a visceral affection for language, delighting in the way words can create a shared world. However, as Hall begins to grasp how purposefully Hubbard has created the unique language of Scientology—in the process isolating and indoctrinating its practitioners—she confronts how language can also be used as a tool of authoritarianism.

    Hall is a captivating guide, and Flunk. Start. explores how she has found meaning and purpose within that decade that for so long she thought of as lost; how she has faced the “flunk” represented by those years, and has embraced a way to “start” anew.

    * * * * * END INTRODUCTION * * * * *
  11. Thursday, March 15, 2018: Yuba Lit Lit hosts the launch event for the book “Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology” by Sands Hall at the Stone House in Nevada City.

    https://yubalit.org/2018/02/23/the-art-of-memoir-with-sands-hall-march-15th-8-p-m-at-the-stone-house/

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Yuba Lit Presents: The Art of Memoir With Sands Hall

    Celebrating the release of her acclaimed new memoir

    FLUNK. START.: RECLAIMING MY DECADE LOST IN SCIENTOLOGY

    Plus five audience flash-readers chosen by raffle

    Thursday, March 15th

    Special time: 8 p.m.

    The Stone House, 107 Sacramento St., Nevada City

    $10 at the door

    No-host bar

    RSVP to save your seat by emailing yubalit@gmail.com

    An early candidate for memoir of the year, this is a thrilling story of one woman’s search for truth and her place in the world.
    –Library Journal

    In Flunk. Start., Sands Hall chronicles her slow yet willing absorption into the Church of Scientology. Her time in the Church, the 1980s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion?what she found intriguing and useful?and how she came to confront its darker sides.

    SANDS HALL is the author of the novel Catching Heaven, a WILLA Award Finalist for Best Contemporary Fiction, and a Random House Reader’s Circle selection; and of a book of writing essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft. She teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and is an associate teaching professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *



    W507UBm.jpg
  12. The Union: A fresh start: Former Scientology member shares her memoir with Yuba Lit

    https://www.theunion.com/entertainment/a-fresh-start-former-scientology-member-shares-her-memoir-with-yuba-lit/

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    For better or worse, the Church of Scientology has become somewhat of a household name. The controversial church — which counts stars like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley among its devout followers — has been making headlines since its formation in 1954, reportedly for its cult-like atmosphere and allegedly manipulative commercial practices.

    The religious organization has been profiled numerous times by the media, but the church remains an enigma to many standing on the outside.

    Sands Hall knows a lot about the often contentious religion after spending a decade of her life as a member of the Church of Scientology. When the church encouraged her to cut ties with some of her loved ones, Hall made the decision to leave the organization, and is now releasing a memoir titled "Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology."

    "The title of the book — 'Flunk. Start.' — is a term that is used in Scientology training drills," Hall said. "It's said without anger or irritation; it just means, 'That wasn't quite right; do it again; do it better.' And that's the idea that is central to the book: that we can fail (flunk) pretty miserably, and in all kinds of ways — sticking too long in a bad marriage, addiction to opioids, our reaction to a personal tragedy — but that one can inspect those years, and that 'failure' and find a way to 'start' again. In no way is that a new idea, but I hope the way I offer my own story might inspire others."

    Those in Nevada County will have a special opportunity to celebrate the release of "Flunk. Start." with the author herself, as Yuba Lit presents The Art of Memoir with Sands Hall, March 15 at the Stone House in Nevada City.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
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  13. Triumph Member

    Lancaster online
    F&M professor reflects on the 7 years she spent in the Church of Scientology

    • JON FERGUSON | LNP Staff

    Sands Hall says she had no agenda when she decided to write a memoir about the decade she spent entwined with the Church of Scientology.
    The Franklin & Marshall College professor says she had no desire to bash the controversial organization, which has faced a barrage of criticism from former members in recent years.
    Rather, Hall hoped her book, “Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology,” would help readers understand why someone like her would become a scientologist.

    more at link
    https://lancasteronline.com/feature...cle_6e5cf638-39d8-11e8-8bcb-2bbbd4b9d9cf.html
  14. An excellent book review of "Flunk. Start. Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology."

    The Nation - The Power of the Word: Scientology’s unique manipulations of language seduced the novelist Sands Hall and kept her bound to the church.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/the-power-of-the-word/

    By Michael Friedrich

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    In 1986, after years of illness, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard died, leaving the church to his key deputy, David Miscavige. Under its new leader, Scientology changed its image dramatically: Hubbard’s absurd cravats and trademark leer gave way to Miscavige’s gleaming business suits and beaming professional smile. Former leaders were euphemistically “rehabilitated.” Small and secretive gatherings blossomed into celebrity engagements in Sheraton Hotel conference rooms. In a word, the church went corporate.

    One thing that makes Scientology uniquely American is its amalgamation of corporate and authoritarian modes of social control. “[P]art of what made me get out had been observing that increasingly corporate mindset,” recounts the novelist Sands Hall in her intriguing new memoir, Flunk. Start. Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology. “This is ironic, of course, considering the authoritarian mentality of the Church under Hubbard, but most of those years I managed to stay unaware.” How this combination attracts untold thousands of members—to what is, by most accounts, a cult—has received much attention in the decades since Scientology’s founding in the early 1950s.


    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
    • Like Like x 1
    • Like Like x 1
  15. PODCAST: Natural Born Alchemist - Episode 177: scientology

    http://www.naturalbornalchemist.com/episodes/2018/6/3/episode-177-scientology

    OR

    https://player.fm/series/natural-born-alchemist/episode-177-scientology


    * * * * * BEGIN INTRODUCTION * * * * *

    My guest in this episode is author, theatre director, actor and musician Sands Hall. She has recently released her book Flunk. Start. In this book Sands Hall chronicles her slow yet willing absorption into the Church of Scientology. Check her work out at www.sandshall.com

    * * * * * END INTRODUCTION * * * * *
  16. The Wrong Guy Member

    From Sands Hall’s excellent ‘Flunk. Start.’ — the paradox of ‘Keeping Scientology Working’

    By Tony Ortega, July 21, 2018

    Quote:

    Our Saturday ‘Scientology Lit’ series continues with a glimpse of Sands Hall’s richly penned memoir, Flunk. Start.: Reclaiming My Lost Decade in Scientology. Sands, a veteran musician and writing instructor, may not have been a Sea Org member or high-ranking Scientology executive, but we found her book to be one of the best for explaining the “tech” that members encounter and the ways that Scientology affects the mind. She gave us this except to share with you.

    Continued at https://tonyortega.org/2018/07/21/f...t-the-paradox-of-keeping-scientology-working/
  17. 'How I Fell in Love With Scientology," an excerpt from "FLUNK. START. Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology" by Sands Hall.

    https://www.lennyletter.com/story/how-i-fell-in-love-with-scientology

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT OF THE EXCERPT * * * * *

    I spent ten years of my life pretending that decade in Scientology hadn’t happened (seven years in the Church, and three more before I was certain I wouldn’t be persuaded to return). It took another decade to confront and start to write about it. All these years later, I still recall those days — those years — I spent afflicted by doubt. I often wondered if others felt that way. I often thought of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Who would be the little boy who pointed, who would finally say what needed to be said?

    When would that person be me?

    * * * * * END EXCERPT OF THE EXCERPT * * * * *

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