Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writing, Healing, Telling the Truth

I frequently recommend Louise DeSalvo's wonderful book, Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives (Beacon Press, 2000). Now, there are a lot of books about journaling as either therapy or spiritual development, or just plain self expression. This books tackles a much tougher issue: how writing can help us heal from major trauma, from unendurable abuse. Not just any free form writing, but a very specific way of honoring and integrating what happened and how we felt. Benefits are supported by research -- not only psychological but physical as well.

If this sounds all very well, consider this paragraph, which really went zing for me: DeSalvo writes about all the things she did not know, growing up, about what it means to be a writer:

I didn't know that if you want to write, you must follow your desire to write. And that your writing will help you unravel the knots in your heart. ... I didn't know that if you want to write and don't, because you don't feel worthy enough or able enough, not writing will eventually begin to erase who you are.

Erase who you are. Yes, it will, it can and it does. I sat there, in that shiver that says This Is The Absolute Truth.

I am not sure I am called to write in the particular way DeSalvo describes, but this I know. Unless I write the stories that are in my heart and unless I write them true, then I will slowly lose myself.


  1. Dear Deborah,

    I never met you but I love you!! (as a friend and fã, ok?) I was just thinking about how is good to write, how is healthy for soul, and so I saw your post! Perfect.
    We have some commom points: I'm a biologist, I make scarfs, and loves Darkover and reading and writing just like you!
    I build a blog just to write about my heart aches, and it helps in a healing process. Once I wrote a little book, about the adventures of four teenagers in a farm, and these teenagers met some alien beings. These beings was aliens as darkovan characters, with great spiritual knowledge. Later, I realized that these four characters that I creat are, in truth, parts of my own being. Each character express a side of my soul, including the problems of these parts. And when I finalized the book, I felt just like these problems were solved. It was just like the problems go away with the characters.
    Now, I begin to write a second book with these same teenagers, but unfortunately, actually I have little time to write, and this is not good, you know?
    I'd just translated a Marion text (the introduction of The Keeper's Price) in my blog Flor de Kireseth, and she were so, but so cute, writing about new writers and how she enjoied new writers writing in her world, and so I'm feeling a great will for write my own tale in Darkover. But I need inspiration and time!

    I'm in the middle of Zandru's Forge and enjoying it a lot!!! Wonderful tale, beatiful and easy to read. Congratulations!!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love the way fandom and the internet allow us to "connect" across oceans and continents.

    Keep on writing, and hold fast to your dreams!