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Why I Started this Blog

WELCOME TO MY WRITER’S BLOG

Welcome to Bonnie’s Healing through Writing blog site!

I started this blog to support my new fictional writing adventure. Well, the adventure is definitely not fiction, but the stories are! Well, mostly… more on that later.

Writing has quite recently become a necessary part of my own healing process.  Past traumas, losses, anticipated loss, as well as growth and great joys in my personal life seem to be driving an incessant need to record stories that are flowing…. the stories are demanding to be recorded!  It is a fascinating process that I am, at once, experiencing and observing.  It’s all new territory, this writing of fiction.  And blogging…

I started a list of “Why I Write” and realized I’ve been writing since very young. I am planning to write a series of posts describing this in detail.  I suspect many of the reasons I write now and have written in the past, are familiar to other writers. 

Luckily, or divinely, however you may chose to view it, another one of those “perfect people at the perfect time” appeared in my life and encouraged me to explore writing in depth.  Out in the open and not just in my laptop, which is where I’d be hiding my stories if it weren’t for her! Lisa Redfern is on my “blogs I follow” list, in case you are interested. I am most grateful for her friendship and guidance.

Anyway, I plan to post some of my stories and various author resources (as I discover helpful advice for newbies like me), share my new author’s journey and explore various other avenues for Healing through Creativity.  I have always been up to some sort of creative project like learning to watercolor or acrylic paint, creating handmade “Steiner dolls” – last count I think was 24 of the lovely little dolls each custom made for specific children, knitting and crocheting projects, various DIY home and furniture projects, remodeling or redoing portions of our house, gardening, envisioning projects for my husband and dad to get busy on, etc, etc. My mom’s creativity and my dad’s ability to manifest my visions for projects that were out of my skill / comfort zone have supported my creativity for years! I am writing in part for them. 

Writing seems just a natural phase at this time in my life.

Disclaimer: I do not have a degree in writing.  I am an “unpublished” author and started putting my fiction stories on wattpad only very recently.  For fun.  But exploring has brought writing into a more serious light. I have a secret (not anymore!) desire to publish a story.  Like on Amazon! 

My professional life as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with a part time private practice, is a huge part of the meaning in my life. Obviously, my family and children are most important, but doing what I do, it’s what I was born to do.  So, in some fashion, I suspect that part of my life will show up here.  I do not know how, yet.  But, I am quite aware that it’s such an integral part of who I am I wouldn’t want to keep it completely separate.  Time will tell how it all manifests here.

I have always written in some form or another, whether it be personal Journals embellished by my imagination, letters to my gone too young dear brother Wes, long sappy letters to sweethearts, pages and pages of words for instructors, my Master’s Research Project bound for the shelves at CSUS, or confidential notes as evidence of my presence while others tell their unfolding stories.

I am now taking snippets of “my truth” and personal experiences, and turning them into fictional stories inspired by my continual search for answers, and occasionally a dream. Actually, this all started with a dream!  More about that later…

If my stories touch your “truth” in some way I will have accomplished something meaningful.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you feel compelled to come back soon. Oh, and I am the type that craves kudos.  So, if you are entertained or informed please let me know ;-). If not, that’s okay too. It’ll help me grow. 

Until next time!

 

Why I Write Series – The 1st M in I.M.M.E.R.S.E. M.E

M is for Mending

To see the first post of my Why I Write Series you may go here:  I.M.M.E.R.S.E M.E. 9 Reasons Why I Write – Series Intro

I write to Mend, Heal and Adjust.

Mend my mistakes. Some of my fictional arcs are about acknowledging my mistakes, expressing regret for what I couldn’t mend in the past. Mistakes I cannot directly repair now.

When I was 15 years old I wrote 3 long love letters to my high school sweetheart.  We had broken up and both moved away from our home town.  You may say, “Three teenager love letters, wow, not interesting at all.”  But, in those 3 letters I poured out my broken-heart, thoughts, feelings and wishes for reconciliation.  My sorrow for the mistakes I had made that broke his heart. Those letters were meant to make amends and heal my own wounds from the breakup.  They made a difference in the course of my life. And his too.  My letters were an invitation for him to join me in making amends – and he did eventually.  I wrote it all out, poetically I believed at the time, then let it all go. The end of the last letter went something like, “If you love something set it free, it’ll come back if it’s meant to be.” There was something about butterflies in the writing but I cannot remember where the images and expressions came from that inspired me.   Probably Cosmo!  Learned much about love and relationships between those colorful pages!

