mental health: writing 2 : quotes articles books.........
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read fiction or participate in any art form to become more human. Real
art is not just about entertainment. It reminds us that we are here to
understand and care about the human condition, to become more
real art peels something away from our surface. We are 'coated': it
could be indifference that we get from getting battered around.
Sometimes we get too thick of skin, and then we need art to peel it
away and bring back our sensitivity.
Fiction is needed because art is truer than life. Art
distills meaning from experience, which is often hard to do in reality.
Janet Fitch - from Time Warner
Oleander*by Janet Fitch
life matters: it is hard to imagine that anything matters more.
inner life something that anyone else is privy to, unless and until the
writer wants to share it.
is a private,
secret hotbed of activity, an unruly, unquiet, unholy cauldron bubbling
with the best and the worst thoughts a person can think. ...
is something of a shape-changer and trickster, someone a little more
eccentric, and unpredictable than she at first appears, because she is
continually buffeted and transformed by an inner life invisible from
to her mate in complete sentences about what her day was like, but
another life is being lived, one full of beauties and monstrosities,
writer safely contains that inner reality -- sublimates her urges,
her thoughts, manages her monsters -- it nevertheless remains alive
of her, always ready to produce the next book or sorrow, the next
spark or meaning crisis.
Maisel, Ph.D. Living
the Writer's Life
it or not, when you're a writer, there's no escaping the writer's
life... when it comes to the feelings,
obsessions, and just plain worries that accompany any writer's efforts,
there's no getting
out. Regardless of career experience, advancing age, and sizeable
amounts of therapy, there's
no 'cure' for the writer's life.
soon as writers commit to the writing of a thing, they embark on a
journey through both an
external world of crises and triumphs and an internal world of feelings
and belief systems.
There's No Cure - The struggles of the writer's life are chronic but
not fatal -
from the Inside Out
worked as a psychologist, professional singer, activist, artisan,
teacher and writer, but my most profound self-discoveries have come
through learning to cope with my dysfunctional family.
wrote Daddy's Girls to share the insight and compassion I've gathered
from my sister's schizophrenia and my own work as a therapist.
story is fiction with a dash of magical realism, an allegory that
examines the nature of insanity, fear, betrayal, and what it means to
family is far from unique. According to the US Surgeon General, one in
four Americans will become mentally ill at some point in their lives.
As I see it, the other three are their families. Families like mine,
struggling with the fine line between "sanity" and "insanity."
if, on the surface, they may seem unremarkable, everyone has an
internal monologue, or dialogue or however-many, playing in our minds
-- judging, interpreting, lusting, plotting, hating, fearing -- all
illusion, or delusion, layered over pure living and experiencing.
fabric of these delusions is the myriad of automatic patterns we
develop in rubbing up against everyone else's patterns. Paranoia,
grandiosity, fantasy all flit through everyone's consciousness.
difference between "normal" and "crazy" is in how often, how long we
entertain those feelings, how seriously we take them, how important
they are to us.
If you look at it like that, we're all crazy... like, who's
really running the store while we're thinking about all that stuff?
from "Mental Illness and the Meaning of Life" by Suzanne
Gold, M.A. - from
her site Surviving a Dysfunctional
....her novel: Daddy's
||from interview with Andrea
Ashworth author of memoir: Once
in a House on Fire
this was a real sanity-saving exercise," Ashworth
says about her new book... which has been praised by a number of
reviewers. Carol West of the NY Times called it a "mesmerizing and
poetic memoir of violence, abuse, racism and poverty."
Dr. Ashworth, born in England in 1969, is one of the
youngest research Fellows at Oxford University.
and Survival in Contemporary Fiction by Laurie Vickroy
fiction narratives represent trauma. It investigates novels by Toni
Marguerite Duras, Jamaica Kincaid, Larry Heinemann, Pat Barker, and
Allison, among others, showing how these texts, in unraveling trauma's
effects, reveal the complex relationship not only between the
of power and the intimacies of personal relations but also between
demands and the individual's psychological well-being.
approach to trauma, its effects and expression, by drawing on
postcolonial, cultural, literary and object relations theories to
the ways in which traumatic experience shapes relationships, identity,
and the possibility of narrative.
on PSYART -
list of the Institute for Psychological Study of the Arts - about the
study of literature and the arts.
"When I wrote Icy
was working through a difficult time in my life. I think the creative
process of writing
Icy, helped me heal
that broken place inside myself. ... I always knew I was going to write
about a little girl
different. I grew up with epilepsy in rural South Georgia. I decided to
give my little girl a
neurological disorder that
would set her even more apart.
