Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Family Inheritance Cover Art Smaller FamilyYesterday I received my first negative review on my debut novel, Family Inheritance, that will release in October. I’m okay with the fact that somebody didn’t like the book because I don’t like every book I read. What I’m concerned about is the message in her review. Here’s part of the review:

Coming from a mental health career, the idea that these characters resolved major trauma so easily is insulting. No one opens up that easily or quickly and especially three women who haven’t seen each other in over 20 years. The dialogue was ‘cheesy’ and very predictable.

I agree, no one resolves major trauma ‘so easily’ but these women had been dealing with their individual trauma for those 20 years, and had each reached a crisis point. We’ve all gone through traumas in our lives, some of them very major, and those of us who have survived and thrived understand that there is a moment when everything changes — when our thought processes change because of something we read or something someone said, or people come into our life who help us understand that we are better than our circumstances. When those things come together, resolving past experiences and trauma can be that ‘easy’ to use the reviewer’s word.

I don’t often share private stories in public venues, but I will share one here to help make my point. I was married for the first time when I was just over 18 years old. I knew him for two years and he seemed kind and loving. But . . . two weeks after we were married, I had the audacity to talk to him while he was watching a football game and he proceeded to beat me and leave me curled up in a ball, sobbing on our bed. That was the first beating I endured, but it was far from the last. And all the while, I kept thinking it was my fault . .  . that I was saying or doing something that made him mad enough to beat me.

I stayed in that marriage for 14 years. My parents were both alcoholics so the culture I had grown up in taught me to not talk, to keep everything private, and put on a good front. And that’s what I did. No one had a clue as to what I was enduring at home, not even my parents or my own siblings. If I had a black eye, I covered it with makeup or blamed it on being clumsy. If my legs and arms were covered with bruises, I wore pants and long-sleeved blouses. I learned to cope because at that point, it’s all I knew how to do.

Then, during a coffee break at work one day, a co-worker was reading a book that caught my interest. When she finished reading it, she loaned it to me. It was Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne Dyer. His words began to open up new ways of thought, and the co-worker and I started sharing personal experiences. In that safe environment, at that time, it was ‘easy’ to open up and it happened quickly with this person because I was ready. My private hell had gotten to be too much to bear alone.

My thoughts began to shift. Then, more caring people started coming into my life telling me ‘cheesy’ things like: I was important, they cared about me, I made a difference in the world. My mindset started to change and with that new mindset came new ways of behaving and new choices. While life still had its challenges, things were ‘easy’ compared to what I had previously endured. I left the marriage, started caring about myself, surrounding myself with positive people, and making choices that created a good, safe life.

I rebel against people who want to continue the victim mindset that says things can’t feel easy and that solutions to our issues can’t be simplistic. Why can’t they be? There is a saying I use quite often in my life, “To change your life, change your mind.” I’m not sure where it originally came from, but it is one of the most powerful sayings I’ve every heard. It doesn’t mean you won’t be tempted to slide back to what you knew. What it means is that you now know a different way of being and you get to choose each day which way you’ll go.

Don’t let anybody or anything tell you that recovering from a past experience or trauma can’t get to a point where it feels easy and simplistic. That’s your choice. As for me and my life, bring on the ‘easy’ and the ‘cheesy’.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

2013-10-30 picture 4  My last few months have been filled with speaking engagements and book festivals, along with conversations and meetings with other writers and a myriad of people in the publishing industry. Somewhere in one of those conversations, and I don’t remember exactly where or who asked the question, but the question was asked.  What are three words that describe the theme of your writing and who you are as a writer?

It didn’t take me long to answer. All I had to do was think of my books that have been published or are in the process of being published: From a Grieving Mother’s Heart; For a Grieving Heart; and my debut novel, Family Inheritance, and my three words were clear: Relationships, Connections, and Overcoming.

As I thought about it, those three words pretty much cover the gist of who I am. My relationships with the core people in my life are what keep me grounded and glad to be alive. My connection with my Higher Power, the energy of those who have passed away, and the endless possibilities of life are what help me understand my purpose and the impact I’d like to leave when I am gone. And I believe that overcoming is one of the greatest opportunities that life consistently offers to all of us. I give credence to the approach, “Don’t tell me it can’t be done, tell me what it’s going to take to do it.”

It amuses me that three words can meld together all of the different facets of me and my writing and paint a pretty strong picture of what my books and I are all about. That is the wonderful, amazing power of words. With the correct word, we can convey a legion of thoughts, ideas, and emotions. With the right word, we can chisel a character’s personality. With the appropriate word, we can set the tone for our story. Oh, what power and responsibility to be someone who is choosing and stringing together words to inform, entertain, and move people.

What about you? What are three words that describe you as a person, and if you’re a writer, describe your writing as well? It’s an interesting exercise and an eye-opening one as well.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Image I don’t consider myself a poet—even though I have written some poetry—and I certainly don’t like all poetry. But I have to admit that there is something wonderfully magical and even spiritually healing about writing and/or reading it. Only in a poem can three or four lines resonate with feelings that don’t have to be explained, a back story that doesn’t have to be told, and a voice that is simply accepted for what it is.

I’m not a person who memorizes poetry or even the names of poets, yet I have several poems that are earmarked for easy access, and each time I slowly read them out loud, they calm and mesmerize me.

