Collaboration Celebration!

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There were times when we were sorely tested. Would we give up or follow through? Neither of us had ever been through the entire process necessary to publish a book. We had no idea. We thought we were too old, too tired, too broken, but we kept each other going even through our toughest times. There have been obstacles large and painful. We realize we haven’t mentioned our book for a while here on 2penthrupain. We’re happy that we finally get to share this news with you. It’s been a year and a half to go through the entire process of getting one book to press. We discover now, the week of release has arrived! This experience is surreal.

 

~*~

Synopsis: Sadie Myers is in a funk. Everyone who loves her seems to leave. No one remembered her fifteenth birthday—not even her parents. They have grown distant and moody ever since tragedy struck the family one year ago. Since that terrible day, Sadie’s life has become a dark brew of strange visions, unearthly messages, and vivid dreams in which a mysterious shadow man follows her every move. Are all these bizarre happenings real or figments of a troubled mind? When Sadie is pulled into a world so different from her own, everything she thinks she knows is turned upside down. Will she find the truth behind these unsettling episodes? Sadie will need to muster every ounce of courage and resilience she possesses in order to walk through the shadows, the fear of unknown evil, and—most important—get to the other side alive.

 

~*~

The ebook version of our first collaborative book, Ghost of a Shadow: Book One of the Sadie Myers Chronicles, is a Young Adult Dark Fantasy which will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and other online booksellers December 4th. The paperback version will be posted on that date for pre-order with availability on December 15th. The hardcover book will be out early next year.

 

Thank you for your being here with us.

 

 

 

 

 

Meningitis Mind Sentences

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Throughout my early life I wrote my pain on paper, and it seemed to help. I wasn’t conscious that I was dealing with it that way until an event in my early twenties.

One morning I woke up to get ready for work, and fell into my closet. Next I drove my little blue Fiat to work as if I was underwater, falling to the asphalt, eventually arriving bloodied and confused in the office.

I agreed to go to the hospital at the urging of my neurologist, who was concerned about these symptoms along with the intensity of my headaches and the fact that my naturopath had seen some unusual activity behind my eyes.

They took spinal fluid to rule out the most dangerous potential cause of these anomalies. My neurologist thought it unlikely but better to be safe.

It turned out to be true. I had spinal meningitis, and the next people I saw wore outfits akin to space suits. I stayed a month, and none of the doctors I saw could answer my simple questions: Will I live through this? Will I once again be able to complete sentences and think as well as I once did?

It’s difficult to describe the level of completely useless fear I felt when one after another answered, “We don’t know yet.”

At first, I was not allowed to sit up or stand. I had to do everything lying down. I would eat by rolling over onto my side carefully and using a straw. Though I was in the perfect posture for it, the one thing I couldn’t do was sleep. People entered hourly. There were lights, sounds, and people crying in the night. And there was pain and fear.

All the while I wrote in my mind. Affected cognitively, I couldn’t do much, but I constantly repeated the mantra I had been given by my meditation teacher. Over and over again, I would not only say it, but see it in my mind’s eye. I clung to those words like the lifeline they were. They kept me from drowning in my own fear.

Later, I continued, interspersing thoughts of purpose. “What did I want to do with my life when I was well again?” It took a long time for me to complete thoughts of any complexity, but I was gradually certain I would like to be a naturopath, one of those kind people who spent so much time to help me figure out what was wrong after a slew of doctors told me it was everything from an ear infection to my imagination. I will be a naturopath, I thought, and I asked my nurse for help sending away for information long before the eras of laptops, wifi, and cell phones. Snail mail was IT, baby.

While I waited to hear, I started to sit up again. I responded to cards with a line or two of text and a scribbled picture of the sun, heart, or a flower.

I wrote one line of feelings over and over until I thought of another line to repeat. They soothed my imaginings of the future.

I found out that I needed to do something else to fund the years of study it would take to become a naturopath. I thought I’d like to teach.

All this came together through thoughts that were pinned down to paper so they wouldn’t fly off into the stratosphere before completion. Slowly, I learned to complete sentences again. I applied to schools and wrote their essays with persistence. I struggled to stand and balance my body, and in a month’s time live outside of a hospital. I was a lucky girl who lived.

I did not become a naturopath, but I did become a teacher. I worked at it lovingly for a decade and a half.

Though I will always live with remnants meningitis left in my body, I know I would not be the person I am grateful to be today were it not for that experience and the time spent with myself, talking, whispering, and writing through the pain.

How the ‘We’ Came to Be

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Words hold power.

Whatever their intent.

Once spoken out loud,

Can never return home again.