I knew I was going to
my little girl Tourette Syndrome, and I knew a lot about her — but I
didn't have a name. So,
one day my husband and I
were walking in the cemetery — it's not a strange thing to do in [our
town] — and our eyes
simultaneously fell upon
the marker 'Icy.' And then, a few markers down, we saw 'Sparks' and
that was that.
My little girl's name
be 'Icy Sparks.' The next day I began my novel, and the words just
flowed easily for me." ...
A novel writes itself.
thought the novel would end on a sad note. But as I wrote the novel, I
began to feel healed, because
Icy was feeling healed.
And at one point, she just took a hold of my heart. She led me into a
positive direction and
into a hopeful ending."
Hyman Rubio [quotes from oprah.com]
Gwyn Hyman Rubio. Icy
~ ~ ~ ~
things we are ashamed of, the
dark scars that cover our wounds
our crude attempts to heal with substance and isms, that holy hell
is our gift. Not maybe, not just for some people.
doesn't mean the abusers and users are off the hook. But that's
our business. Your only and essential job is to choose, not just
accept, but to powerfully and willingly choose, the parents, the past
the personality you have been given.
takes just a moment, a flutter of an eyelid. But it's the difference
loss and life. The difference between a victim and a writer."
pages:--- mental health------the shadow self
Related article:**The Consolation of Literature
Many dismiss or even
any notion of the therapeutic, even redemptive potential of art. I am
not suggesting healing
and enrichment are
literature's only values. But to claim that pages full of melancholic
wisdom shouldn't console, inform, even inspire readers to
take action.. is to miss a fundamental reason literature exists.
~ ~ ~
Krueger [a clinical psychologist and poet].. believes "writing poetry,
journal writing, making art and talking about art and poetry can help
people in therapy better understand their 'cognitive lives,' which can
have a very positive effect on their general well-being." To
this end, Krueger conducts weekly workshops on journal writing and
Metzger, an L.A.-based poet and author of a well-received book on
writing, supports Krueger's efforts. "Journal writing allows people to
come to know their own story, just as poetry sees through life's
illusions, and when this occurs, healing happens," says Metzger, who
has read from her work in the Krueger Gallery reading series [in
who has published two volumes of poetry, keeps up with a growing body
of scholarship that supports the benefits of journal writing. "I'm very
research-oriented," she explains, "and what springs to mind is Dr.
James W. Pennebaker's work at the University of Texas a few years ago
on journal writing that is now being replicated in many places.
"It shows a strong
correlation between journal writing and a deep decrease in the symptoms
of depression and anxiety, as well as in physical ailments such as
diabetes and arthritis. This is this whole new and exciting area in
the American Psychological Assn. takes no official stand on writing
therapy as a healing tool, an article published in this month's Monitor
on Psychology, the group's magazine, discusses the practice. Merely
venting feelings or reliving upsetting events in writing is not the
purpose, several psychologists say. But it can be useful if patients
focus on the meaning they derive from the writing.
from article: "Rhyme and Reason in a
Creative Space" by Andy
Brumer, LA Times, June 5 2002
to heal by Bridget Murray [American Psychological Association]
author of memoir: "Once in a House on Fire"
partly because I had itchy fingers, and wanted to write other things,
and didn't want them to be
the past. But also because, quite simply, I thought I would go mad if I
didn't. It's made a huge difference."
As a Way of Healing : How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives
Writing Cure: How Expressive Writing Promotes Health and Emotional
for Your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner Worlds
related books: Books:
writing the memoir / journaling
*[Image: Jo March [Winona Ryder]
at her desk in film Little Women.]
~ ~ ~ ~
10 ways to rewrite your life story:
You don't have the power to change the past, but you can control how
you experience it now. Instead of responding in the same habitual way
when disturbing incidents come to mind, pause, and take a deep breath.
Then reinterpret them. Ask yourself "How did that experience make me
stronger? What important life lessons did it teach me?"
the shackles of shame.
Unlike remorse or guilt, shame isn't about feeling bad for what you've
done but rather for what you are. "Shame is the cancer of the spirit,"
says Dr. Harold Bloomfield. "It makes you feel worthless and unlovable,
undeserving of happiness."
Research shows that those who write about past traumas heal faster from
illnesses, visit their doctor less often, and have stronger immune
the slow acid drip of regret.