Heal my wounds. When I was a teenager I wrote pages and pages of personal journals, often embellished with my imagination when the real story was too painful to write.  Sometimes I’d address them to a friend.  But those friends never saw those writings. I used their names to break from the dreariness of addressing “Dear Journal”. Those writings burned long ago.  They were sacred and private but that privacy had been violated.  How I wish I could read what I wrote all those years ago!

I write in a journal to my gone too young brother Wes. My how I miss him! August 16th 2017 marks 15 sad years since he followed the rainbow bridge after melanoma took over his body at age 31.  The healing journey will never come to an “end”.  I think I’ll just keep writing to him.

My story Mind Over Gray Matter is an example of how Healing Through Writing has made a difference recently.  A few days after writing the story for a Wattpad contest, I took my kids to the rodeo.  That was last week.  That is a sign of healing!  My heart did not race. I didn’t even think about not going – I forgot to be afraid.  You see, I’ve avoided the rodeo since my accident in college. The story tells it well enough if you are interested.  A layer of the wound has healed. At least I can cheer on the barrel racers without having an anxiety attack. The bull-riding didn’t even freak me out. Last year I was still avoiding the rodeo! I guess you’d have to know that my spirit longs to ride free on horseback again but I’ve been too terrified just to watch others.

Adjust. I write to continue healing my own grief – layer by layer- and to adjust to the many changes life brings – not all cruel, by the way!  Adjustment to a different school for my kids – a different community in which to connect, a different house to live in – one that is big enough but too hot for my comfort, or simply a realization that I cannot eat ice cream or chocolate anymore!  All of the changes, even for the better, require adjustment.  The chocolate’s still a frustrated adjustment…

Now I write with the hope that some story formed in my imagination will touch another human being’s truth, heart or spirit and perhaps lead to some mending, healing or adjusting of their own.

How much of your writing comes from your “truth”?

Thanks for stopping by…

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Why I Write Series – The I in I.M.M.E.R.S.E M.E.

The I in IMMERSE ME… Implore

For a look-see at the first post in this series you may go here:  I.M.M.E.R.S.E M.E. 9 Reasons Why I Write – Series Intro

I have always written in one form or another.  I am exploring my writing, learning, healing, and sharing as I go. Here’s the I.

I write to Implore.  My Master’s Thesis Project (CSU Sacramento 1998) was titled Gender-specific Substance Abuse Treatment for Women: A Women and Children’s Residential Program in Northern California.   I researched the specific challenges – barriers to treatment – women face when seeking treatment for drug or alcohol abuse then surveyed client satisfaction with a Likert-type scale questionnaire at Progress House in El Dorado & Placer Counties, California.   I was seeking to determine if the program was meeting the women’s specific needs.

The purpose of the research project I created was to educate myself and others, but on a deeper level to implore someone to pay attention – to change attitudes that I perceived as not adequately addressing the needs of those who were suffering.  Not the agency itself from which I gathered the data, but on the larger grand scale of society – most folks are unaware of the specific challenges for women seeking help with substance abuse.  I never published my research project “officially” in any journal but I wish I had done so, as was suggested by my mentor and clinical supervisor at the time.  She thought it was that good and a valuable addition to a body of research already in motion.  I did not believe that what I had to say was valuable or that anyone would want to “hear” it!! Even in the face of clear evidence from the professionals around me. The program director was very grateful for the work and used it to review their program.

Here’s my Healing Through Writing connection:  At the time of completing my research project, I didn’t believe that anyone would care what I had to say.  After all, the purpose was primarily to complete the necessary work in order to graduate with my Master’s of Social Work degree.  My lack of belief in the value of my project came from an unhealed wound from childhood.  It was not meant to hurt me but this is the message I heard repeatedly, “Bonnie, stop talking.  You talk just to hear yourself talk.”  A deep wound was created but it was not intentional. It was not meant to negatively impact my self-esteem.  It was simply a mother’s fatigue with an inquisitive and chatty four year old.  My chatter was just more than could be tolerated at the time.  I suppose I’ve always had a lot to say.  LOL!