Words written can remain hidden for as long as we desire. We can keep them to ourselves as thoughts, but do not be fooled. They are still heard. We are led by them regardless. An intention is set, and consciously or not, they are still out there.

These thoughts set a change in motion:

“I do not want to hurt in this relationship anymore, so I have to let go. Doesn’t stop the hurt though.“

“I can’t take this job another day: I have to get out. “

Then things got complicated. However silent, the truth was out. I couldn’t take it back or unthink the thoughts.

Thus began the breakdown of my foundation. It started with that story I told myself. The story that woke me up to the possibilities of a better life and a belief in myself. It’s important because it has made me who I am now.

But does it explain how the, “I have no idea what to do with my life anymore,” statement became a focused team effort?

I heard from so many, ”You should write.”

“Write? What? Who am ‘I’ to be writing?”

Being a chef for many years, everyone said, “Write a cookbook.”

I didn’t want to write a freaking cookbook. Hmmm, maybe I’ll write about how I used food to get my body and mind healthy again. The only problem was, I wasn’t healthy, and I couldn’t maintain my health through food anymore. I was so distraught, I reverted to my old habits.

I have a talent for looking fine on the outside, but the inside is another story.

~*~

For months my sister said, “We should write together.”

“Huh? Write what?” I thought it over.

I do express myself better through the written word. But once again, who am I to be writing anything?

Lost, I remained in solitude with my thoughts… and books and blogs. I read a lot, and the repeating message was, “Do what you love. What did you love to do as a child?”

The answer was, ‘I loved to write.”

I loved words. I loved to write poems, but after one poem was found when I was twelve, it was repeated so often with ‘intent to tease’ that it became my tormentor. I put down my pen… for good.

Or so I thought.

And then one day, my downstairs neighbor was screaming at his young daughter. It made me ill, and I was shaking. Screaming has an immediate reaction in my body. Even raised voices can do it. It came to me immediately, and I knew I was supposed to write and what the content would be. My purpose, which had escaped me for so long despite asking over and over to whoever was listening inside. I recognized it as the missing piece right away.

I needed a mentor now. A partner. My sister. I always knew if I was to write, we would do it together. She is knowledgeable in this area. I knew how lucky I was that it was all finally coming together. It was time to do this.

“What am I, crazy? Really, I’m going to write a book now after all these years?”

But the answer immediately came back loud and clear, “Yes. I am going to write a book with my sister.”

The wild adventure begins. How fortunate I am to be given this chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but had completely forgotten once life got in the way.     (~Andrea)

~*~*~

I looked at my sister and saw myself… struggling with identity issues now that an earthquake of health challenges and new questions had entered her mind. Unlikely, but true: I entered a similar phase of my life twelve years earlier. It took me a long time to move one step after another from where I was to where I am now.

I still experience chronic pain and wrestle with depression, but something is different now. Time has passed with lessons learned. Pain and suffering can be two separate things.

I saw Andrea suffer and said to myself, “I know this. Maybe I can be of help.” I started researching the kinds of things she might do from home. One of the opportunities I found didn’t suit her, but it wound up giving ME a road forward. I am now slowly moving through training myself – as a life coach and writing mentor. Continuing aspects of what I did when I was a teacher. It gave me great joy then and now with my first coaching clients.

If only I could find something to engage my sister. She was not ready to take suggestions at first, but I held a space for her in my own consciousness so that it would be there at the right moment, if she had need of it.

I knew she was a good writer, but honestly I didn’t know how good. I didn’t know how much the writing would take root in her mind, heart, and spirit. How the story would become alive for and within her, as it had for me in my novels.

That is the point when a writer starts dreaming about their characters and story, waking with ideas, watching a movie and seeing a structure, or noting narration or exposition they’d choose to avoid. It’s there, percolating under the surface all the time, tendrils reaching out for resonance and impact.

I spent time with her during her transition. By that I mean the time before she started writing our book, as well as day One and after. I cannot easily explain how much lighter her whole self became immediately upon grabbing a pen to find her purpose and principle character. It was a lightning mood transformation from the much denser self she carried during all those months prior to finding herself in writing.

It was like watching a parched sponge placed in a beautiful clay bowl of liquid, swelling and springing back to life as it absorbs that for which it’s always longed: Water.

Water in the desert.      (~Leslie)

~*~

So here we are, sharing our stories with you in case they help you in any way hold hope in your life. We want you to know, that however slowly or quickly, with each step forward, things can improve.

We say this in the lightest, most pressure-free manner possible as we are traveling the uphill and rocky road ourselves.

We welcome your comments.