The constant repetition of "If only ... " and "I should have ... " can
destroy your health as well as your peace of mind. "An important aspect
of healing is to stop punishing yourself for past mistakes," says Dr.
from grief to gain.
The emotional wounds of a devastating loss are as real as a contusion
or a broken bone, says Dr. Bloomfield. Mending them requires moving
through the three phases of grief: first, shock and denial; followed by
anger, fear, and sadness; and finally, understanding and acceptance.
Nothing perpetuates the impact of old hurts more than rehashing them in
your mind. It's like watching the same movie over and over again in the
hope that the ending will change. "Bemoaning your fate does not help
you heal the past," says Dr. Bloomfield. "Peace comes from accepting
what was for what it was and moving on."
Even better than acceptance is gratitude. No matter what happened in
the past, remind yourself that you have gifts to be thankful for. You
may even find that you're grateful for your troubles because of what
you learned from them.
the habit of blame. Blaming your problems on people and events from
your past means that you're not responsible for anything that happens
No matter how traumatic your past has been, you can always find a
peaceful place inside you, says Dr. Bloomfield. If you can tap that
source, you can stop stress from building up, allowing your mind to
clear for new solutions.
a satisfying future.
A great way to make peace with your past is to become the person you
always wanted to be. The grip of old patterns and perceptions may be so
strong that you feel like a helpless victim. In fact, you are the
author of your own life story, and you can start a new chapter anytime
from interview article on ivillagehealth.com]
Peace with Your Past: The Six Essential Steps to Enjoying a Great Future by Harold
H. Bloomfield, MD
~ ~ ~
Consolation of Literature by Patrick Giles [LA Times, 2002] -
[Reviews of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew
Solomon; The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton] -- Many dismiss or
even ridicule any notion of the therapeutic, even
redemptive potential of art. I am not suggesting healing and enrichment
are literature's only values. But to claim that pages full of
melancholic wisdom shouldn't console, inform, even inspire readers to
take action.. is to miss a fundamental reason literature exists.
Image in Counseling the Talented - by Jane Piirto, Ph.D.
R. Koontz "I began writing when I was a child, for both reading and
writing provided much needed escape from the poverty in which we lived
and from my father's frequent fits of alcohol induced violence."
Stephen King As a child, "we had a pretty shirttail existence. I
was prey to a lot of conflicting emotions as a child. I had friends and
all that, but I often felt unhappy and different, estranged from other
kids my age.Writing has always been it for me. . . Writing is necessary
for my sanity.
> More articles:
....books - including
titles on journaling :
Companion : Journal Writing As a Spiritual Quest
to write using yourself as the source of the story, you are choosing to
confront all the silences in which your story has been protectively
Your job as a writer is to respectfully, determinedly, free the story
the silences and free yourself from both." ~Christina Baldwin
Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page
review:] "Sometimes it is difficult to face the truth. It is even worse
to write it down. Fortunately, this book shows how to interpret life's
powerful memories, overcome the fear of placing private truths before
audience, and, finally, form those experiences into personal essays.
uses classroom-tested methods to help professional and amateur authors
master eight classic essay structures, including description,
narration, and persuasion."
Your Heart Speaks, Take Good Notes : The Healing Power of Writing
is a licensed psychotherapist and coach who specializes in helping
overcome creative blocks and achieve deep personal transformation
the use of writing. She is also the author of Writing
from the Inside Out: Using a Journal for Personal Growth and
Borkin has taught journal writing workshops for more than two decades,
and the same lively, warm and engaging style that has won her rave
from workshop participants makes her books a delight to read.
Ends, A Journaling Tool for Tying up the Incomplete Details of your
Life and Heart [review by Jan Forrest, author, "Coming Home
to Ourselves":] "..a deceptively simple, yet powerful tool for personal
and spiritual growth. Author Eldonna Bouton takes us by the hand with
warmth, compassion, and just the right dose of humor; gently guiding us
toward closure of past hurts and pains. Through Loose Ends we can move
forward to a new, brighter version of ourselves."
Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
Creative Journal : The Art of Finding Yourself
"..clearly sets out how to uncover your many layered self through
and drawing exercises and you don't need to be an artist to do them!
a manual for discovering a creative self within you along the way.
are many examples of other people's journals which encourage the reader
to let their child within take the pen or crayon and let go without
Home to Ourselves: Journaling Toward Wholeness [reader:] "...
has been a perfect tool for my group of women friends who enjoy getting
into in-depth conversations on personal growth. The author touches on
and situations that seem to be pertinent to every one of us. Her manner
of communicating through print seems to open up long-locked doors,
us look inside and discover who we really are...and how very "worth it"
we are to know."