The Healing Through Writing part is already happening. I have come to realize the real reason I never “officially” published that project – it wasn’t all of the business of life that I had used as an excuse at that time. Please do not interpret this to mean I blame my mother.  I do not blame her in any way.  We all experience childhood wounds.  Some are completely innocent & unintentional (i.e. no abusive pattern involved) but still have a negative impact on our lives. All parents make mistakes and say things that have the potential to cause a wound. It’s because parents are perfectly human.  They are dealing with their own complex childhood issues and daily life struggles as they parent us 😉

After writing about Implore and talking with a writer friend, the idea spawned to repeat the satisfaction survey at the same program, “20 Years Later: A Comparison of Client Satisfaction.”  If the program accepts my request to repeat the survey then I will have a new opportunity to publish it “officially”.  And here’s the icing on the cake: At the end of my project (which I finally found tonight after searching for it in my stuff for the last 2 weeks) I actually recommended a follow up survey to determine if the changes they made as a result of my project were effective!!  How’s that for a Healing Through Writing idea? REDO. PUBLISH Officially. RESET my self-esteem.

More about Implore – Politics & Systems. I believe people are essentially born innocent.  Sure, we are born with certain personality traits like “introversion or extroversion”, just like the color of our hair, but we are essentially born innocent of malevolence.   Youngsters don’t walk around thinking, “Gee, I want to grow up to be a drug addict (substitute whatever you wish) and suffer as much as that human being over there!” Oh, yes, youngsters do know about suffering. Even without words to understand it.  But they don’t wish for it.

I believe in the intrinsic value of all human beings.  I also believe there are “exceptions to the rule of innocence” which could explain certain heinous characters in history who do not have a “lack of nurture” explanation for their unspeakable deeds.

Do you write to implore, beseech or otherwise hope that your readers will see things differently? 

Thanks for stopping by!

Origins of Dreamwork

Bonnie’s Healing Through Writing journey started with this story…

*cover photo taken by Bonnie – overlooking Manzanita Lake up at Mt Lassen*

Dreamwork is the story that started my own journey of Healing Through Writing in the Spring of 2017.

A few weeks after starting Yoga, I awoke from an intense nightmare. I had an overwhelming feeling that I had to write it down!  The story was demanding to be recorded. I don’t know how else to describe it. This has never happened before but since then a few more stories have started this way… Generally I only have nightmares when life is deeply painful.  Well, it is right now but that part of my life will be kept private until the time is right to share.

Back to that morning. I grabbed my phone before even getting out of bed, with my legs dangling over the side of our tall bed, and emailed myself the descriptive words almost verbatim to what you will read in the story – it is the opening scene.  As I got ready for work that morning, cooking breakfast, showering and dressing the story kept coming. I emailed myself 5 times that morning with more of the story each time.  I kept thinking, “Phew, okay, that’s good, got it all” then more just kept coming! I texted or emailed (I was in a blur and can’t remember) a writer friend about what was happening and she suggested voice to text or use any way I could think of to get the thoughts down efficiently enough so that I could go about my day and not forget the story parts that were flowing through my head.

All of that day I had the most intense feeling that the rest of life was actually interrupting something important, rather than the other way around.  That feeling continues although now I understand it better and have figured out how to honor it.  It’s symbiotic.  I need both regular life and the space to write what is flowing.  It hasn’t stopped! It’s been almost three months.

The title of the story came without any thought.  It represents the literal beginning (my dream), the protagonist’s own experiences, and it contains my own quiet dream to one day publish it. It is in the “creative” phase at this time, pouring out freely. I am posting it on Wattpad after a friend suggested it for fun.  I love comments!  It may need major re-writing but I am not worried about that. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

This is the story that is teaching me about the writing, editing and publishing processes – it’s definitely a marathon!  Along the way I have already felt changes in my heart related to my personal history – this must be the healing part of the process.

My rather ambitious goal is to take this story through the whole process to independent or small press publishing. I am not a “career writer” & I have no attachment to a monetary reward for this process so I am not envisioning a “Big 5” publishing experience.  This is about me, my own healing and desire to explore my own creativity via writing.  But, I am completely serious about it.

