Therapeutic Writing

Therapeutic writing. What thought pops into your mind when you read or hear those words?

As an author, I often write to cleanse my heart and mind of painful things. I’ve found it therapeutic. So, I was not surprised to hear this discussed in a writer’s meeting.

Not only did the exercise help a young woman process the pain of loss, but those writings helped her form a scene in her work-in-progress, as her main character dealt with the loss of a loved one. In the finished product, the character’s emotions are raw, her actions and conversations, achingly real. Readers will fully engage with the scene and the character.

What about non-writers–ordinary folks looking for a way to ease their emotional suffering?

I’m not a professional counselor, but I would suggest it to anyone. When I journal my feelings, I’m not writing for others, so I don’t have to worry about grammar, spelling, or sentence construction. I just pick up a pen, or open a new document on my preferred electronic device, and start writing. I write out my pain, shout my anger, tell a deceased loved one how I feel. All the things I didn’t have the chance to say when they were still alive.

Then what? I keep it hidden away. Shred it. Burn it. It’s up to me. Most writers will definitely want to keep theirs, and remember the depths of pain and despair, so they can write from their heart and bring a scene to life.

But what if someone can’t, or doesn’t want to write? Talk. There’s an app for that. Find a free, or inexpensive speech-to-text program and use it. Sometimes, seeing those words in written form–repeating them out loud–promotes healing. Sometimes.

I love to go for long walks. And those seem to be the times when my creative processes are flowing. I have all kinds of ideas. So I get out my phone, open a note, and start dictating. Sometimes I throw them out, but many times, I find good material that I can use in my work.

Mom, please write down your memories! How many times have I heard this? One of my sons wants me to write down the stories I’ve heard all my life. Stories about long-dead family members. Stories that will be lost, unless someone writes them down. Telling those stories is a quick and easy way to store them. Then I can transcribe them or use a speech to text program to bring them into a word document.

This process is both therapeutic and healing for me, because some of these memories bring up old hurts and painful losses. Talking them out, writing them down, can help me deal with the pain and restore my hope.

Though I’ve barely tapped the surface here, I hope I’ve encouraged a reader or two, or at least given you food for thought. If you’d like to study it further, there are numerous articles written on the subject of therapy writing or journaling. It’s important that you resist guilt feelings over delayed or prolonged grieving. And never assume to know exactly what someone is going through (even if you’ve suffered a similar loss or trauma).

Everyone processes emotion in their own way. This is why I believe writing therapy is a good thing, because it is so personal.

How do you process grief?

(Click to Tweet)  Everyone processes trauma or loss in their own way. #WritingTherapy #journal


Who won last week’s book giveaway?

Congratulations, Sandra Ardoin! And happy reading. I hope you enjoy the book!

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Read A Book – The Revisionary

As far as titles go, this one’s probably not perfect, but you can read it two ways. Past tense – I read a book, or it can be taken as a command: Read a book!

Either way, I’ve just finished reading a book. You might say I stepped out of my “comfort” genre a little on this one. The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe, is a dystopian novel. If you’re not familiar with the word, the dictionary describes it as:

…relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

A dystopian novel explores social and political structures in a dark, nightmare world.

Hmm…some of you may not like the sound of that. But Hogrefe’s novel has an inner light shining. The world she created promises that light will come. In this first novel of the series, the promise is dim, the light far away. But the evidence is there—you want to go after it. Like that thin thread of romance she dangled in front of me. Just enough to keep me wondering. And guessing.

train, locomotiveThis dystopian world is real as we see it through nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy’s eyes. I feel her pain and fear, sense the ebb and flow of hope as she struggles through her difficult but sometimes chosen circumstances. She’s a brave young woman who sets out to rescue her older brother, but may end up helping to save her world and gain her own redemption in the process. These are all my assumptions as I read (present tense) this book.

document, parchment, billInto the mix, Hogrefe supplied tempting morsels of our own national history. She made me want to go back and read the constitution and bill of rights. She helped me remember important facets from our glorious past. Let’s not take our present freedoms for granted.

I won’t go into too much detail or add spoilers here. Instead, I’ve included the author’s book blurb below.

So, why would you want to read a story about a nightmare world that has lost important things like personal freedom and electricity, whose leaders seek to keep many in darkness, and enslaved? Because, in the end, it’s entertaining and quite interesting. Those of you who read (past tense) and/or watched those other dystopians will be pleased to find this one, especially if you’re a fan of clean/inspirational fiction. Action, adventure, suspense, and plenty of drama! I give it five stars.

The Revisionary is Young Adult (YA) fiction, written in first person, like other popular series–The Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogy. The end of the story left me yearning to know what happens next.

FREE BOOK! If you were here last week, you’ll remember I promised a giveaway! Read the information about the book (below), and if you’re interested in winning a copy — either paperback or Kindle — please let me know in the comments section. I’ll announce the winner here next Thursday Morning!

CLICK TO TWEET: The end of the story left me yearning to know what happens next. #TheRevisionary reviewed. #YA


THE REVISIONARY by Kristen Hogrefe

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she? Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in a quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might be fighting for a cause greater than itself, a cause championed by the last civilization. But the current leaders have obscured history’s pages, and if she dares to engage the past through her training technology, they might wipe her own memory as well. Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.


Kristen Hogrefe is a young adult fiction author and teacher. Her books include The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press) and the Wings of the Dawn trilogy. She has written for a variety of publications and blogs regularly at kristenhogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly. A few of her favorite things are coffee, sunshine, and good books—and she loves sharing them with friends.

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Coffee, Anyone?

It’s everywhere and it’s one HOT topic. Of course, I’m referring to coffee. You’ve no doubt noticed all the coffee memes and jokes and greetings on social media featuring java.