I love the writings of Kahlil Gibran and often read Song of the Flower. I will share the first six lines with you and highly recommend that you seek out this poem to read it in its entirety.

I am a kind word uttered and repeated

By the voice of Nature;

I am a star fallen from the

Blue tent upon the green carpet.

I am the daughter of the elements

With whom Winter conceived;

Yet, with all its beauty and wisdom, poetry is not as well read as fiction and poets have fewer outlets in which they can share their talent, their craft, and their appreciation for beautifully written verse. That’s why I love it that April has been designated as National Poetry Month. During thirty full days, poetry can take center stage to revel in its own beauty, and poets are encouraged to come to the forefront. It’s a time that those of us who dabble in poetry from time to time are encouraged to slow down, clear our minds of things we have to do or characters we are creating, to let the words flow in lyrical verses that we can then hone and tweak to be shared or set aside to be enjoyed in quiet moments.

From time to time, I’ll come upon a verse whose simple words guide me daily in how I want to live, and I’ll end this post with one of my favorites from Longfellow, A Psalm of LIfe:

Lives of great men all remind us

                  We can make our lives sublime,

 And, departing, leave behind us

                 Footprints on the sands of time.

If you are a poet, or someone who dabbles in the craft, BQB Publishing is sponsoring a poetry contest worth checking out. The information is posted on their Facebook page.

Read Full Post »

SketchTreeWithBubbleFramesAndChild

We all have those relationships in our lives that one day are absolutely fabulous, and the next day we wonder why we even bother. Well, I’m having one of “those” types of relationships with social media. I didn’t grow up with it, don’t have a natural affinity for it, and just about the time I think I understand it, it changes on me.

I know that in today’s world, social media is important, especially for a writer and new author. It’s one of the best ways that we can let a wide variety of people know who we are, what we write, and why they just might want to check us and our book(s) out. But, as simple as that sounds, it sometimes isn’t that simple for me.

My biggest challenge is allocating the time away from my writing and my day job to keep up with social media. I know that every serious writer needs to spend at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour or better, on social media each day, but it’s a mindset that I’m having a hard time developing. During that allocated time, my mind keeps wandering to my overloaded “to do” list, the beauty of the outdoors outside my window entices me, I think of a myriad of other things I would rather do, or I’m just tired of sitting at the computer—period. Plus, social media “conversations” come in small bites, and I’m having to train my mind to think in small chunks while at the same time making those small chunks interesting, thought provoking, informative, or a combination of all three. Days like that are my “bad relationship days” with social media, and they do pop up.

Then, there are those days when the interactions come easy, I’ve connected with someone really interesting, my social media friends encourage me, or I read a quote or tidbit of information that is just what I needed at that moment in time, and I really get it. On those days, I’m thankful for the amazing minds that created these formats of connection and communication that allow us to reach out across cities, states, and even countries to discover and relate to a wide variety of people with varying thoughts, cultures, and ideas. It is on those days that I love social media and the whole virtual kind of existence that we now have available to us.

Then on other days I find out that Facebook is changing its format, I get behind on my tweets, or I’ve got a looming deadline for a blog, and my mind gets fuzzy from trying to make sense of all the data and requirements that are being tossed at me. On those days, I think my daughter and grandchildren wonder what planet I came from because social media comes easily to them and is a strong part of their daily existence.

On the good days, I relish discovering new ways of connecting and new people to connect with, and I’m excited about being a writer and author in this fabulous time when the entire world can absolutely be our oyster. I love that I have the ability to chat with writers and readers from all over the US and in countries like England, Australia, India, Italy. . . and the list goes on. My world is expanded and my mind is stretched, and new concepts and stories are forged into my imagination. I love those good days between me and social media. They are the reason that I continue this relationship through the not so good times.

Today, social media and I are on very good terms and I’m glad I’m in this relationship.

Read Full Post »

Terri Ann Leidich at the Roanoke Reg Writers ConfereceYesterday, for the second year in a row, I had the privilege of presenting at the Roanoke Regional Writers’ Conference. Today, my body is exhausted, but my mind and soul are twirling with exhilaration. Being surrounded by writers—people whose minds are ever circling with thoughts, ideas, and possibilities—is enriching, enlightening, motivating, and inspiring. One writer speaking to another doesn’t have to explain the phrases like: space beyond the mind, my characters spoke to me, asking for inspiration from my dreams. . . We all speak the same language, at least some form of it, and we’re all hungry for more thoughts, ideas, inspiration, and motivation.

A great writers’ conference, like the one in Roanoke that is created by Dan Smith and hosted by Hollins University, absolutely buzzes with energy. My mind was busy absorbing knowledge from others and teaching what I know. Competition is left at the door as writer mentors writer, and people who are part of the support team that a writer needs, willingly guide us on writing, editing, social media, photography, and things that we need to know that we didn’t realize we needed to know.

Wrapped, for a day, in a cocoon where creative minds meet and thrive, it takes me twenty-four hours to assimilate the experience before I step back into my routine where my writer’s mind reluctantly returns to bouts of scheduled writing surrounded by periods of “have to do’s”,  “to do” lists, and schedules.

Tomorrow I’ll willingly step back into my wonderful world that is a blend of right and left brain thinking, but for today, my exhausted body is recovering as my mind floats in a state of exhilaration.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: