As we share our stories and journeys, I am pleased that Kathleen Pooler has written our first guest blog. I hope this is the beginning of writers from around the country offering insight and inspiration here at the Women's Writing Circle. I met Kathy this past June after she wrote me how much she enjoyed my memoir, Again in a Heartbeat. Since then we have kept in contact and are working together to teach a journaling workshop here in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I have been touched by Kathy's generosity, not only in sharing her story, but encouraging others to tell theirs. ~ Susan
“Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.” Thomas M. Cirignano The Constant Outsider
"We all have a book inside us, whether we choose to write it or not. For as long as I can remember, a book has bubbled inside me .
Ever since I was ten years old and wrote plays for my maternal grandmother, Nan, and her little Italian lady friends, I enjoyed writing. I see them gathered in the living room sipping coffee and chattering in Italian. I never understood a word but I still feel their fascination and loving attention as they hushed each other when I stood in the archway to announce a play would begin.
As I grew older and began facing life with all its complications, I’d grab a pen and pour my feelings into a journal. I had stacks of spiral notebooks filled with the heartaches of relationship failures, the exhaustion of being a single parent, the terror of living with and loving an alcoholic son; heart-wrenching losses . . . my Nan . . . my best friend, Judy . . . my beloved father . . . the uncertainties of my own cancer diagnosis.
|Heart in Hand" by Marx Falardean/Flickr Creative Commons|
Journaling became my pathway to healing, capturing my moments of need, longing, creativity . . . my life.
These vignettes have been shaped into a bigger story, my memoir-in-progress, now in the first revision of the first draft stage.
Here are my thoughts on why writing my memoir has been a journey of the heart:
1. Writing my story has helped me clarify the things that have really mattered in my life:
Often times when I sit down to write, the story I intend to write does not end up being the story I write. The story reveals itself to me in the writing, when I listen to the whispers in my heart.
2. Resurrecting my memories keeps me connected to people and events that shaped me:
Flashing back to those plays acted out in front of Nan and her friends is heartwarming and fills me with validation and inspiration to keep writing through the harder parts.
3. Writing through the pain has helped release the burdens of my heart:
For years I held on to the guilt of making poor choices and putting my children through so many upheavals as a result of my choices. Writing my memoir has helped me to forgive that young woman and believe that she acted in good faith.
4. Writing out my painful memories has helped me forgive those whom I perceive have hurt me:
In attempting to capture the essence of my characters’ personalities and the impact they have had on my life, I have gained new insights into their behavior. Forgiveness is freedom and my heart feels lighter.
5. Revisiting my past self and reflecting upon my motivations and needs at the time have increased my self-awareness and filled me with gratitude for the growth I have experienced:
When I recreate a scene from my past and feel, deep in my heart, that I would never do the same thing today, I realize how far I’ve come.
Writing my memoir has helped me to heal the painful parts of my past that I have carried around for years.
It truly has been a “Journey of the Heart.”
How about you?
Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is working on a memoir about how the power of hope through her faith in God has helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com and can be found on Twitter @kathypooler and on LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads and Facebook: Kathleen Pooler
Her story “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe.