Sunday, June 1, 2014


After writing and publishing my own true story of #incest, "No Tears for my Father", I began mentoring memoir writing groups for my local library. This most rewarding volunteer position brought me, and the participants, a few surprises, the biggest being what many of the members were experiencing as they completed various writing exercises I assigned: they found what they were doing ... writing ... was therapeutic!

Of course, I'd known writing was therapeutic since I was a teen: in my unhappiness,  I'd begun penning poems and writing songs that captured my angst and heartache, and in doing so, I often found release for my pain and bottled up rage. I had no-one to talk to about the incest. But putting what I was feeling down on paper somehow helped.

And now, the members of my memoir group, even those who hadn't necessary come into the group to write about trauma or personal tragedy, found that as they recalled their past, remembered things about their childhood, even incidences like feeling awkward at puberty, or their first crush, were finding that writing about these things was "freeing". They realized that even now as adults, some of their present insecurities and hangups harked back to those earlier days. Writing about them now brought them face to face with some issues they still have trouble dealing with day to day in their personal lives and careers. And hence came the realization for them all that writing is utterly therapeutic, because, as Adair Lara once stated:

“When you pin your misfortune to a page, you rob it of its power. You begin to get distance from an event the moment you write it down. Even the most intimate and horrendous details of your life become transformed into material”

That misfortune could be something as current as losing a job you've worked years to get, or saving money for a trip only to have to use it to fix a leaking roof. It doesn't have to be something as horrendous as incest or rape, but when it is, then the therapeutic nature of writing becomes incredibly healing.

One of the members of my memoir writing group had always been a writer, but she only wrote fiction. Suddenly, in the memoir class,  with every exercise, her past surfaced so strongly she couldn't stop writing about it.  It was she who first said to us all, "I'm finding these sessions, the writing, the exercises are therapeutic," and everyone agreed. This same discovery was made by the authors of that famous book, which I highly recommend for those wanting and needing to heal, THE COURAGE TO HEAL.  They point out again and again how therapeutic it is to write your pain onto the page. 

Have you tried writing your pain on a page yet? Try it! Try it the next time you have a flashback that knocks the wind out of you. Or the next time you hear your abuser's words mocking you, frightening you, reducing you to a blubbering mass of tears. Wipe away the tears by writing down everything that is on your mind, all the tortuous thoughts. You don't have to share it with anyone. This is just for you.

And as my memoir member recently wrote on our writers group page at Facebook:

"Vomit flows freely from my past, cleansing the depth of my soul at last."

Let this happen to you. Heal yourself through writing and/or journalling.

Did you know you can read excerpts from "No Tears for my Father" for FREE? Just click on the book title to read some sample chapters now!

Purchase your signed, printed version of NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER directly from the author, Viga Boland.


  1. As a member of Viga's Memoir Writing Group, I highly recommend writing, not just to release your pain, but as a way to face the people who caused you the pain. You will begin to see them in a true light, the people who they really were, not the people that you felt obligated to love because you were close to them through family or friendship. Once written, read your words out loud. Imagine you are the perpetrator and say their lines. It will help you realize how disgusting they were and how much you have been affected by their wrongdoing.

    1. Wonderful viewpoint Barbara. Thanks for expanding on this topic. Most appreciated.

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