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Coming Out of Hiding Through Writing

Posted on September 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM



OK, I’m gonna start a blog. I’ve thought so long and hard about doing this.  Always the decision came back to - Yikes! I’ll be soooo out of the closet - there’s a story about me being born in a closet - I'll get to that in another post. It’s kind of like going on stage, in a virtual manner. There’s another story about being on a stage when I was 5 - that's later too. I am an introvert of the highest order! However, I have a book coming out or maybe I have given birth to a book, yes, even in my 60’s I can give birth. Who knew?!! And when one gives birth, the birth deserves to be acknowledged, celebrated in some way, cuddled and coddled, presented to the world, nourished and nurtured, you know what I mean. So here I am!  ;) 

A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury, published by the amazing and wonderful Peggy Elam, founder of Pearlsong Press, is now a present to the world!  It was an early birth, since it was actually due October 1, 2012, but came out September 16th.

Here’s how it all started....I was in a car accident, hit my head hard on the dashboard, which translated into a severe brain injury, traumatic for my family who weren’t sure if I would make it or be a vegetable.  Traumatic for me when I realized that I had lost something very precious.  I was peacefully asleep in a coma for 5 days and in the ICU about 10 days.  A year and a half later, as I recuperated and could actually write more than chicken-scratch, I found I just couldn’t get myelf to write.  I just couldn’t pick up a pen and even pour an alphabet soup of words onto the page. 

Not being able to write terrified me.  I had been writing for a few years before the accident and knew that it had really helped me to write my thoughts and feelings out on paper, get them out of my head. I was told I wrote poetically, though I didn't have a clue what that meant.  It sounded nice though.  Not too long after discovering that I couldn’t make myself sit down and write, I found a writing mentor who was eager to work with a TBI survivor who used to write, but suddenly couldn’t get herself to pick up a pen.  (If you want a writing mentor, just email me and I will be happy to share her contact info with you.) :) 

I think I was afraid if I started writing I’d be washed over by waves of sadness and swallowed in the mouth of grief.  I’d be swept out to the ocean and lost at sea. She gave me an assignment to write from stems starting with “I reclaim.”  I was to use images, describe sensory details as best I could, use childhood memories, (dolls were big for me as a kid, remember Tiny Tears?) and by all means use metaphors if they came to me.  I started writing “I reclaim....” I misunderstood her directions, one of those brain injury moments, and started writing poems. First, I wrote about things in my childhood, then the accident began to take over my writing self more and more. Writing poems became how I listened to myself and how I got what was in my heart out onto a page.  And in talking with my mentor, I found someone who heard my pain and was a witness to my feelings about losing a huge part of myself.   And so began my journey to this book, " A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury."

Categories: The Story , TBI, Writing to heal