Embedded in this story are “mini arcs” that are essentially true.  Early in the process of writing Dreamwork I became alarmed by my desire to write from experiences that were true as the story flowed.  I stumbled (Universe!) upon Mary Tabor’s How Does Autobiography Work in Fiction over on Wattpad Mary Tabor’s Writing Tips article on Wattpad   where she writes about truth in fiction.  Her essay posits that “self revelation is part of the process in writing” and “any serious writer who denies it, lies.” She goes on to back this statement but I’ll leave the choice to read more about that to you.

This story contains several elements from my initial Why I Write – I.M.M.E.R.S.E. M.E. blog post. To “memorialize family stories” may be the most important element in my personal process in writing this story.  So many stories in our lives… so many truths… if any one of them had a slight twist our lives would be completely different.  This is what I keep thinking as I write…

Disclaimer: This story is rated Mature due to gun violence & implied child abuse.

Here’s the first scene (link to the story over on Wattpad follows):

Chapter 1 Darkness

He had come back. Loud announcement overhead “Code Black Emergency Room”  “Code Black Emergency Room”  “Code Black Emergency Room.” The alarm was blaring loudly as doors all over the hospital were automatically swinging shut.  Staff was surrounding her, shots fired, it’s as if he’s everywhere!  Semi-Auto? Wounded. An X-ray tech falls near where she is crouched hiding behind the crash cart.  Too much was happening at once.  Chaos. She wraps her arms around him feeling the weight of guilt and shame so heavy she can hardly breathe.  “It’s all my fault!”  It goes on for what seems an eternity then abruptly stops.  She collapses, her head falling down like a rag doll, and everything goes dark.

Lily was wounded but hadn’t felt a thing. The bullet had passed though him into her. They now shared a fate, perhaps guided by the free will of his split-second decision to protect her.  

Go here to read Dreamwork on Wattpad , if you wish.

As of this posting, the story has 11 chapters and just over 20,000 words.  And it’s not finished! There is much to be worked through on the protagonist’s journey through healing.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Origins of Mind Over Gray Matter – A True Story

Origins of my true tale of PTSD

Mind Over Gray Matter  ©2017 Bonnie McKeegan Written for wattpad #mindovermattercontest  Bonnie’s Mind Over Gray Matter story over on Wattpad

A True Story of Pure Mind Over Gray Matter Leading to Achievement. Along the Way Pure Joy was Lost.

I wrote this short story (500 words) and posted it this morning over on Wattpad for their #mindovermattercontest.  Please wish me luck!  I am keeping some of my stories over there in case of the desire to publish at a future date.  That is my quiet fantasy after all.

Mind Over Gray Matter is a true story about my First Edition of PTSD years ago. It is very abbreviated and parts of the story are not told within these 500 words. Maybe I’ll create a longer version, someday.  Or better yet incorporate it into a fictional tale! Sorry, no details here so as not to impact your experience of the story should you chose to read it.

My Second Edition of PTSD is a story I cannot, nor would if I could, ever publish. My loss was vicarious and vicious in nature. The true tragedy is someone else’s story.

I can, however, say that both experiences still effect me today. For better, and for worse.

My blog website started out as Healing Through Writing.  After finishing this morning’s story I realized that writing it out, within the clear parameters of the contest, seemed to give me a bit more peace and acceptance.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Until next time… 

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Healing Through Writing – A Yoga Story Part One

Healing through Yoga

Yoga opened channels I didn’t know existed within me.  More about that later…

Over the weekend my yoga instructor announced she is closing her studio.  After acknowledging we all have our own journeys to walk, I went straight into my own grief process, “Oh no, you can’t do that!”  Denial.

My next phase followed quickly, “How can I help her keep the studio open?” Bargaining.

I am still in the Bargaining phase. My mind raced.  What could I do?  My writer’s mind thought of creating an “interview” and spotlighting the studio on my blog.  But I questioned my skill.  So, I checked with the local paper regarding their “Meet Your Merchant” section.  We live in an amazing area and I see the column on Mondays advertising small local owned businesses.  I could ask them to do it!

