Elliott B. Oppenheim, MD, JD, LLM Health Law has enjoyed an interesting life and he is writing a fictional memoir, no holds barred… the most intimate portrait in American literature.
Oppenheim’s Waiting for Winter is a pentology, like a trilogy, or a quintet, like a brass quintet, with five distinct voices…. five books… The Five Books of Chaim Goldberg… a biblical life, from the beginning to almost the end… of mythic proportions. Chaim Goldberg is “us.”
Kaleidoscope (1963-64) was the first: late adolescence, coming of age. This book introduced Chaim Goldberg, a troubled kid with a family whose images were distorted as those one sees in carnival mirrors in the fun house…but none of what happens to Chaim Goldberg is fun. He discovered what he thinks is love but is deceived. (published Sunstone Press, June 2013)
Medicine Man: The Book of Ellen: (1978-92) the second book, in development now, takes off when he is a doctor, about a decade into his medical practice. He has succeeded admirably, has professional esteem, financial well-being, a family. Demons torment him… Because of his inner torments and self-doubts, but mostly, his lack of inner direction and commitment, mis-guided, he destroys all of it by using cocaine. He violated medicine’s keystone precept and purloined the cocaine from his medical practice by misusing his professional authorities. His anorgasmic, anhedonic wife is of no help as he pleads guilty to a federal felony and his generous life falls apart. He loses his professional life, his community stature, his family, his self-esteem; losing everything he has built. Bereft, he experiences an apocryphyal discovery: he is empty as a person. He is guilty of the worst failure for a human being: amoral. Medicine Man portrays this fall from grace and his struggle to redefine himself.
Gyroscope: The Book of Cinda- will examine his late middle restorative years. He errs by marrying a slut, the wrong woman, a woman who meets his pleasures but who is amoral, who steals from their marriage, who betrays him by infidelity with the lawyer from his first marriage, and worse. …another sorrowful marriage, more failures, proclivities, losses…ineptitude and on to Law School, alienation, not becoming a lawyer. When will he learn? Out of all of this, his new direction emerges.
Intrascope: The Book of Eva: his mother; return to the soils of his childhood; (birth-high school- discovery of genius). This book probes his DNA… what made him…from birth, which you have glimpsed at…It is a story of terrible psychological and sexual abuses by parents and of victimization by those around him…from whom the parents did not protect. He meets his inner loam.
Microscope: The Book of Kathy- After wandering twenty years in a psychological dessert, he marries Kathy, a bitter and morose nurse, anesthetist. This wife is murderous, like Lady Macbeth, ruthless, and cruel. After a sad and brief marriage, again he loses his financial well-being, has no money for retirement but He leaves her. Then an old man, he reflects upon sixty years and all four phases. He experiences a discovery about his origins which again changes his life. He confronts his existential finality… Microscope and Waiting for Winter, the pentology, end on a hopeful note. He rediscovers music, returns to his trumpet and rediscovers his Jewishness, his heritage. He finds his roots that go back to Aaron, Moses’ first born, that he is a Priest of the ancient Kohanim. He discovers humility, patience, compassion, empathy in new and satisfying ways and dedicates himself to living a meaningful and caring life. Read the excerpt from Microscope.