Susan Fox Visual
Journaling : Going Deeper Than Words
[publisher:] "Journaling with images instead of words is a powerful way
to access your deep inner wisdom, even if you can't draw. A six-week
of exercises and interpretative activities teaches readers a lifelong
that can reduce stress, anger, fear, and other negative emotional
A. Henke Shattered
Subjects : Trauma and Testimony in Women's
"This critical study explores the autobiographical writings of six
women authors who experienced life-shattering trauma and used their
as a means for survival and healing. The literary testimonies of
H. D., Anais Nin, Janet Frame, Audre Lorde, and Sylvia Fraser provide
evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder precipitated by rape,
childhood sexual abuse, grief, unwanted pregnancy, pregnancy-loss, or a
severe illness that threatens the integrity of the body. *Shattered
suggests that the powerful medium of written life testimony may perform
the function of 'scriptotherapy,' allowing the psychological
of highly distressing emotional experiences." [review posted on Psyart
list (Institute for Psychological Study of the Arts)]
and Kenneth Womack. Reading
the Family Dance: Family Systems Therapy and Literary Study
an interpretative mechanism, family systems therapy (fst) provides
with a revelatory social psychology for evaluating the nature of the
structures that often mark our textual experiences. In addition to
the family dynamic through which a given literary character develops a
fully realized sense of self, family systems therapy allows readers to
examine the patterns by which characters function in their larger
systems, whether those systems be social, institutional, or even
book] includes interdisciplinary essays that address various literary
in terms of family systems therapies respective approaches to our
of the self, the family, and the world. The essays in this volume range
through much of the imaginative literature in English, including
works, ethnic and canonized American texts, and even the translation of
a Brazilian novel ... Essays examine a host of issues related to the
of the self, including the onset of
identity, sibling differentiation, and interpersonal communication. [from
abstract posted by author John V. Knapp in newsletter of Institute for
Psychological Study of the Arts]
Earth and Dreams: A Narrative of Grief and Recovery
More than just a story of surmounting physical illness (in Lazarre's
breast cancer), this is a story in which physical survival becomes a
for emotional healing. One of the book's great pleasures is its
for rather than tell her story from beginning to end, Lazarre explores
how different memories echo and amplify one another: the bewildered
of a young daughter at her mother's cancer death, the adult woman's
responses to the loss of a therapist and a brother-in-law, and finally
her own breast cancer diagnosis. While the subject matter may sound
the language and above all the author's quiet determination to honor
memories as part of her own living future left me with not only a sense
of admiration for Lazarre's courage, but a heightened confidence in my
own ability to make meaning in the aftermath of the deepest personal
Stephen J. Lepore,
Writing Cure: How Expressive Writing Promotes Health and Emotional
for Your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner Worlds
Journals of Sylvia Plath "'It's
tally of my lusts and my little ideas,' wrote 17-year-old Sylvia Plath
of the journals in which she confessed her judgments, her 'test tube
her story notes, her cake baking, her dreams and her fears from the age
of 12 until days before her death by her own hand at the age of 30.
characterization of her journal stands in stunning contrast to the
revealing document she created: more than a thousand pages scattered
various handwritten notebooks, diaries, fragments and typed sheets, the
sum of it an extraordinary record of what she called the 'forging of a
soul,' the creation of a writer and a woman whose many veils and guises
have succeeded in forestalling anyone from knowing who she really was,
despite her lifelong quest to discover the answer for herself."
by Kate Moses, Salon.com]
Life As Story : Discovering the 'New Autobiography' andWriting
As Literature [publisher:] "Blending literary scholarship with
coaching on how to craft short or long life narratives, Rainer traces
history of autobiography from Egyptian inscriptions through its recent
evolution on the bestseller lists. Aided by
from such writers as Maya Angelou, Russell Baker, Richard Rodriguez,
Hong Kingston, Mikal Gilmore, and Carolyn See, among others, Rainer
how to write character portraits, how to remember what you thought you
had forgotten, how to unify a story with thematic conflict, how to
scenes with dialogue and employ other fictional devices, how to use
and perspective, and how to move through time.
author shares her remarkable techniques for finding the essentials of
structure within your life's scattered experiences. She also shows that
autobiography need not be a linear, heroic quest, but may be assembled
like a quilt, the pattern gradually emerging."
> More Books: writing the
memoir / journaling
~ ~ ~
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