No, wait.  I am learning to write. Yoga is a huge part of my healing.  Lisa Smart’s Rising Lotus Yoga Studio in Auburn, California is a sanctuary for me.  It’s the perfect location for me and hundreds of people who practice or would benefit from Yoga. She’s an amazing, gentle spirit. They just don’t know she’s there. Lisa’s studio is less than a year old.

I created the interview.  She agreed.  We are working on it. Also, she is not opposed to the newspaper article request to the Meet Your Merchant column although, it might not work in time.

I will do both! Interview her myself and request the Grass Valley Union and Auburn Journal to spotlight her!

Then, as the Universe has a way of noticing my thoughts, the following article appeared in my inbox this morning:

Healing through Yoga – Yoga Effective at Reducing Symptoms of Depression

Here’s how the article starts, “People who suffer from depression may want to look to yoga as a complement to traditional therapies as the practice appears to lessen symptoms of the disorder, according to studies presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.”

I’ll be back with my own spotlight on Lisa Smart’s Rising Lotus Yoga Studio article on Yoga for Healing soon.

For my own Healing Through Writing journey.  And my Yoga.

Until next time….

“Walk With Me” Premier – reblog from Debbie Engelmann, BS, NHD – Author & Doctor of Natural Health

Walk With Me, the new documentary about Thich Nhat Hanh, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, will have a rather hip premiere, launching at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March. Walk With Me pairs shots of monastic life with Cumberbatch’s readings from Thich Nhat Hanh’s journal.

You can go to Debbie’s site to see the trailer.  I don’t have video here.

A Well-Tuned Soul

Watch this.  Put it on your calendar.
 
Help heal our world.

holiness-1207699_1280The first words of this trailer are so profound . . .  “I knew early on that finding truth is not the same as finding happiness. You aspire to see the truth, but once you have seen it, you cannot avoid its suffering. Otherwise you have seen nothing at all.”

Walk With Me, the new documentary about Thich Nhat Hanh, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, will have a rather hip premiere, launching at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March. Walk With Me pairs shots of monastic life with Cumberbatch’s readings from Thich Nhat Hanh’s journal.

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I.M.M.E.R.S.E M.E. 9 Reasons Why I Write – Series Intro

Thank you for visiting!  When I started this blog (less than a week ago!) I immersed myself in the questions “Why am I writing? What have I written in the past? Why fiction now? Why would anyone want to read what I write? What else might I write? Who do I think I am using the title author anyway?”  

As the answers poured out into my laptop it turned out to be a story of sorts.  Actually many stories within the larger story of my life. I found myself challenged by trying to organize those stories until I remembered that annoying tool the acronym.  I was not fond of acronyms in my school years.  I still can’t remember stuff that way when it’s used in trainings. My brain just doesn’t work that way I guess.   

Merriam-Webster Definition of acronym

  1. :  a word (such as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term; also :  an abbreviation (such as FBI) formed from initial letters :  initialism

acronymic

play\ˌa-krə-ˈni-mik\ adjective

acronymically

play\-mi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

There is one exception to my impairment:

B.R.A.T. Banana Rice Apple Toast = the recipe for healing my babies’ disturbed gastric processing systems!  

Easy to remember when hauling all those cloth diapers up and down the stairs to the laundry!  Two sick babies & cloth diapers… it was probably the drama of it all that made remembering what to feed them in my exhausted delirious state imperative.

Anyway, I played with my stories for awhile and tried an online tool.  Is that cheating?

Cheating or not, eventually I turned the answers to my Who, What and Why questions into the acronym IMMERSE ME.

With the idea of semi “slow blogging” in mind, I will explore IMMERSE ME in individual posts interspersed with other ideas that are brewing. 

Here it is:

I write to Implore. 

I write to Mend, Heal and Adjust. 

I write to Memorialize.

I write to Explore.

I write to Realize.

I write to Share.

I write to Educate.

 

I write to Model.

I write to Entertain.

Why “slow blogging”?  I found great advice in a treasure trove of information on Anne R. Allen’s blog…with Ruth Harris “Writing About Writing. Mostly.”  

Slow – I am typically the hare in my life stories – seems good advice for when my hare personality wants to take off running! Knowing myself fairly well I have to say semi-slow is probably a more realistic goal for self-care 😉

What is your blog style? 

Until next time…