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Ooof. It's been a while since I blogged, yeah? I've had a fantastic summer. I took a bike trip with my bestie, traveled to France to co-lead a writing retreat, took my kids and nieces to Luxembourg (EU not MN :)) to connect with our ancestral land, led another retreat in Lake Tahoe, and now...now I'm on sabbatical. I'm looking at eight months of writing and reading. It's thrilling and terrifying, having all this time.
I'm not complaining, mind you. It's just that as the Queen of Busy, my self-care skills have dwindled over the years. I've always stayed in motion as a reaction to childhood trauma. It's a common response. Those of us who felt unsafe as kids often grow up to be adults who appear super-successful on the outside. It looks like ambition, and some of it is, but some of it's also the fear that the wolves will catch us if we slow down.
Well, the wolves are here as I type, sleeping at my feet, and I'm fine. Better than fine. I get a do-over, in a house where I am safe, with family and friends I can trust. I attribute finding this peace to finally writing through a chunk of the darkness of my childhood in Unspeakable Things, out January 1. I cover this healing process in Rewrite Your Life, but I've gone even deeper with it in my upcoming novel, getting more personal, tackling the really scary stuff.
I'm not going to whitewash it: going deep was emotionally expensive. It cost me a relationship with my mom, dad, and sister, and I've been in a state of grief for the last two years as a result. I wouldn't have chosen that route except that living on the surface--pretending all was fine--was costing me more than I could pay. It's been two long years, but I'm finally waking up from the grief and finding joy in the most unexpected places. I'm also, for the first time in my life, really getting to know myself. Yikes and whee.
Now that my faculties are returning, I want to pay it forward as a thanks to all those who've supported me through this crazy couple years. The start is developing a new workshop. Here's the official description:
Crack the Sea
Turn Your Secrets into Fiction and Set Yourself Free
"Many of us carry family secrets and personal shame, believing either that we’re the only ones or that the cost of telling our story is too high. We become locked in this frozen sea, trapped by the truths we don’t speak. Fiction provides an out. It allows us to release our secrets without anyone knowing.
Not only is the process healing and the source of powerful fiction, it improves the world: once we break free of the frozen sea, cracks start feathering out, making it easier for others to do the same. Join bestselling author, teacher, and TEDx presenter Jess Lourey to learn how to turn your own experiences into healing fiction. This is a hands-on workshop, so come with something to write with and on."
I'll be leading this workshop at Modernwell in Minneapolis on Thursday, January 9, at 7:00 pm. Then, on January 10, I'll be launching Unspeakable Things at Once Upon a Crime at 7:00 pm. There will be cake, wine, and '80s-themed prizes because we all need more play. I hope you'll join me at one or both! More information to come.
p.s. If you ever want signed copies of any of my books, shoot an email to Once Upon a Crime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know which books. I'll sign them, and they'll ship them to you.
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