The Mind Shaft

Photo: Michael Strong

Greg O'Brien has been a writer, journalist and thinker all his life. Now he is losing his mind due to early on-set Alzheimer's, and he's an astute observer of his own decline, speaking with precision an poetry about the darkness that is enveloping him. In one moment he accidentally puts his laptop in the microwave, in the next he writes beautiful sentences to describe his experience. He compares this clicking in and out to the flickering light of a loose plug in a socket. He's in a race against time to share his story before the plug falls out for good, and he recently published a book about his struggle with Alzheimer's called On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer's. His web site is


The O'Briens: Greg, daughter Colleen, wife Mary Catherine, and sons Connor and Brendan

Greg with his daughter Colleen at her wedding last summer

Greg the writer


Lea Thau