A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention: Discovering the Beauty of My ADHD Mind—A Memoir (Paperback)
This unflinching and visceral portrayal of life before, during, and after a late-in-life ADHD diagnosis is a poignant journey to understand and appreciate the brains and experiences we have. Woven into the neurodiverse experience is the story of returning to the land, of smallholding with flora and fauna, and of connecting to our truest selves, in spite of what we are taught we should be or do or want. It is brutal and beautiful; expansive and focused; historical and time-luminous.— From Ashleigh
May 2022 Indie Next List
“Rebecca Schiller’s poignant insider view of life with ADHD will be a revelation to many, especially women. The definition of neurodivergence continues to expand, and A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention is a groundbreaking addition.”
— Pamela Klinger-Horn, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN
Now in paperback: A captivating, heralded memoir, "unflinching and full of truth" (Katherine May), of a woman making a home on a small farm while grappling with an unexpected ADHD diagnosis
“When you think about ADHD . . . do you picture a woman in the bucolic English countryside, raising her children along with an assortment of animals and vegetables? Why not?”—Salon
Moving to a small farm is Rebeca Schiller’s dream come true. But as her young family adjusts to a new life in the countryside, her dream is threatened by something within. I'm aware of everything, all at once, which is too much. As Rebecca’s symptoms mount—frequent falls, rages, and strange lapses in memory—her doctors are baffled and her family unmoored.
Finally comes a diagnosis: severe ADHD. For Rebecca, it is the start, not the end, of a quest for understanding. As she scrambles to support both family and farm, her focus spirals: from our current climate crisis to long-extinct lynx in the shadows of ancient oaks and the forgotten women who tended this land before her, their stories hidden just beneath the surface of history.
In this luminous, heralded memoir of one woman’s newfound neurodivergence, attention is not deficient—but abundant.
About the Author
Rebecca Schiller is cofounder and trustee of the human rights organization Birthrights and a regular contributor to The Guardian. She is also the author of Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan and the children’s book Amazing Activists Who Are Changing Our World. On their small homestead in the English countryside, Rebecca and her family raise a motley crew of goats, geese, ducks, and chickens, and grow vegetables, fruit, and flowers to restore wildlife to the land. She lives in Kent, UK.
A National Indie Favorite
An Indie Next Pick
“Don’t miss A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention. . . . [this memoir] provides a window into what it must be like to have her brain: exhausting, yes, but also compelling as we follow Schiller’s journey of self-discovery.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Rebecca Schiller invites us to expand our understanding of ADHD . . . [and] shows a different side of the condition.”—Salon
“In this exquisite and probing narrative, Schiller candidly charts her experience with ADHD while embarking on a quest to live off the land. . . . Schiller refuses to let the ADHD label end her self-inquiry, instead using it to explore the wonders that arise from being different. By eschewing tidy resolutions, Schiller’s work offers a complex look into a beautiful mind.”—Publishers Weekly
“A courageous and luminously written memoir.”—The Bookseller
“A beautiful memoir of a scattered mind and how it can find peace in the soil. Rebecca Schiller’s gaze is unflinching and full of truth. So many readers will find themselves in these pages.”—Katherine May, author of the New York Times–bestselling Wintering:The Power of Rest and Retreat in Uncertain Times
“Like no other book I’ve ever read: a captivating narrative about a kaleidoscopic brain. . . . Schiller draws us into the complex choreography of her daily struggle with chaos, but also shows how on the best of days that struggle begets beauty.”—Edward M. Hallowell, MD, New York Times–bestselling author of Driven to Distraction and ADHD 2.0
“With gorgeous language and tremendous courage, Rebecca Schiller draws us headlong into her world, where culturally wrought versions of normalcy lose all meaning—a mysterious, feral place where beauty and struggle intertwine. This book radiates an essential lesson: The mingling of mind, body, and land always forms a complex prism of joy, hope, and home.”—Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Rooted and Mozart’s Starling
“A beautiful, wide-open, and vulnerable book, investigating the deepest, most perplexing contours of both a mind and the natural landscape.”—Kristen Radtke, author of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness
“With frank curiosity and searing honesty, Rebecca Schiller explores the challenging task of being human. A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention broke my heart wide open in the most wonderful way.”—Lorene Edwards Forkner,Seattle Times contributor and author of Color In and Out of the Garden
“This book kept calling me back to its pages and left me feeling far less alone. It’s the only book that’s ever let me reimagine ADHD as a landscape, a farm, a forest, a tree. Rebecca Schiller’s intimate and fissured self-portrait bespeaks a neurodivergent ethics from which to move, connect, grow, and transform.”—Chris Martin, author of May Tomorrow Be Awake: On Poetry, Autism, and Our Neurodiverse Future
“Finally, a glimpse of what neurodivergence feels like from the inside—I couldn’t stop nodding my head in deep recognition. This soaring memoir of a specific, quirky mind, spiraling through time and across worlds, seeks to solve the mystery of itself and finally lands at home in the quotidian challenges and pleasures of a plot of land.”—Marta Rose, founder of Divergent Design Studios
“Wow! A beautiful memoir of one small plot of land and one complex human mind. A story of our interconnection and an ambitious search for the truth.”—Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun
“So honest, so raw, and so vulnerable. This much-needed story of resilience integrates history, myth, and folklore, drawing on the histories of the people who have gone before and to whom this land once belonged.”—Dr. Pragya Agarwal, author of Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias
“A stunner. Full of wisdom about the world we are all looking at with new eyes.”—Emma Freud