A cup o’ Joe, brew, rocket fuel, dirt (hadn’t heard that one), cuppa, bean juice, brain juice…the list goes on.

And the memes are varied too, humorous or downright serious. Anyone taking a gander at our Facebook and Twitter pages will be convinced of our addiction to the stuff. For some of us, they wouldn’t be far off the mark.

I love my morning coffee! Honestly, though, after that first wonderful sip—well—it kind of goes downhill. Still enjoyable, though. You have to drink it fast before it gets cold. I am not a fan of cold coffee—and microwaved coffee—no, thank you.

Research! I took a short jaunt around the internet and pulled out a few lists of favorite coffee brands. Interesting, especially when I noticed one brand that kept bubbling to the top (like in the old-fashioned percolator). It’s actually one I’ve never tried. I’m being brutally honest here: I have never been to Dunkin’ Donuts. (I heard that gasp! You can’t believe it, can you?) I’ve never had the coffee, unless it was served to me and not identified.

Here’s a “favorite brands” list from 2014:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Folgers
  • Seattle’s Best
  • Maxwell House
  • Caribou
  • McCafe

And then one more recent (2017):

  • Lav Azza
  • Nescafe (really?)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Seattle’s Best
  • Peet’s
  • Keurig Green Mountain
  • Tim Horton’s
  • Folger
  • Maxwell House
  • Caribou

I’m not really sure who they’re asking. Both said “consumers.” Could be anybody. So here’s one that came directly from top sales of inexpensive coffees in southern supermarkets. That’s really narrowing it down.

  • Eight o’clock
  • Chock Full o’ Nuts
  • Folgers
  • Maxwell House
  • Dunkin Donuts

What’s my favorite coffee? We’re coffee snobs at our house. Right now, we’re drinking organic coffee from Paraquay, freshly ground, of course. The aroma is amazing!

Coffee aisles at the neighborhood supermarket have expanded! You can barely see from one end to the other. I think I saw Juan Valdez and his donkey the other day. Or maybe it was just someone pushing a cart. The distance was too great to tell.

I can often be found there, in one of those aisles, sniffing coffee packages. Don’t worry, I don’t touch it to my nose. There’s a trick to it. You lightly squeeze the package and the aroma is released. I’m not really a fan of what men like to call, “cookie coffee, and I don’t like burnt coffee beans. Only the wonderfully aromatic ones that make me say, “Ah, perfection!”

To brew or not to brew? In the past, we’ve used a French press, a pour-through, and single-serving pods. But lately, I just use a regular old coffeemaker.

One of my favorite things: I love to walk into a chic little coffee roaster and inhale. Oh, and then, I really want a caffe latte. Lots of cream, no sugar, please. We have a couple of coffee shops in the Louisville area that I love.  Sunergos, and Heine Brothers. I know, I need to get out more. Coffee shop research is HIGH on my to-do-list this fall.

Now, it’s your turn:

What’s your favorite coffee shop and/or store brand coffee?

What’s the most unique shop you’ve visited? (Mine is pictured below)

 

CLICK TO TWEET: I love my morning #coffee. Hello! #ThursdayMornings http://wp.me/p65lTH-BM What’s your favorite?

Next week – I will be reviewing The Revisionary, by Kristen Hogrefe, and there will be a giveaway! So stop back by and join the conversation.

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Hello, Thursday Morning!

I’ve been thinking about a schedule change for a while. Work and other obligations keep me away from my computer most of the day on Tuesday, making it difficult to keep up with my regular Tuesday blog post, and all the work that goes along with it.

From today forward, you’ll find me here on Thursday mornings. I’m calling it, Hello, Thursday Mornings.

I’ll still write about a variety of topics, as I have in the past, including the occasional devotional and…coffee. I know that caught your attention. Include coffee, a cute kitty, or puppy, maybe a horse or two, and you’re bound to get attention.

That’s not why I do it, of course. I’m a fan of all those things.

So, without further ado (or something like that), I offer the first installment of Hello, Thursday Mornings.


I was watching a cute romantic movie the other night (I’ll mention the name later), and I had to laugh out loud. I was home alone at the time, so I could do that. The main character, a single, attractive twenty-something, was on a first date. The couple was shown to a table in the restaurant. She chose her seat. Her date hesitated, because it was obvious he preferred the chair she had taken, and a moment later, the reason why became obvious. There was a football game on. Her chair faced the television. His…didn’t.

I laughed, because this often happens when my husband and I go out for dinner. These days, I usually just ask which side of the table he prefers. But we’ve been married a while. I can’t imagine putting up with something like that on a very first date. A first date is when you’re becoming better acquainted. Getting to know each other usually includes eye contact and conversation. A game on the television can disrupt that.

Click to Tweet: Getting to know each other usually includes eye contact and conversation. #FirstDate #Romance

In fact, I think that sort of behavior would be a definite deal-breaker. Clearly, the guy is far more interested in sports than in his date. She tried to get his attention, but when she asked what interests he had outside of sports and coaching (his profession), he hesitated. Eventually, he admitted to a love for karaoke. A very uncomfortable scene followed, while he demonstrated his lack of musical talent.

It wasn’t a great movie, but it was mostly fun to watch, with the exception of the karaoke scene. It was a good idea for a story, and most of the actors were cute enough to make it pleasant. The story featured coffee, the sea, a woman who could eat numerous pastries without gaining an ounce, and romance. If they’d included a dog or cat, it would’ve been perfect.

Coffee Shop is worth a watch, if you like cute romances. It’s not rated, but there’s really nothing to offend, and it’s suitable for family viewing. I gave it four out of five stars on Netflix.

If you’re a fan of romantic comedy, what’s your all-time favorite?

(Mine is While You Were Sleeping)

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